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

Dovecot Logging

Dovecot always logs a detailed error message if something goes wrong. If it doesn't, it's considered a bug and will be fixed. However, almost always the problem is that you're looking at the wrong log file; error messages may be logged to a different file than informational messages.

You can find the log file locations by running:

doveadm log find

Dovecot log configuration is found in the conf.d/10-logging.conf file in the dovecot configuration folder (usually /etc/dovecot but may also be /usr/local/etc/dovecot).

By default Dovecot logs to syslog using mail facility. You can change the facility from syslog_facility setting. The syslog configuration is often in /etc/syslog.conf or /etc/rsyslog* files. You can also configure Dovecot to write to log files directly, see below.

When using syslog, Dovecot uses 5 different logging levels:

Where exactly these messages are logged depends entirely on your syslog configuration. Often everything is logged to /var/log/mail.log or /var/log/maillog, and err and crit are logged to /var/log/mail.err. This is not necessarily true for your configuration though.

In an ideal configuration the errors would be logged to a separate file than non-errors. For example you could set syslog_facility = local5 and set:

local5.*        -/var/log/dovecot.log
local5.warning;local5.error;local5.crit -/var/log/dovecot-errors.log

Here all the Dovecot messages get logged into dovecot.log, while all the important error/warning messages get logged into dovecot-errors.log.

Internal Errors

If IMAP or POP3 processes encounter some error, they don't show the exact reason for clients. Instead they show:

Internal error occurred. Refer to server log for more information. [2006-01-07 22:35:11]

The point is that whenever anything unexpected happens, Dovecot doesn't leak any extra information about it to clients. They don't need it and they might try to exploit it in some ways, so the less they know the better.

The real error message is written to the error log file. The timestamp is meant for you to help you find it.

Changing Log File Paths

If you don't want to use syslog, or if you just can't find the Dovecot's error logs, you can make Dovecot log elsewhere as well:

log_path = /var/log/dovecot.log
# If you want everything in one file, just don't specify info_log_path and debug_log_path
info_log_path = /var/log/dovecot-info.log
# Leave empty in order to send debug-level messages to info_log_path
debug_log_path = /var/log/dovecot-debug.log

The warning and error messages will go to file specified by log_path, while informative messages goes to info_log_path and debug messages goes to debug_log_path. If you do this, make sure you're really looking at the log_path file for error messages, since the "Starting up" message is written to info_log_path file.

Syslog Example

Dovecot logging asynchronously via syslog_facility = local5 with basic rules:

local5.* -/var/log/dovecot.log -/var/log/
local5.warn -/var/log/dovecot.warn
local5.err -/var/log/dovecot.err
:msg,contains,"stored mail into mailbox"\

Rotating Logs

If you change from syslog to an external log file, you can use logrotate (available on most recent linux distros) to maintain the Dovecot logfile so it doesn't grow beyond a manageable size. Save the below scriptlet as /etc/logrotate.d/dovecot:

/var/log/dovecot*.log {
  rotate 4
    doveadm log reopen

Note: doveadm is not working properly with SELinux (e.g. doveadm cannot read config file when called from logrotate context). SELinux safe postrotate alternative scriplet:

 kill -s 0 `cat /var/run/dovecot/` || kill -s USR1 `cat /var/run/dovecot/`

Note 2: When syslog_facility = local5 is used for logging (example above), the line "/var/log/dovecot.log" should be added to the /etc/logrotate.d/syslog file to enable rotation (no /etc/logrotate.d/dovecot in this case!).

Logging verbosity

There are several settings that control logging verbosity. By default they're all disabled, but they may be useful for debugging.

None: Logging (last edited 2018-06-20 22:01:21 by S010610bf48919d24)