Manage your Linux/Ubuntu email server from web interface – PostfixAdmin

I already showed you how to setup your own email server on Ubuntu using Postfix and Dovecot. We also added Roundcube to our setup to have web interface for our mailing solution.

Now we will add PostfixAdmin to help us manage our email server and domains.

You can find more details about PostfixAdmin here

PostfixAdmin can manage mailboxes, virtual domains, alias domains, has quota support for mailboxes…

Check out website listed above for more info.

Before we begin

You need functional LAMP stack, I already wrote about that, so make sure you prepare it.

You also need functioning email server on Ubuntu 20.04. I already wrote about that too, and you can find all the details on my blog.

Also, you will need ssl certificates (described in my email server guide) for this guide.

You will also need postfix A record in your DNS (0.123.456.789 represents IP address)

A record – postfixadmin 0.123.456.789

I’m doing all of this on my email server which has Postfix, Dovecot and Roundcube on it.

Ok, lets start

Installing PostfixAdmin on Ubuntu 20.04

First we will install dbconfig-no-thanks to prevent automatic db wizard.

sudo apt install dbconfig-no-thanks

Next, we will install Postfix admin

sudo apt install postfixadmin

Now, we will remove dbconfig-no-thanks

sudo apt remove dbconfig-no-thanks

and launch config wizard for PostfixAdmin

sudo dpkg-reconfigure postfixadmin

Reinstall database for postfixadmin – yes

Connection method for MySQL – Unix socket



I will name database – postfixadmin


MySQL user – I will leave default postfixadmin@localhost

Next, you need to define password for your postfixadmin user

You will also need to confirm password

Lastly, we need to name database administrative user. For this guide, I will leave root user

Lets test our mysql created postfix user and see databases installed

mysql -u postfixadmin -p

After login, issued command to show databases


Exit with following


We need to edit also two configuration files created by postfixadmin – postfixadmin.conf and and change mysql to mysqli in those files.

sudo nano /etc/dbconfig-common/postfixadmin.conf

Change value from mysql to mysqli


Save and exit

Postfixadmin installs web files under /usr/share/postfixadmin owned by root. We need to add templates_c directory to that path.

sudo mkdir /usr/share/postfixadmin/templates_c

We now need to set some permissions

But before we do that, we need to install acl package

sudo apt install acl

and now we can execute command and grant permissions to www-data to templates_c folder.

sudo setfacl -R -m u:www-data:rwx /usr/share/postfixadmin/templates_c/

We will now configure Apache Virtual Host

Apache Virtual Host

We need to create Virtual Host file for our postfixadmin so that we can access our postfixadmin website.

sudo nano /etc/apache2/sites-available/postfixadmin.conf

Enter your domain name, and change your SSL certificates name and path if needed!

<VirtualHost *:443>
   ServerName postfixadmin.your_domain_or_ip
   DocumentRoot /usr/share/postfixadmin/public

ErrorLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/postfixadmin_error.log
CustomLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/postfixadmin_access.log combined

<Directory />
    Options FollowSymLinks
    AllowOverride All

  <Directory /usr/share/postfixadmin/>
    Options FollowSymLinks MultiViews
    AllowOverride All
    Order allow,deny
    allow from all

   SSLEngine on
   SSLCertificateFile /etc/ssl/certs/ssl1.crt
   SSLCertificateKeyFile /etc/ssl/private/ssl1.key

Save file and exit

Run following to enable configuration

sudo a2ensite postfixadmin.conf

Test your configuration

sudo apache2ctl configtest

If everything ok, restart apache

sudo systemctl reload apache2

Also, before continuing be sure that you have all the PHP modules in place. You should have them if you followed my previous LAMP and email guides.

sudo apt install php7.4-fpm php7.4-imap php7.4-mbstring php7.4-mysql php7.4-json php7.4-curl php7.4-zip php7.4-xml php7.4-bz2 php7.4-intl php7.4-gmp

We won’t open just yet our website but our installation should now be available at

Don’t forget to add A record for postfixadmin, or you will struggle like I did for 15 minutes to resolve why webpage won’t open :)

We will create our own settings file inside config.local.php

sudo nano /usr/share/postfixadmin/config.local.php

Enter following into file

$CONF['encrypt'] = 'dovecot:ARGON2I';

$CONF['dovecotpw'] = "/usr/bin/doveadm pw -r 5";
if(@file_exists('/usr/bin/doveadm')) { // @ to silence openbase_dir stuff; see
    $CONF['dovecotpw'] = "/usr/bin/doveadm pw -r 5"; # debian

Argon2 is important parameter, it enables strong password scheme

Save and close file

We will just create symlink for /etc/postfixadmin

sudo ln -s /usr/share/postfixadmin/config.local.php /etc/postfixadmin/config.local.php

Ok, lets now setup our postfixadmin in web browser

PostfixAdmin web setup

Now we need to head to (change to your domain)

Enter setup password and click on Generate password hash

After you entered password twice and selected Generate password hash you will get following

Copy that line into config.local.php

sudo nano /usr/share/postfixadmin/config.local.php

Add following line to the bottom of the file (enter your HASH, don’t copy mine!!!)

$CONF['setup_password'] = '16ac566c68mbnrytrtyuiyuiyui:60cbiopvbn070472d5e3986ad6c29c5dbb';

Save and close file.

Go back to the webpage.

At the bottom of the page, in first field, enter password you define just now in the step before this. Enter admin account for your postfixadmin. You need to specify email address and new password.

Make sure your password has at least one capital letter, two digits and a special sign.

Ok, we are done with the setup.

Our login site should now be available at

We are in.

We are still not done with this setup, we have couple more steps to do.

Check database

Let’s see what tables postfixadmin created

sudo mysql -u root

We will now change to postfix database

USE postfixadmin;

Let’s see created tables


There should be 13 tables, most important are – domain, mailbox and alias.

To logout of MariaDB, enter


Configure Postfix to use MariaDB

In the initial email setup we done, in order for user to use email, he/she need to have user account on the Ubuntu itself. We are now going to shift to virtual domain mailboxes from local accounts.

Lets configure Postfix to use virtual mailbox domains.

First, lets install MySQL support for Postfix

sudo apt install postfix-mysql

Now, we need to edit Postfix

sudo nano /etc/postfix/

Add following to the end of the file

virtual_mailbox_domains = proxy:mysql:/etc/postfix/sql/
virtual_mailbox_maps =
virtual_alias_maps =

We also need dovecot to deliver incoming emails to virtual users message stores so we will enter following below lines that we already entered.

virtual_transport = lmtp:unix:private/dovecot-lmtp

Save and exit.

Now, we need to create directories we specified above in file. We will also need to create some configuration files specified above.

Lets get to work.

sudo mkdir /etc/postfix/sql/

We will now create file

sudo nano /etc/postfix/sql/

Enter following – replace password with the password you created for postfixadmin account at the beggining of this guide in the wizard we went through just after installing Postfixadmin

user = postfixadmin
password = password
hosts = localhost
dbname = postfixadmin
query = SELECT domain FROM domain WHERE domain='%s' AND active = '1'
#query = SELECT domain FROM domain WHERE domain='%s'
#optional query to use when relaying for backup MX
#query = SELECT domain FROM domain WHERE domain='%s' AND backupmx = '0' AND active = '1'
#expansion_limit = 100

Next, we will create

sudo nano /etc/postfix/sql/

Enter following in the file.

Again, change password with your postfixadmin pass

user = postfixadmin
password = password
hosts = localhost
dbname = postfixadmin
query = SELECT maildir FROM mailbox WHERE username='%s' AND active = '1'
#expansion_limit = 100


sudo nano /etc/postfix/sql/

Add following (remember to change pass…

user = postfixadmin
password = password
hosts = localhost
dbname = postfixadmin
query = SELECT maildir FROM mailbox,alias_domain WHERE alias_domain.alias_domain = '%d' and mailbox.username = CONCAT('%u', '@', alias_domain.target_domain) AND = 1 AND'1'

Again, we will create another one named

sudo nano /etc/postfix/sql/

And add following content

user = postfixadmin
password = password
hosts = localhost
dbname = postfixadmin
query = SELECT goto FROM alias WHERE address='%s' AND active = '1'
#expansion_limit = 100


sudo nano /etc/postfix/sql/

Add following

user = postfixadmin
password = password
hosts = localhost
dbname = postfixadmin
query = SELECT goto FROM alias,alias_domain WHERE alias_domain.alias_domain = '%d' and alias.address = CONCAT('%u', '@', alias_domain.target_domain) AND = 1 AND'1'

Create file

sudo nano /etc/postfix/sql/

Enter following into file

# handles catch-all settings of target-domain
user = postfixadmin
password = password
hosts = localhost
dbname = postfixadmin
query = SELECT goto FROM alias,alias_domain WHERE alias_domain.alias_domain = '%d' and alias.address = CONCAT('@', alias_domain.target_domain) AND = 1 AND'1'

Ok, that should be more or less it, we created all necessary files

We need to modify some permissions and make data readable only to postfix and root since everyhing is in plain text.

sudo chmod 0640 /etc/postfix/sql/*
sudo setfacl -R -m u:postfix:rx /etc/postfix/sql/

We also need to check mydestination paramater in Postfix

postconf mydestination

Output should be something like this

mydestination = $myhostname,,,,  localhost

Since we are going to use virtual mailbox we need to modify some parameters

sudo postconf -e "mydestination = \$myhostname, localhost.\$mydomain, localhost"

Now, lets open file again

sudo nano /etc/postfix/

Add following to the end of the line

virtual_mailbox_base = /var/vmail
virtual_minimum_uid = 2000
virtual_uid_maps = static:2000
virtual_gid_maps = static:2000

Save and exit file

We need to restart Postfix

sudo systemctl restart postfix

we need to add user vmail with uid 2000

sudo adduser vmail --system --group --uid 2000 --disabled-login --no-create-home

We will also create mail base station

sudo mkdir /var/vmail/

and make vmail owner

sudo chown vmail:vmail /var/vmail/ -R

Ok, we are done with Postfix.

Configure Dovecot to use MariaDB

We need also to configure Dovecot IMAP so it can query users from database.

Lets first install something

sudo apt install dovecot-mysql

Now, we wil ledit some more files :)

sudo nano /etc/dovecot/conf.d/10-mail.conf

Earlier, if you configured email server with my guide, we configured mail_location to use maildir.

We now need to enable mail_home since we are going to use virtual users who don’t have their home folders

mail_home = /var/vmail/%d/%n/

I mentioned this part also in my email guide, but now, we need it, so make sure it is enabled and configured.

Save and close

We now need to edit 10-auth.conf file.

sudo nano /etc/dovecot/conf.d/10-auth.conf

We need to change in auth_username_format from n (which drops domain extension) to u – which won’t drop domain away.

auth_username_format = %u

Also, at the bottom of the file, uncomment following

!include auth-sql.conf.ext

Also, uncomment following line to prevent local users to send emails without registering in PostfixAdmin

#!include auth-system.conf.ext

In the end, add following two lines so you can debug login issues.

auth_debug = yes
auth_debug_passwords = yes

Save and close file.

Ok, we now need to create and edit dovecot-sql.conf.ext file

sudo nano /etc/dovecot/dovecot-sql.conf.ext

Add these lines to the bottom of the file, and just like in Postfix config part, change password with your postfixadmin pass.

driver = mysql

connect = host=localhost dbname=postfixadmin user=postfixadmin password=password

default_pass_scheme = ARGON2I

password_query = SELECT username AS user,password FROM mailbox WHERE username = '%u' AND active='1'

user_query = SELECT maildir, 2000 AS uid, 2000 AS gid FROM mailbox WHERE username = '%u' AND active='1'

iterate_query = SELECT username AS user FROM mailbox

Restart Dovecot

sudo systemctl restart dovecot

Add Domain to PostfixAdmin

Log back in to your PostfixAdmin web interface

Go to Domain List and click on Add Domain

Define your domain and click on Add Domain

If you click back on Domain List, you should now see your domain listed

Now, lets add new mailbox. Click on Virtual List – Add Mailbox

I will define testuser2 and select Add Mailbox

I successfully logged in to new created account via Roundcube. You can also add this account via email client, I already showed that part in my email setup guide.

I tried to send/receive emails and other functionalities, all works well.