Starting the mail server

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#1 Tue, 01/11/2011 - 19:26

Starting the mail server

I am just starting with virtualmin, however I am having issues getting the mail server up and running. I have tried to run it by logging in to webmin, going Servers -> Virtualmin Virtual Servers and pressing the start mail server button. The page refreshes, although the mail server hasn't started as the start mail server button is still displayed, with a red cross next to the service. The same thing happens when trying to start postfix. This is a fairly fresh install (haven't mucked around with anything mail related) and so I am stumped as to why the mail server won't start. Ideas?

Thanks in advance

Tue, 01/11/2011 - 19:41


I'm curious what you see if you log into your server as root over SSH, and try to start Postfix with:

/etc/init.d/postfix restart

Also, do you see any errors in /var/log/maillog or /var/log/mail.log?


Tue, 01/11/2011 - 23:05 (Reply to #2)

thanks for the suggestions. I ran the restart command you gave, and it was interesting that it said shutdown failed, but it started OK.

As for the maillog, there are lots of lines for both sendmail and postfix, however the following error keeps popping up for postfix:

Jan 11 21:00:48 server postfix/postfix-script: starting the Postfix mail system Jan 11 21:00:48 server postfix/master[18002]: fatal: bind port 25: Address already in use Jan 11 21:01:00 server postfix/postfix-script: fatal: the Postfix mail system is not runnin

Wed, 01/12/2011 - 01:41
ronald's picture

if you run sendmail, you cant run postfix.
Remove sendmail and make postfix your default mail application would be a solution.

they both try to run on the same port but that is not possible

Wed, 01/12/2011 - 11:37

Additional hint: If this is a fresh system, it might be an idea to "refresh" it again (as in reinstall it - clean, without any server packages aside from SSH) and then use the Virtualmin automated installer script which will download and configure all required packages. Fast and easy. :) (Provided you use a grade-A supported system).

Thu, 01/13/2011 - 03:15

@ ronald

Thanks, this was the problem. About an hour after I posted the error I had one of those epiphany moments were I realised that sendmail was the issue. I'm still getting used to the linux environment


This is the best advice of the year so far. I wiped my VPS clean and installed via the script that you recommended. It turns out that beforehand my host had webmin installed, and I simply added virtualmin as an addon. Now I have a cleaner ui, mail is working out of the box (something that I was struggling with after I fixed the issue of postfix not starting) and everything has worked perfectly so far, including the cpanel migration. It is how I thought it should be

Coming from cpanel, it is really intriguing to see all the services and inner workings of my webserver that Cpanel hid from me. Hopefully I'll learn how to run my server without cpanel, although its a good thing I have nothing mission critical.

Thu, 01/13/2011 - 03:31

I quite agree with the "inner workings" thing.

While a web hosting panel is meant to make everyday life easier (and Virtualmin quite succeeds at that :) ), there will probably always be a point where the admin needs to "step down a level" and configure some stuff manually - either because the control panel did something incorrectly, is missing a feature, or some other damage happened.

For those cases, and in general, an administrator and provider of Internet services should know what software he is using and how it works in general. Just like an aircraft pilot needs to be able to fly himself in addition to turning on the autopilot, while he does not need to know how to repair the engines of his craft - the mechanics are there for that, just like what the coders do for server software.

Sat, 01/15/2011 - 23:59

I now have another question, although I thought I'd keep it to this thread. I have a cpanel account with a few email addresses that I want transfered to virtualmin, however I would like all the emails to be migrated as well.

For most of the domains I have used a the cpanel migrate feature, however this domain is a subdomain to a cpanel account and I only want the email. Whats the best way to get it?

Sun, 01/16/2011 - 08:54

however this domain is a subdomain to a cpanel account and I only want the email. Whats the best way to get it?

Do you know what format the email is in on the other server? If it's in Maildir format, you could always just copy the Maildir directory from that server to the home directory of an account on your new Virtualmin server.


Sun, 01/16/2011 - 09:25

Another option is to transfer the emails via the IMAP protocol, using a client that connects to both the old and new server.

Mon, 01/17/2011 - 18:37

Thanks for the advice. I ended up copying over the contents of the Maildir folder, and I can read emails fine. However, I can't receive emails, the following line come up in the log:

Command output: WARNING: System limit for file size is lower than engine->maxscansize procmail: Unable to treat as directory "/home/xxx/homes/yyy/Maildir/new" procmail: Skipped "/home/xxx/homes/yyy/Maildir" ) Jan 17 15:25:40 server postfix/cleanup[9353]: 1F1376A71141:

I've tried changing the permissions on the Maildir directory and that didn't work. That email address also forwards to another external email address which receives the emails fine, however the sender and the forwarded address both receive bounced email notifications soon after.

Hopefully this is the last of my troubles. I have apache serving pages, mysql has worked without a hitch, and soon I will conquer mail and become unstoppable ... if running a server was ever that dramatic


Nevermind about this. I have just decided to start from scratch with my email accounts. Everything is in gmail or thunderbird if I need it for reference, having the mail transferred over is a 'nice to have' thing rather than a necessity, so I'll let it be.

Mon, 01/17/2011 - 19:20

Problems like you encountered were the primary reason why I suggested transferring the stuff via IMAP as an alternative option. :)

When doing so, you're leaving all the "internal details" about how the maildir is supposed to look/be accessed to the two mailservers, and use a well-defined protocol to transfer the emails. Just in case you still do need the old mails... e.g. TheBat, the email client I use, can copy mails over IMAP from one server to another just fine.

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