In this tutorial you will learn about Installing SSL Certificate (Secure Server Certificate) to secure communication between Postfix SMTP server and mail client such as Outlook or Thunderbird.
You need to generate a CSR certificate for CA, to use with your Postfix mail server. This tutorial instuctions are tested under:
- Redhat enterprise Linux 5
- CentOS 5 Server
- FreeBSD 7 server
Procedure for creating a CSR on postfix MTA is just like web server. You need to use OpenSSL which is a cryptography toolkit implementing the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL v2/v3) and Transport Layer Security (TLS v1) network protocols and related cryptography standards under Linux / UNIX. To configure postfix SSL SMTP you need 3 files
- The private key generated using step #1
- Your .crt certificate file (it will be send by CA)
- CA certificate (also known as
Let us see how to create certificate for Postfix smtp server called smtp.theos.in.
Step # 1: Generating a CSR and private key for Postfix SMTP
Type the command to create a SSL CSR for a mail server called smtp.theos.in:
# mkdir /etc/postfix/ssl
# cd /etc/postfix/ssl
# openssl req -new -nodes -keyout smtp.theos.in.key -out smtp.theos.in.csr
Most important is Common Name, in our example it is set to smtp.theos.in. For the common name, you should enter the full mail server address of your site.
Generating a 1024 bit RSA private key ...........++++++ ........................++++++ writing new private key to 'smtp.theos.in.key' ----- You are about to be asked to enter information that will be incorporated into your certificate request. What you are about to enter is what is called a Distinguished Name or a DN. There are quite a few fields but you can leave some blank For some fields there will be a default value, If you enter '.', the field will be left blank. ----- Country Name (2 letter code) [AU]:IN State or Province Name (full name) [Some-State]:MHA Locality Name (eg, city) :Pune Organization Name (eg, company) [Internet Widgits Pty Ltd]:NIXCRAFT LTD Organizational Unit Name (eg, section) :ITDEPT Common Name (eg, YOUR name) :smtp.theos.in Email Address :email@example.com Please enter the following 'extra' attributes to be sent with your certificate request A challenge password :myPassword An optional company name :NIXCRAFT LTD
Step # 2: Submit CSR to CA
Now a CSR is generated. All you have to do is copy and paste the contents of the CSR file into the SSL certificate providers (aka CA) account. Never ever give out your private key or certificate to anyone. After verification you should receive a zip file with certificates.
Step # 3 : Install your SSL certificate
Unzip file and upload certificates to /etc/postfix/ssl directory.
Step # 4: Configure Postfix SMTP for SSL certificate
Open postfix smtp configuration file and append following directive:
smtpd_use_tls = yes
smtpd_tls_auth_only = yes
smtpd_tls_key_file = /etc/postfix/ssl/smtp.theos.in.key
smtpd_tls_cert_file = /etc/postfix/ssl/smtp.theos.in.crt
smtpd_tls_CAfile = /etc/postfix/ssl/caroot.crt
smtpd_tls_loglevel = 1
smtpd_tls_received_header = yes
smtpd_tls_session_cache_timeout = 3600s
tls_random_source = dev:/dev/urandom
Save and close the file. Restart or reload postfix service
# postfix reload.
# /etc/init.d/postfix restart
Note I have SASL configured as follows in main.cf:
smtpd_sasl_auth_enable = yes
smtpd_recipient_restrictions = permit_sasl_authenticated, reject_unauth_destination, permit_mynetworks check_relay_domains
smtpd_delay_reject = yes
broken_sasl_auth_clients = yes
Test Postfix TLS (SSL)
In order to test the TLS, just telnet smpt.theos.in on port 25 (you must see STARTTLS and AUTH lines):
$ telnet smpt.theos.in 25
Trying 126.96.36.199... Connected to smtp.theos.in. Escape character is '^]'. 220 smtp.theos.in ESMTP Postfix ehlo smtp.theos.in 250-smtp.theos.in 250-PIPELINING 250-SIZE 10240000 250-ETRN 250-STARTTLS 250-AUTH PLAIN LOGIN 250-AUTH=PLAIN LOGIN 250-ENHANCEDSTATUSCODES 250-8BITMIME 250 DSN
And mail log file…
# tail -f /var/log/maillog
Jul 12 14:25:10 smtp postfix/smtpd: connect from unknown[188.8.131.52] Jul 12 14:25:11 smtp postfix/smtpd: setting up TLS connection from unknown[184.108.40.206] Jul 12 14:25:11 smtp postfix/smtpd: TLS connection established from unknown[220.127.116.11]: TLSv1 with cipher DHE-RSA-AES256-SHA (256/256 bits) Jul 12 14:25:12 smtp postfix/smtpd: B3A0A9D8443: client=unknown[18.104.22.168], sasl_method=PLAIN, firstname.lastname@example.org Jul 12 14:25:13 smtp postfix/cleanup: B3A0A9D8443: message-id=<email@example.com> Jul 12 14:25:13 smtp postfix/qmgr: B3A0A9D8443: from=
, size=632, nrcpt=1 (queue active) Jul 12 14:25:14 smtp postfix/smtpd: disconnect from unknown[22.214.171.124] Jul 12 14:25:14 smtp postfix/smtp: B3A0A9D8443: to= , relay=aspmx.l.google.com[126.96.36.199]:25, delay=2.1, delays=1.5/0/0.13/0.49, dsn=2.0.0, status=sent (250 2.0.0 OK 1184268314 n29si21297786elf) Jul 12 14:25:14 smtp postfix/qmgr: B3A0A9D8443: removed
You can use same SSL security certificates with dovecot secure IMAPS / POP3S server.
If you just need self signed postfix SSL certificate please see this tutorial for more information.
Updated for accuracy.