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


Check that it's running

First check with ps that dovecot process is actually running. If it's not, you had an error in dovecot.conf and the error message was written to log. Go back to RunningDovecot and [wiki:Logging Logging] if you can't find it.

Check that it's listening

Next check that Dovecot is listening for connections:

# telnet localhost 143
Connected to localhost.
Escape character is '^]'.
* OK Dovecot ready.

If you got "connection refused", check that imap is included in protocols setting in dovecot.conf. Also check that listen setting is *.

Next check that it also works from remote host:

# telnet 143
Connected to
Escape character is '^]'.
* OK Dovecot ready.

If that didn't work, check all possible firewalls in between, and check that listen setting is * in dovecot.conf.

Check that it's allowing logins

# telnet localhost 143
1 login username password

Replace the username and password with the ones you added to passwd.dovecot in BasicConfiguration.

You should get an "1 OK Logged in." reply. If you get "Authentication failed" error, set auth_verbose = yes and auth_debug = yes in dovecot.conf, restart Dovecot and try again. The log file should now show enough information to help you fix the problem.

Check that it's allowing remote logins

# telnet 143
1 login username password

The only difference here compared to step above is that you might get:

* BAD [ALERT] Plaintext authentication is disabled, but your client sent password in plaintext anyway. If anyone was listening, the password was exposed.
x NO Plaintext authentication disabled.

If this is the case, you didn't set disable_plaintext_auth = no. You could alternatively use OpenSSL to test that the server works with SSL (assuming you've already set it up):

# openssl s_client -connect
* OK Dovecot ready.

Check that it finds INBOX

After logging in, check that the INBOX is found:

2 select inbox
* FLAGS (\Answered \Flagged \Deleted \Seen \Draft)
* OK [PERMANENTFLAGS (\Answered \Flagged \Deleted \Seen \Draft \*)] Flags permitted.
* OK [UIDVALIDITY 1106186941] UIDs valid
* OK [UIDNEXT 2] Predicted next UID
2 OK [READ-WRITE] Select completed.

It should contain the mail that you sent to yourself in FindMailLocation step.

If anything goes wrong, set mail_debug = yes and try again. The log file should now contain debugging information of where Dovecot is trying to find the mails. Fix mail_location setting and try again.

Check that it finds other mailboxes

If you already have other mailboxes created, you can check that Dovecot finds them:

2 list "" *
* LIST (\NoInferiors) "/" "test"
* LIST (\NoInferiors) "/" "INBOX"
x OK List completed.

If they weren't found, set mail_debug = yes and look at the debugging information. Fix mail_location setting and try again.

Check that real mail clients work

Since mail clients can be configured in various ways, please check first if the problem is with Dovecot configuration or with the client's configuration. You can rule out it being Dovecot's problem with the "telnet" methods described above.

If you can't log in,

If you can see only INBOX,

Most IMAP clients have been tested with Dovecot and they work.