SASL configuration

Once Postfix is up and running, add SASL authentication to avoid open relaying. In order to prevent anonymous users from spamming, only authenticated and trusted users will be able to send emails. Postfix supports two SASL implementations: Cyrus SASL (SMTP client and server) and Dovecot SASL (SMTP server only). Both implementations can be built into Postfix simultaneously.



# apt-get install libsasl2-modules sasl2-bin

SASL can use different authentication methods. The default one is PAM (as configured in /etc/conf.d/saslauthd), but to set it up properly you have to create /etc/sasl2/smtpd.conf. Pambase 20190105.1-1 and newer use restrictive fallback for “other” PAM service, and a pam configuration file is required.

Create a file /etc/postfix/sasl/smtpd.conf:

pwcheck_method: saslauthd
mech_list: PLAIN LOGIN
log_level: 7

Setup a separate saslauthd process to be used from Postfix. Create a copy of saslauthd’s config file:

# cp /etc/default/saslauthd /etc/default/saslauthd-postfix


DESC="SASL Auth. Daemon for Postfix"
NAME="saslauthd-postf"      # max. 15 char.
# Option -m sets working dir for saslauthd (contains socket)
OPTIONS="-c -m /var/spool/postfix/var/run/saslauthd"        # postfix/smtp in chroot()

Create the required subdirectories in postfix chroot directory:

dpkg-statoverride --add root sasl 710 /var/spool/postfix/var/run/saslauthd

Add user postfix to the group sasl:

adduser postfix sasl

Restart saslauthd:

# systemctl saslauthd  restart
[ ok ] Stopping SASL Auth. Daemon: saslauthd.
[ ok ] Stopping SASL Auth. Daemon for Postfix: saslauthd-postf.
[ ok ] Starting SASL Auth. Daemon: saslauthd.
[ ok ] Starting SASL Auth. Daemon for Postfix: saslauthd-postf.

Edit /etc/postfix/

smtpd_sasl_local_domain = $myhostname
smtpd_sasl_auth_enable = yes
broken_sasl_auth_clients = yes
smtpd_sasl_security_options = noanonymous
smtpd_recipient_restrictions = permit_sasl_authenticated, permit_mynetworks, reject_unauth_destination

Restart (reloading is not enough):

# systemctl postfix restart


To enable SASL for accepting mail from other users, in /etc/postfix/ under the submission or smtp section (depending on what is used) append/uncomment:

submission inet n       -       n       -       -       smtpd
  -o syslog_name=postfix/submission
  -o smtpd_tls_security_level=encrypt
  -o smtpd_sasl_auth_enable=yes
  -o smtpd_reject_unlisted_recipient=no
#  -o smtpd_client_restrictions=$mua_client_restrictions
#  -o smtpd_helo_restrictions=$mua_helo_restrictions
#  -o smtpd_sender_restrictions=$mua_sender_restrictions
  -o smtpd_recipient_restrictions=permit_sasl_authenticated,reject
  -o milter_macro_daemon_name=ORIGINATING

The three restriction options (client, helo, sender) can also be left commented out, since smtpd_recipient_restrictions already handles SASL users.

Start/enable the saslauthd service and restart the postfix service.


If Dovecot is used as IMAP or POP mail server and all users already authenticate (such as with PAM), then there is no need to configure another package.


Edit /etc/postfix/ and append/uncomment under the submission or smtp section (depending on what is used):

# SASL authentication with dovecot
  -o smtpd_tls_security_level=encrypt
  -o smtpd_sasl_auth_enable=yes
  -o smtpd_sasl_type=dovecot
  -o smtpd_sasl_path=private/auth
  -o smtpd_sasl_security_options=noanonymous
  -o smtpd_sasl_local_domain=$myhostname
  -o smtpd_client_restrictions=permit_sasl_authenticated,reject
  -o smtpd_recipient_restrictions=reject_non_fqdn_recipient,reject_unknown_recipient_domain,permit_sasl_authenticated,reject

In /etc/postfix/

smtpd_relay_restrictions = permit_mynetworks,permit_sasl_authenticated,reject_unauth_destination
smtpd_sasl_local_domain = $myhostname

smtpd_sender_restrictions filters mails based on the MAIL FROM command; This command is easy faked by telneting an open relay and typing in this command, therefore mail counl be sent with a valid MAIL FROM address. Use smtpd_client_restrictions instead, which checks the hostname or IP address of the smtpd client (the other MTA/SMTP connecting to the internal smtpd) in a black list, if listed mail is denied.

If mails are marked as NoBounceOpenRelay try:

smtpd_sasl_authenticated_header = yes

To configure Postfix to enable email clients to connect to the SMTP server. In /etc/postfix/

smtpd_sasl_auth_enable = yes
smtpd_sasl_security_options = noanonymous
smtpd_sasl_local_domain = $myhostname
smtpd_recipient_restrictions = permit_sasl_authenticated,permit_mynetworks, reject_unauth_destination
broken_sasl_auth_clients = yes
smtpd_sasl_type = dovecot
smtpd_sasl_path = private/auth

broken_sasl_auth_clients enables interoperability with remote SMTP clients that implement an obsolete version of the AUTH command. Default is no. Setting it to yes makes Postfix advertise AUTH support in a non-standard way.

Restart both dovecot and postfix.

Configuration resources