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

Filesystem quota

Index files

It's a good idea to keep index files in a partition where there are no filesystem quota limits. The index files exist to speed up mailbox operations, so Dovecot runs more slowly if it can't keep them updated. You can specify the index file location by appending :INDEX=/somewhere to [:MailLocation:mail_location].

Since v1.0.rc27 Dovecot can handle "out of disk space" errors in index file handling and transparently move to in-memory indexes. It'll use the in-memory indexes until the mailbox is re-opened. Earlier versions will break more or less badly.


It's a good idea to have mbox_lazy_writes=yes (default), otherwise Dovecot might give "Not enough disk space" errors when opening the mailbox, making it impossible to expunge any mails.

If user has run out of quota and index files are also in memory (because they're also over quota), it's possible that message flag changes are lost. This should be pretty rare though because Dovecot keeps some extra space allocated inside the mbox file for flag changes.

Example preferred configuration:

mail_location = mbox:~/mail:INBOX=/var/mail/%u:INDEX=/var/no-quotas/index/%u


Maildir needs to be able to add UIDs of new messages to dovecot-uidlist file. If it can't do this, it can give an error when opening the mailbox, making it impossible to expunge any mails.

Currently the only way to avoid this is to use a separate partition for the uidlist files where there are no filesystem quota limits. You can do this by appending :CONTROL=/somewhere to [:MailLocation:mail_location].

Example preferred configuration:

mail_location = maildir:~/Maildir:INDEX=/var/no-quotas/index/%u:CONTROL=/var/no-quotas/control/%u

Note that if you change the location of the control files, Dovecot will look in the new CONTROL directory (/var/no-quotas/control/%u) for the subscriptions file.

Quota reporting

Dovecot supports filesystem quota reporting using a quota plugin. New features in Dovecot v1.1 include:


All of these require v1.1+:

If you want to give multiple parameters, separate them with ':' (e.g. "inode_per_mail:noenforcing").


protocol imap {
  mail_plugins = quota imap_quota

plugin {
  quota = fs:user

If you want to see both user and group quotas as separate quota roots, you can use this with v1.1:

plugin {
  quota = fs:User quota:user
  quota2 = fs:Group quota:group

If you have your mails in two filesystems, you can create two quota roots with v1.1:

plugin {
  # Assuming INBOX in /var/mail/ which is mounted to /
  quota = fs:INBOX:mount=/
  # Assuming other mailboxes are in /home mount
  quota2 = fs:Others:mount=/home