Posts Tagged ‘qmail installation’

Linux: Fixing Qmail server qmail-smtpd port 25 slow (lagged) connect problem

Thursday, May 16th, 2013

qmail logo fixing qmail mail SMTP port 25 connect delays

After updating my Debian Squeeze to latest stable packages from repository with standard:
# apt-get update && apt-get upgrade

I routinely checked, if afterwards all is fine with Qmail?, just to find out connect to port 25 was hell delayed about 40-50 seconds before qmail responds with standard assigned Mail Greeting.
I Googled long time to see if I can find a post or forum thread discussing, exact issue, but though I found similar discussions I didn't found anything that exactly match problem. Thus I decided to follow the good old experimental try / fail method to figure out what causes it.

elow is pastes from telnet, illustrating delays in Qmail SMTP greeting respond:

# telnet localhost 25
Connected to localhost.
Escape character is '^]'.

# telnet localhost 25
Connected to localhost.
Escape character is '^]'.

# telnet localhost 25
Connected to localhost.
Escape character is '^]'.

I spend about 2 hours, checking Qmail for the standard so common errors, usually causing it to not work properly following my previous article testing qmail installation problems

After going, through all of possible causes the only clue for problems, were some slowness with spamassassin. This brought me the idea that something is done wrong with spamassassin .I tried disabling, Spamassassin Razon and Pyzor restarting spamd through (in my case done not via the standard start/stop debian script) but through daemontools with svc and qmailctl i.e.:

# svc -d /service/spamd
# svc -u /service/spamd
# svc -a /service/spamd

qmailctl restart
* Stopping qmail-smtpdssl.
* Stopping qmail-smtpd.
* Sending qmail-send SIGTERM and restarting.
* Restarting qmail-smtpd.
* Restarting qmail-smtpdssl.
* Restarting qmail-pop3d.
This doesn't help, so I continued trying to figure out, what is wrong .One assumption for slow  qmail-smtpd responce was of course slow DNS resolve issues. I checked /etc/resolv.conf to find out server is configured to use local  configured DJBDNS server as first line DNS resolver. I used djbdns for it is simple and easy to configure, however it is a bit obsolete so it was possible bottleneck. After commenting line to use localhost
and settings as primary DNS Google Public DNS, problem persisted so problems with hosts resolving was obviously not the problem.

I pondered for about 30 minutes, checking again all logs and checking machine processes. Just to remember before I experienced similar issues caused by unresolving RBL (blacklist IP) hosts. I checked configured SPF records in
(process list) and noticed following 4 hosts;

# ps auxwwf

7190 ?        S      0:00 tcpserver -vR -l /var/qmail/control/me -c 30 -u 89 -g 89 -x /etc/tcp.smtp.cdb 0 25 rblsmtpd -t0 -r -r -r -r qmail-smtpd /var/qmail/control/me /home/vpopmail/bin/vchkpw /bin/true

I checked one by one hosts and find out 1st two hosts in line are no longer resolving (blacklist is no longer accessible) as before:,

DNSBL (DNS blocklist) is configured on this host via /service/qmail-smtpd/run, hence to remove two unresolvable hosts forcing the weird qmail-smtpd connect delay I had to modify in it:




After a close examinations in mail server config /var/qmail/control/spfrules, found one other Unresolvable SPF Blacklist host configured ;
# cat /var/qmail/control/spfrules

To move that one I null-ed file:

# cat /dev/null > /var/qmail/control/spfrules

Finally to take affect all changes, launched Qmail start:

# qmailctl restart
Restarting qmail:
* Stopping qmail-smtpdssl.
* Stopping qmail-smtpd.
* Sending qmail-send SIGTERM and restarting.
* Restarting qmail-smtpd.
* Restarting qmail-smtpdssl.
* Restarting qmail-pop3d.

To check all was fine afterwards, again used telnet:

# telnet localhost 25
Connected to localhost.
Escape character is '^]'.
220 This is Mail Pc-Freak.NET ESMTP

Mail greeting now appears in about 2-3 seconds time.



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Fixing QMAIL mail server SMTP auto-configure issues in Thunderbird and other mail IMAP / POP3 mobile clients

Friday, July 13th, 2012

One of the QMAIL mail servers, setup-uped on a Debian host has been creating some auto configuration issues. Every-time a new mail user tries to use the embedded Thunderbird client auto configuration, the auto config fails leaving the client unable to use his Mailbox through POP3 or IMAP protocols.

Since about 2 years Thunderbird and many other modern pop3 and imap mail desktop and mobile clients are by default using the auto configuration and hence it was unthinkable to manually change settings for new clients with the QMAIl install; Besides that most of the Office users are always confused, whether they have to manually change SMTP or POP3 host for a server.

Below is a screenshot displaying the warning during email auto-configuration:

Thunderbird new Mail account setup auto config warning SMTP not OKThe orange color in the button for the newly auto-detected indicates, something is not right with the SMTP host.

Obviously, something was wrong with, hence I checked where resolves with host command. What I found was actually Active ( A ) DNS records was pointing to an IP address, our company previously used for the mail server. At present time the correct mail server host name is and the QMAIL installation on is configured to be the actual SMTP server.

By default Thunderbird and many other POP3, IMAP mail clients, however automatically assume the default SMTP host for a mail server is to be configured under a host name This is really strange, especially when the primary MX record for domain is pointing to, e.g.:

qmail:~# host -t MX mail is handled by 10 mail is handled by 20 mail is handled by 30

The whole warning was caused due to the fact was resolving to an IP like, whether was resolving to yyy.yyy.yyy.yyy

Both and yyy.yyy.yyy.yyy hosts were configured to have a different qmail SMTP host i.e.:

The server under IP – ( was configured in /var/qmail/control/me to be and the other old one yyy.yyy.yyy.yyy – ( had ( in /var/qmail/control/me

As was actually being still resolved to, the EMAILs were improperly trying to be sent with a configured DNS hostname of, where the actual one on the server was mail.mail-domain

It took, me about an hour of pondering what is causing the oddities until I got the here explained issue. As the DNS recors for the domain the sample were handled by Godaddy, to fix the mess, I logged in to Godaddy and;

a) deleted – DNS record for
b) Created new CNAME record for to be a domain alias for

A few minutes, afterwards I tried configuring once again the same email account in Thunderbird and this time both and turned green; indicating everything is configured fine.

To be 100% sure all is working fine I first fetched, all email via the IMAP protocol without hassles and onwards sent a test email to my Gmail account; thanksfully the sent email was delivered to Gmail indicating both Get Mail and Send Mail functions worked now fine.

Thunderbird icedove new mail account setup auto config Okay

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How to fix “sslserver: fatal: unable to load certificate” Qmail error on GNU / Linux

Friday, October 14th, 2011

After setupping a brand new Qmail installation following the QmailRocks Thibs Qmail Debian install guide , I’ve come across unexpected re-occuring error message in /var/log/qmail/qmail-smtpdssl/ , here is the message:

@400000004e9807b10d8bdb7c command-line: exec sslserver -e -vR -l -c 30 -u 89 -g 89
-x /etc/tcp.smtp.cdb 0 465 rblsmtpd -r -r -r -r qmail-smtpd /home/vpopmail/bin/vchkpw /bin/true 2>&1
@400000004e9807b10dae2ca4 sslserver: fatal: unable to load certificate

I was completely puzzled initially by the error as the sertificate file /var/qmail/control/servercert.pem was an existing and properly self generated one. Besides that qmail daemontools init script /service/qmail-smtpd/run was loading the file just fine, where the same file failed to get loaded when sslserver command with the cert argument was invoked via /service/qmail-smtpdssl/run

It took me quite a while to thoroughfully investigate on what’s wrong with the new qmail install. Thanksfully after almost an hour of puzzling I found it out and I was feeling as a complete moron to find that the all issues was caused by incorrect permissions of the /var/qmail/control/servercert.pem file.
Here are the incorrect permissions the file possessed:

linux:~# ls -al /var/qmail/control/servercert.pem
-rw------- 1 qmaild qmail 2311 2011-10-12 13:21 /var/qmail/control/servercert.pem

To fix up the error I had to allow all users to have reading permissions over servercert.pem , e.g.:

linux:~# chmod a+r /var/qmail/control/servercert.pem

After adding all users readable bit on servercert.pem the file permissions are like so:

linux:~# ls -al /var/qmail/control/servercert.pem
-rw-r--r-- 1 qmaild qmail 2311 2011-10-12 13:21 /var/qmail/control/servercert.pem

Consequently I did a qmail restart to make sure the new readable servercert.pem will get loaded from the respective init script:

linux:~# qmailctl restart
* Stopping qmail-smtpdssl.
* Stopping qmail-smtpd.
* Sending qmail-send SIGTERM and restarting.
* Restarting qmail-smtpd.
* Restarting qmail-smtpdssl.

Now the annoying sslserver: fatal: unable to load certificate message is no more and all works fine, Hooray! 😉

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How to renew self signed QMAIL toaster and QMAIL rocks expired SSL pem certificate

Friday, September 2nd, 2011


One of the QMAIL server installs, I have installed very long time ago. I've been notified by clients, that the certificate of the mail server has expired and therefore I had to quickly renew the certificate.

This qmail installation, SSL certificates were located in /var/qmail/control under the names servercert.key and cervercert.pem

Renewing the certificates with a new self signed ones is pretty straight forward, to renew them I had to issue the following commands:

1. Generate servercert encoded key with 1024 bit encoding

debian:~# cd /var/qmail/control
debian:/var/qmail/control# openssl genrsa -des3 -out servercert.key.enc 1024
Generating RSA private key, 1024 bit long modulus
e is 65537 (0x10001)
Enter pass phrase for servercert.key.enc:
Verifying - Enter pass phrase for servercert.key.enc:

In the Enter pass phrase for servercert.key.enc I typed twice my encoded key password, any password is good, here though using a stronger one is better.

2. Generate the servercert.key file

debian:/var/qmail/control# openssl rsa -in servercert.key.enc -out servercert.key
Enter pass phrase for servercert.key.enc:
writing RSA key

3. Generate the certificate request

debian:/var/qmail/control# openssl req -new -key servercert.key -out servercert.csr
debian:/var/qmail/control# openssl rsa -in servercert.key.enc -out servercert.key
Enter pass phrase for servercert.key.enc:writing RSA key
root@soccerfame:/var/qmail/control# openssl req -new -key servercert.key -out servercert.csr
You are about to be asked to enter information that will be incorporated
into your certificate request.
What you are about to enter is what is called a Distinguished Name or a DN.
There are quite a few fields but you can leave some blank
For some fields there will be a default value,
If you enter '.', the field will be left blank.
Country Name (2 letter code) [AU]:UK
State or Province Name (full name) [Some-State]:London
Locality Name (eg, city) []:London
Organization Name (eg, company) [Internet Widgits Pty Ltd]:My Company
Organizational Unit Name (eg, section) []:My Org
Common Name (eg, YOUR name) []:
Email Address []

Please enter the following 'extra' attributes
to be sent with your certificate request
A challenge password []:
An optional company name []:

In the above prompts its necessery to fill in the company name and location, as each of the prompts clearly states.

4. Sign the just generated certificate request

debian:/var/qmail/control# openssl x509 -req -days 9999 -in servercert.csr -signkey servercert.key -out servercert.crt

Notice the option -days 9999 this option instructs the newly generated self signed certificate to be valid for 9999 days which is quite a long time, the reason why the previous generated self signed certificate expired was that it was built for only 365 days

5. Fix the newly generated servercert.pem permissions debian:~# cd /var/qmail/control
debian:/var/qmail/control# chmod 640 servercert.pem
debian:/var/qmail/control# chown vpopmail:vchkpw servercert.pem
debian:/var/qmail/control# cp -f servercert.pem clientcert.pem
debian:/var/qmail/control# chown root:qmail clientcert.pem
debian:/var/qmail/control# chmod 640 clientcert.pem

Finally to load the new certificate, restart of qmail is required:

6. Restart qmail server

debian:/var/qmail/control# qmailctl restart
Restarting qmail:
* Stopping qmail-smtpd.
* Sending qmail-send SIGTERM and restarting.
* Restarting qmail-smtpd.

Test the newly installed certificate

To test the newly installed SSL certificate use the following commands:

debian:~# openssl s_client -crlf -connect localhost:465 -quiet
depth=0 /C=UK/ST=London/L=London/O=My Org/OU=My Company/
verify error:num=18:self signed certificate
verify return:1
debian:~# openssl s_client -starttls smtp -crlf -connect localhost:25 -quiet
depth=0 /C=UK/ST=London/L=London/O=My Org/OU=My Company/
verify error:num=18:self signed certificate
verify return:1

If an error is returned like 32943:error:140770FC:SSL routines:SSL23_GET_SERVER_HELLO:unknown protocol:s23_clnt.c:607: this means that SSL variable in the qmail-smtpdssl/run script is set to 0.

To solve this error, change SSL=0 to SSL=1 in /var/qmail/supervise/qmail-smtpdssl/run and do qmailctl restart

The error verify return:1 displayed is perfectly fine and it's more of a warning than an error as it just reports the certificate is self signed.

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How to compile latest qmailadmin (qmailadmin 1.2.15) on Debian Squeeze Linux

Thursday, August 11th, 2011

I’ve completed a qmail installation few days ago on a fresh installed Debian Squeeze 64 bit server. All is configured and works fine, except qmailadmin and vqadmin.
As the mail server was missing any kind of web mail administration panel, I needed to make at least one of the two above to make with qmail.

I decided to concentrate on qmailadmin and took the time to make it work. I used the following command lines and got the compile failure during make compilation:

debian:/usr/local/src/qmailadmin-1.2.15# ./configure --enable-cgibindir=/usr/lib/cgi-bin --enable-htmldir=/var/www/qmailadmin/ --enable-modify-quota
debian:/usr/local/src/qmailadmin-1.2.15# make

The source make failed with the following error:

In file included from template.c:45:
qmailadmin.h:37:1: warning: "MAX_FILE_NAME" redefined
In file included from template.c:28:
/home/vpopmail/include/vpopmail.h:146:1: warning: this is the location of the previous definition
template.c: In function "send_template_now":
template.c:505: error: "VERSION" undeclared (first use in this function)
template.c:505: error: (Each undeclared identifier is reported only once
template.c:505: error: for each function it appears in.)
make[1]: *** [template.o] Error 1
make[1]: Leaving directory `/usr/local/src/qmailadmin-1.2.15'
make: *** [all] Error 2

To workaround these compile issues, I’ve had to modify the C source file belonging to qmailadmin ( template.c ), e.g.:

debian:/usr/local/src/qmailadmin-1.2.15# vim template.c

In the file I had to add besides the line:

#include "util.h"

The code:

#define VERSION ""

Aterwards qmailadmin’s compile and install via make && make install-strip succeeded and now works perfectly fine 😉

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