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

For testing POP3 installation, see TestPop3Installation.

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 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 '^]'.

If you got "connection refused", make sure that Dovecot is configured to serve the imap protocol and listening on the expected interfaces/addresses. The simplest way to do that would be using doveconf(1):

# doveconf protocols listen
protocols = imap pop3 lmtp sieve
listen = *, ::

If the protocols setting shouldn't contain imap so add it. Also make sure, that relevant !include or !try_include configuration lines are not commented.

Next check that it also works from remote host:

# telnet 143
Connected to
Escape character is '^]'.

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

If you have only imaps enabled, see "remote login" section below for how to test using openssl s_client.

Check that it's allowing logins

# telnet localhost 143
a login "username" "password"

Replace the username and password with the ones you added to passwd.dovecot in BasicConfiguration. Note that all IMAP commands begin with a tag, which is basically any string you want, but it must be there. So don't leave out the "a" in the above example. If the password contains '"' character, escape it with '\' (e.g. "foo\"bar").

You should get an "a 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

You'll need to try this from another computer, since all local IPs are treated as secure:

# telnet 143
a login "username" "password"

If the connection is hanging instead of giving * Dovecot ready, you have a firewall that's preventing the connections.

Otherwise, 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.
a 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:

Check that it finds INBOX

After logging in, check that the INBOX is found:

b 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
b 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:

c list "" *
* LIST (\NoInferiors) "/" "test"
* LIST (\NoInferiors) "/" "INBOX"
c 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.

Make a graceful exit

To close the connection to Dovecot issue a logout:

e logout
* BYE Logging out
e OK Logout completed.