This documentation is for Dovecot v2.x, see wiki1 for v1.x documentation.
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= Mail location =

 * For mbox-specific settings, see ["MailLocation/Mbox"]
 * For Maildir-specific settings, see ["MailLocation/Maildir"]

There are three different places where the mail location is looked up from:

 1. {{{mail_location}}} setting in {{{dovecot.conf}}} is used if nothing else overrides it. This setting used to be called {{{default_mail_env}}} in Dovecot versions earlier than v1.0.rc11.
 1. {{{mail}}} userdb [:UserDatabase/ExtraFields:extra field] overrides {{{mail_location}}} setting.
 1. {{{location}}} setting inside namespaces overrides everything. Usually this should be used only for public and shared namespaces.

By default the `mail_location` setting is empty, which means that Dovecot attempts to locate automatically where your mails are. This is done by looking at `~/Maildir`, `/var/mail/username`, `~/mail` and `~/Mail` in that order. It's usually a good idea to explicitly specify where the mails are, even if the autodetection happens to work. Autodetection commonly fails for new users who don't have the mail directory created yet.

You can use several variables in the `mail_location` setting. See ["Variables"] for a full list, but the most commonly used ones are:

 * `%u`: Full username.
 * `%n`: User part in user@domain, same as %u if there's no domain.
 * `%d`: Domain part in user@domain, empty if there's no domain.

Typically with Maildir it would be set to:

mail_location = maildir:~/Maildir }}}

with mbox:

mail_location = mbox:~/mail:INBOX=/var/mail/%u }}}

or if you'd like to use the [wiki:self:MailboxFormat/dbox dbox] format:

mail_location = dbox:~/dbox }}}

Use only absolute paths. Even if relative paths would appear to work, they might just as well break some day.

== Directory hashing ==

You can use two different kinds of hashes in [:Variables:variables]:

 * %H modifiers returns a 32bit hash of the given string as hex. For example {{{%2.2H}}} would return max. 256 different hashes in range 00 .. ff.
 * %M returns a MD5 hash of the string as hex. This can be used for two level hashing by getting substrings of the MD5 hash. For example {{{%1Hu/%2.1u/%u}}} returns directories from {{{0/0/user}}} to {{{f/f/user}}}.

== Index files ==

Index files are by default stored under the same directory as mails. With maildir they are stored in the actual maildirs, with mbox they are stored under {{{.imap/}}} directory. You may want to change the index file location if you're using ["NFS"] or if you're setting up [:SharedMailboxes:shared mailboxes].

You can change the index file location by adding {{{:INDEX=<path>}}} to mail_location. For example:

mail_location = maildir:~/Maildir:INDEX=/var/indexes/%u

The index directories are created automatically, but note that it requires that Dovecot has actually access to create the directories. Either make sure that the index root directory ({{{/var/indexes}}} in the above example) is writable to the logged in user, or create the user's directory with proper permissions before the user logs in.

If you really want to, you can also disable the index files completely by appending {{{:INDEX=MEMORY}}}.

== INBOX path ==

INBOX path can be specified to exist elsewhere than the rest of the mailboxes, for example:

mail_location = mbox:~/mail:INBOX=/var/mail/%u
mail_location = maildir:~/Maildir:INBOX=~/Maildir/.INBOX

Note that it's still not possible to mix maildir and mbox formats this way. You need to use [:Namespaces:namespaces] for that.

== Homeless users ==

Having a home directory for users is highly recommended. Dovecot's [:LDA/Sieve:Sieve plugin] already requires a home directory to work, and it probably won't be the last feature to require a home. See ["VirtualUsers#homedirs"] for more reasons why it's a good idea, and how to give Dovecot a home directory even if you don't have a "real home directory".

If you really don't want to set any home directory, you can use something like:

mail_location = maildir:/home/%u/Maildir }}}

== Per-user mail locations ==

It's possible to override the default {{{mail_location}}} for specific users by making the [:UserDatabase:user database] return `mail` [:UserDatabase/ExtraFields:extra field]. See the [:UserDatabase:user database] page for the specific userdb you're using for more information how to do this. Below are however a couple of examples.

Note that %h doesn't work in the userdb queries or templates. ~/ gets expanded later, so use it instead.

=== SQL ===

user_query = SELECT home, uid, gid, mail FROM users WHERE user = '%u' }}}

=== LDAP ===

user_attrs = homeDirectory=home,uidNumber=uid,gidNumber=gid,mailLocation=mail }}}

=== Passwd-file ===

user:{PLAIN}password:1000:1000::/home/user::userdb_mail=mbox:~/mail:INBOX=/var/mail/%u }}}

== Mixing mbox and maildir ==

It's possible to use both mboxes and maildirs for the same user by configuring multiple namespaces. See ["Namespaces"].

Having both mboxes and maildirs mixed within the same namespace isn't currently supported.

== Custom mailbox location detection ==

Dovecot by default detects the mailboxes in this order:

 1. maildir: ~/Maildir
 1. mbox: ~/mail, and /var/mail/%u if it exists
 1. mbox: ~/Mail, and /var/mail/%u if it exists

If you need something else, you can override the `mail_executable` setting to run a script, which sets the MAIL environment properly. For example:


if [ -d $HOME/.maildir ]; then
  export MAIL=maildir:$HOME/.maildir
  export MAIL=mbox:$HOME/mail:INBOX=/var/mail/$USER

# Finally execute the imap/pop3. If you use both, you'll need two scripts.
exec /usr/local/libexec/dovecot/imap $*

'''NOTE''': If you're using namespaces, the MAIL environment is ignored. You'll need to set NAMESPACE_1 (and maybe _2, _3, etc. for each namespace) instead.
Moved to

None: MailLocation (last edited 2019-09-11 14:05:46 by MichaelSlusarz)