**Thanks to Luca Gibelli for his document about Postfix SMTP AUTH.

It helped me a lot, this article is largely based on his work, I adapted it to match RHEL/CentOS systems.**


Your mail server hosts multiple domains.

You use a MySQL database as backend for user authentication.

Users authenticate to the POP3/IMAP server as:
username : username@example.org
password : test123

You want to allow them to authenticate with SMTP AUTH using the same credentials.

The credentials are stored in a MySQL database in an encrypted form.

You want them to authenticate on a secure channel (TLS)

What you need

pam_mysql is available at : http://repo.securityteam.us/repository/
el3 : http://repo.securityteam.us/repository/redhat/el3/i386/RPMS/pam_mysql-0.6.2-2.i386.rpm
el4 : http://repo.securityteam.us/repository/redhat/el4/i386/RPMS/pam_mysql-0.6.2-2.i386.rpm

How to set it up

Edit /etc/pam.d/smtp:

#auth       required    pam_stack.so service=system-auth
#account    required    pam_stack.so service=system-auth
auth required pam_mysql.so user=database passwd=password host= db=postfix table=mailbox usercolumn=username passwdcolumn=password crypt=1 md5=1
account sufficient pam_mysql.so user=database passwd=password host= db=postfix table=mailbox usercolumn=username passwdcolumn=password crypt=1 md5=1

Change the info to match your configuration

The auth and account lines could be cut in half in this article.

If you are copy-pasting the text, make sure everything holds on one line on both auth and account statement.

Edit /usr/lib/sasl2/smtpd.conf:

pwcheck_method: saslauthd
mech_list: PLAIN LOGIN
log_level: 5

Make sure “MECH=pam” is present under /etc/sysconfig/saslauthd

Edit 15 dec 2006


I’m currently installing a mail server under CentOS 4.4 while this guide describes the CentOS 3 way I thought it did not matter but there’s a small difference with saslauthd..

Under CentOS 4.x you need to add the following line in /etc/sysconfig/saslauthd: FLAGS="-r"

Without the -r flag, saslauthd would query the MySQL database this way: 25 Query SELECT password FROM mailbox WHERE username = 'admin'

Obviously, the whole email address is stored in the database, with the -r flag, it will query correctly: 26 Query SELECT password FROM mailbox WHERE username = 'admin@example.org'

The man page for saslauthd mentions the -r flag under CentOS 4 only..

-r Combine the realm with the login (with an ’@’ sign in between). e.g. login: “foo” realm: “bar” will get passed as login: “foo@bar”. Note that the realm will still be passed, which may lead to unexpected behavior.

End of edit

Add the following lines to /etc/postfix/main.cf:

smtpd_sasl_local_domain =
smtpd_sasl_auth_enable = yes
smtpd_sasl_security_options = noanonymous
broken_sasl_auth_clients = yes

This will enable SASL authentication to all the smtp ssl instances.

You can disable sasl auth for certain instances under /etc/postfix/master.rc if you need     inet    n       -       n       -       10      smtpd
        -o smtpd_sasl_auth_enable=no

Under /etc/postfix/main.cf:

Add “permit_sasl_authenticated” to the “smtpd_recipient_restrictions” section:

smtpd_recipient_restrictions =

Enable TLS

Note: leave “challenge password” empty.

Add the following lines to /etc/postfix/main.cf:

smtpd_tls_auth_only = no
smtp_use_tls = no
smtpd_use_tls = yes
smtp_tls_note_starttls_offer = yes
smtpd_tls_key_file = /etc/postfix/tls/smtpd.key
smtpd_tls_cert_file = /etc/postfix/tls/smtpd.crt
smtpd_tls_CAfile = /etc/postfix/tls/cacert.pem
smtpd_tls_loglevel = 1
smtpd_tls_received_header = yes
smtpd_tls_session_cache_timeout = 3600s
tls_random_source = dev:/dev/urandom
tls_daemon_random_source = dev:/dev/urandom

Restart the services

service saslauthd restart
service postfix restart

Start services at boot

chkconfig postfix on
chkconfig saslauthd on

Debugging issues with verbose logs


add “verbose=true” to the end of the auth and account lines in /etc/pam.d/smtp


stop the service

start saslauthd manually:

# saslauthd -a pam -d

If you want to run Postfix chrooted with a MySQL backend: **http://blog.wains.be/?p=161

If you want to run Postfix chrooted with saslauthd: **http://blog.wains.be/?p=162

Script to enable/disable Postfix chroot (tested with Postfix 2.2.8): **http://blog.wains.be/pub/postfix-chroot

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