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Postfix Forward Email To Another Email Account

I‘ve multiple virtual domain hosted on CentOS Postfix server. How do I forward selected virtual domain email to yahoo / gmail or other email account using Postfix email server?

Postfix can be configured as mail forwarding domains server using virtual_alias_maps settings. There are two type of configurations here.

Postfix Mail Forwarding Domains

This is useful if you do not have local mailboxes and server is not acting as MX backup (do not use the following if relay_domains sql map or virtual map is configured). The main purpose of these domains is to forward mail elsewhere. The following example shows how to set up cyberciti.com as a mail forwarding domain. Open main.cf file, enter:
# vi /etc/postfix/main.cf
Make sure following two line exists:

virtual_alias_domains = cyberciti.com 
# virtual_alias_domains = cyberciti.com example.com moredomains.com ..
virtual_alias_maps = hash:/etc/postfix/virtual

Open /etc/postfix/virtual file, enter:
# vi /etc/postfix/virtual
Forward email sent to vivek@cyberciti.com to vivek@nixcraft.co.in:

vivek@cyberciti.com   vivek@nixcraft.co.in

You can also implement a catch-all address i.e. email sent to tom@example.com and jerry@example.com should be forwarded to somewhereelse@another.domain.com

@example.com         somewhereelse@another.domain.com

Save and close the file. Type the following command to restart postfix:
# postmap /etc/postfix/virtual
# service postfix reload

Postfix Mail Forwarding Domains For Backup MX Server

If your server is a backup mx with relay domain configured via mysql / ldap proxy map only add virtual_alias_maps = hash:/etc/postfix/virtual to main.cf file. Create /etc/postfix/virtual file as described. In other words do not list domain cyberciti.com in BOTH virtual_alias_domains and relay_domains. Use only one configuration option. Usually, relay_domains is configured for backup postfix MX servers.

Please note that you can also use procmail to forward email to another account.

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{ 23 comments… add one }
  • Shoaibi June 4, 2009, 10:24 am

    hmmm, nice…

  • noneck June 8, 2009, 11:27 pm

    You could also leave the original address to keep a copy locally before forwarding, or have multiple email addresses seperated by commas.

    vivek@cyberciti.com vivek@cyberciti.com, vivek@nixcraft.co.in

  • Gopal August 13, 2009, 9:13 am

    If I do vivek@cyberciti.com vivek@cyberciti.com, vivek@nixcraft.co.in, the vivek@nixcraft.co.in gets two copies of mail for every mail sent to vivek@cyberciti.com

  • Mohammad Mateen October 30, 2009, 8:46 pm

    How i can get this functionality ?
    Directory: /home/logmon Shell: /bin/bash
    Never logged in.
    Mail forwarded to “|/usr/local/bin/logmon.sh”
    No mail.
    No Plan.

    Plz help

  • Mohammad Mateen October 30, 2009, 8:47 pm

    In simple words i want to forward a shell user email to some script

  • abi June 1, 2010, 5:38 am


    I have added the lines as per said and is working fine. Now i want remove the forwarding, so i removed the added lines and restarted the postfix. But still the script is running. can u tell a solution to fix it?

    • Anatoliy September 8, 2010, 11:48 am

      Possible you forget about

      postmap /etc/postfix/virtual

      after changes to the virtual config

  • David September 21, 2011, 2:02 pm

    I found a link with plenty of information on how to setup email forwarding on Ubuntu

    Forward All incoming email to single address

  • William October 14, 2011, 10:41 pm

    Muchas Gracias!

    Even though it is old, it worked perfectly for me – tip if you never used postfix: set the mailname to something useful or google will reject the emails.


    • Frank June 19, 2013, 3:59 pm

      can you specify this? How to set mailname?
      I found gmail is rejecting the forwarded email.

  • Manuel December 22, 2011, 10:18 am


    how can u configure postfix to send EVERY E-Mail to exactly ONE User on your machine?

    for example:

    I create a user “mailarchiv”.

    Every mail which goes to the Server “mail-05” should be saved in the Mailbox of “mailarchiv”.

    Can u give me a hint?

  • A little help September 15, 2012, 3:41 am

    Here’s a little extra info that might help someone. I was going nuts looking for a way to forward any number of aliases to a single user based on regex. It’s similar to what this faq suggests and very easy, and it can be used for local and remote fowarding. Here’s the whole thing:

    1) Add a user (this will be your catch-all): useradd tiger

    2) Open your postfix config: vi /etc/postfix/main.cf

    3) Add the following to the bottom of the file:

    4) Create the virtual_config path: mkdir /etc/postfix/virtual_config

    5) Open the alias domains file: vi /etc/postfix/virtual_config/virtual_alias_domains

    6) Add all domains for which you wish to allow relays/forwarding to virtual_alias_domains file. Add one domain per line. For example, /etc/postfix/virtual_config/virtual_alias_domains:

    7) Open your alias maps file: vi /etc/postfix/virtual_config/virtual_alias_maps

    8) Add in your regex aliasing:

    9) Restart postfix (note: reload doesn’t always do what you want. Just restart): service postfix restart

    After that, all mail sent to your server and addressed to troy@example.com or troy@anything.com will be forwarded to the user tiger on the local machine AND to me@gmail.com

    I hope that saves someone some looking.

  • KV November 17, 2012, 4:11 pm

    How can i forward from subdomain to main domian.

    Ex: all email from subdomain @mail.maindomain.com to mail@maindomain.com


  • tony May 8, 2013, 3:06 pm

    I did this, precisely as described, and now all mail to my server is rejected.

    cat /etc/postfix/virtual
    tony@tonybaldwin.org tony@tonybaldwin.info
    tony@tonybaldwin.me tony@tonybaldwin.info
    tony@tonyb.us tony@tonybaldwin.info

    can’t get mail to any of the .org, .me, or .us, and can’t even get mail to the .info address.
    All of these addresses were working before I did this.
    Clearly, I want to send them all to one address, the .info address,
    but now nothing gets through at all.
    This is on Debian Squeeze, if relevant.

    • tony May 8, 2013, 3:17 pm

      Also, blanking the virtual file and restarting postfix doesn’t put it back to working properly, either.
      Following your instructions has hosed my mail server completely.
      The e-mail addresses mentioned above are all in the mail db (mysql).
      You do not mention whether this is relevant or not.
      I was using them all as distinct mail address, and they were working, and I want to forward them all to one, now.
      But if I can’t do that, at the very least, I’d like them to work as they before.
      Currently none of them are working.

      • tony May 8, 2013, 3:27 pm

        well, I seem to have got it working as it was again.
        I had to empty the /etc/postfix/virtual,
        remove the virtual_alias_domains line in my main.cnf
        I ran sudo newaliases
        and reloaded postfix
        and it’s back to the previous “normal” state.
        Clearly I’ll have to seek how to forward my mail properly elsewhere.

  • Jeroen January 18, 2014, 2:16 pm

    thank you for this nice tutorial. I have been able to set up postfix, but the mails don’t go through.
    I have made a catch all for my domain myvps.be to my email address. I am trying to send mails to smurf@myvps.be but they don’t appear in my mailbox.

    This is the log I get when I send a mail: http://pastebin.com/raw.php?i=qQbKx2UL
    I have replaced my own email address with ***MYMAIL*** for security reasons.

  • Eduardo Mozart de Oliveira February 24, 2014, 9:32 pm

    There is really useful comments here and the post was amazing, thanks!
    If you followed the post, but still are not receiving e-mails, there is 2 things to check:

    Try running “postconf -n” in the terminal and check for both options that you set in main.cf (virtual_alias_domains and virtual_alias_maps)

    I checked that and it was still ok. But redirecting was not working.

    So, reading the postfix log (/var/log/mail.info) i see a warning:
    do not set mydestination and virtual_alias_domains the same. So, I edited mydestination and removed the domain and now it works.

    mydestination = smtp.transjosp.com.br, transjosp.com.br

    mydestination = smtp.transjosp.com.br

    • Eduardo Mozart de Oliveira February 24, 2014, 9:34 pm

      Just another note:
      In /etc/postfix/virtual file, separate e-mails by space (not tabs).
      test@test.com test@gmail.com

  • Arthur November 6, 2014, 12:56 pm

    how do i now disable the forwading of mails from my domain(@snl.com) to another (@yahoo.com)domain? I activated it, now i no longer want to receive the mails in my yahoo account…

  • Alex March 29, 2016, 7:36 pm

    Warning! I have encountered that with a default postfix configuration this will open your server for SPAM as it allows log in via unauthenticated locations. Dear author, please add a line on smtp restrictions!

    I have disabled SASL as it seems to be unneeded for forwarding only and disable the unauthenticated destinations for now as a first step.

    default main.cf:
    smtpd_relay_restrictions = permit_mynetworks permit_sasl_authenticated defer_unauth_destination

    Mar 29 19:23:10 planetsofa postfix/smtpd[11118]: warning: hostname does not resolve to address Name or service not known
    Mar 29 19:23:10 planetsofa postfix/smtpd[11118]: connect from unknown[]
    Mar 29 19:23:10 planetsofa postfix/smtpd[11118]: 5F14113E0005: client=unknown[]
    Mar 29 19:23:10 planetsofa postfix/cleanup[11122]: 5F14113E0005: message-id=

  • Rakesh April 7, 2016, 4:46 pm

    i have configured mail server on two machine , machine-1 installed squirrelmail GUI and machine-2 is my server( postfix ,dovecot..etc) ,machine-1 is on public ip but machine-2 is on private ip because machine-2 have all user and mailbox to recive mail for security purpose, i am able to send mail but not receive mail, but if i am using only one machine then I’m successfully send and Receive mail , but my task is to setup mail server on 2 machine, so where is problem please reply me soon?

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