Archive for the ‘Exim’ Category

How to check version of most used mail servers Postfix / Qmail / Exim / Sendmail

Wednesday, October 14th, 2020

How to check version of a Linux host's installed Mail server?

Most used mail servers Postfix / Qmail / Exim / Sendmail and usually you have to do a dpkg -l / rpm -qa or whatever package manager to get the package version. But sometimes the package is built to have a different naming convention from the actual installed MTA.

As recently I had to check on a Linux host what kind of version was the installed and used one to the SMTP, below is how to find conrete versions of Postfix / Qmail / Exim / Sendmail.
If none of the 4 is installed and something more cryptic like ssmtp is installed if another one is installed perhaps the best way would be to check with lsof -i :25 command and see  what process has binded and listens on TCP port 25.




1. How to check Postfix exact mail server version


Once you can find Postfix is the Network listening MTA, you might think you can simply use postfix -v however, but no …
Unlike many other applications, Postfix has no -v or –versions switch. But you can get the version information easily by using the postconf command as shown below:

root@server :~# postconf mail_version


Other approach is to dump all postfix configuration settings (this is useful to get more info on how postfix is configured) and explicitly grep for the version.
 How to check version of a Linux host's installeded webserver?

root@server :~# postconf -d | grep mail_version


2. How to check Exim MTA running version ?

root@exim-mail :/ # exim -bV
Exim version 4.72 #1 built 13-Jul-2010 21:54:55
Copyright (c) University of Cambridge, 1995 – 2007
Berkeley DB: Sleepycat Software: Berkeley DB 4.3.29: (September 19, 2009)
Support for: crypteq iconv() Perl OpenSSL move_frozen_messages Content_Scanning DKIM Old_Demime
Lookups: lsearch wildlsearch nwildlsearch iplsearch cdb dbm dbmnz
Authenticators: cram_md5 plaintext spa
Routers: accept dnslookup ipliteral manualroute queryprogram redirect
Transports: appendfile/maildir/mailstore/mbx autoreply lmtp pipe smtp
Size of off_t: 8
OpenSSL compile-time version: OpenSSL 0.9.8e-fips-rhel5 01 Jul 2008
OpenSSL runtime version: OpenSSL 0.9.8e-fips-rhel5 01 Jul 2008
Configuration file is /etc/exim.conf


3. How to check Sendmail Mail Transport Agent exact Mail version ?

Though sendmail is rarely used this days and it usually works mostly on obsolete old scrap hosts
or in some old fashioned conservative organizations such as Banks and Payment services providers, you might need to invertise it, just like the configuration m4 format complexity with its annoying macros, getting the version is also not straight forward:

# sendmail -d0.4 -bv root | grep Version
Version 8.14.4

Above commands should be working on most Linux distributions such as Debian / Ubuntu / Fedora / CentOS / SuSE and other Linux derivatives

4. How to check Qmail MTA version?

This is a bit of complicated question, as Qmail's base has not been significantly changed for years.
The latest published qmail package is qmail-1.03.tar.gz.  1.03 was released in 1998, Qmail is famous for its unbreakable security. The author of qmail  Daniel J. Bernstein is famous for writting Qmail to make the work installation and configuration of SMTP simple as of the time of writting sendmail was the defacto standard and sendmail was hard to configure.
Also sendmail was famous for a set of Security holes that got a lot of Sendmail MTA's on the Net got hacked. Thus the QMAIL was written as a more security-aware mail transport agent.

In contrast to sendmail, qmail has a modular architecture composed of mutually untrusting components; for instance, the SMTP listener component of qmail runs with different credentials from the queue manager or the SMTP sender. qmail was also implemented with a security-aware replacement to the C standard library, and as a result has not been vulnerable to stack and heap overflows, format string attacks, or temporary file race conditions.

The core qmail package has not been updated for many years. New features were initially provided by third party patches, from which the most important at the time were brought together in a single meta-patch set called netqmail.

The current version of netqmail is at 1.06 netqmail-1.06.tar.gz as of year 2020.

One possible way to get some info about installed qmail or components is to use the documentation look up command apropos

qmail:~# apropos qmail

or check the manual or at worst check for the installation source files that the person that installed the qmail used 🙂

A fun fact about qmail few might know is D. Bernstein offered in 1997 a US$500 reward for the first person to publish a verifiable security hole in the latest version of the software, for many years till 2005 no hole was found security researcher Georgi Guninski found an integer overflow in qmail. On 64-bit platforms, in default configurations with sufficient virtual memory, the delivery of huge amounts of data to certain qmail components may allow remote code execution. Bernstein disputes that this is a practical attack, arguing that no real-world deployment of qmail would be susceptible. Configuration of resource limits for qmail components mitigates the vulnerability.

On November 1, 2007, Bernstein raised the reward to US$1000. At a slide presentation the following day, Bernstein stated that there were 4 "known bugs" in the ten-year-old qmail-1.03, none of which were "security holes." He characterized the bug found by Guninski as a "potential overflow of an unchecked counter." "Fortunately, counter growth was limited by memory and thus by configuration, but this was pure luck.

5. Quick way to check the type of Mail server installed on Debian based Linux that doesn't have telnet installed

As you know simple telnet localhost 25 or a simple ps -ef could reveal at most times general information on the installed server. However there is another way to do it using package manager. by using embedded bash shell type type command like so:

# type -p sendmail |
xargs dpkg -S


Another hacky way to check whether exim, postfix or sendmail SMTP is installed is with:

hipo@freak:~$ echo $(man sendmail)| grep "exim"|wc -l
hipo@freak:~$ echo $(man sendmail)| grep "postfix"|wc -l
hipo@freak:~$ echo $(man sendmail)| grep "sendmail"|wc -l

I guess there are nice hacks and ways to get versions, so if you're aware of any please share with me.
Enjoy !

How to list and delete mail queue on Qmail / Sendmail / Postfix and Exim SMTP server

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013

How to list and manage delete Qmail Postfix Sendmail Exim mail SMTP queue View-and delete manage Linux and FreeBSD mail server queue

I have to administrate different kind of mail servers. Different clients has different requirements so in daily job I had to take care for all major mail server platforms our there. Often I have to fix problems with mail servers one very useful thing is to check the mail server queue to see what is there holding to be delivered. Often problems with busy mail servers are rooted in overfilled queues with undelivered mails so checking the queue on Postfix / Exim / Sendmail and Qmail is among the first thing to do to diagnose a problem with improperly working SMTP. In this little article I will show how one can check what is in the queue even if he didn't have the technical background on how each of those mail delivery agents works.

1. How to check and manage queue of Qmail Mail Server

Essential info on how many messages are in the queue and to list this messages in Qmail are done with qmail-qstat and qmail-qread.

a) Checking how many messages are in Qmail queue undelivered to remote SMTPs

root@mail:~# qmail-qstat
messages in queue: 1
messages in queue but not yet preprocessed: 0

b) Listing undelivered e-mails held in Qmail queue

root@mail:~# qmail-qread
26 Mar 2013 01:33:07 GMT  #9609259  748  <>

One other useful command in dealing with Qmail queue is qmail-qread type it and see for yourself what it does.
c) Flushing qmail queue

Use a tiny shell script ( ), deleting all files in /var/qmail/queue/mess – directory where qmail stores undelivered messages in queue.

# ./

Though above script should be working in some cases, where there are permission problems with Queue or some other mess it is better to use more sophisticated Qmail Queue cleaining tool Qmail MailRemove. To use its necessary to have a working version of Python programming language. Once downloaded Qmail MailRemove, mkdir  /var/qmail/queue/filter (a directory needed for MailRemove to work). Then run script

# ./ email_to_remove

Other variant to clean messed qmail queue is to use qmailHandle.

2. How to check and delete mails from queue in Postfix SMTP

On postfix queue is checked using both postqueue command which is postfix's specific tool for viewing the queue or the standard sendmail mailq. mailq is actually – Postfix to sendmail compitability interface, i.e. this command is not the native way to view queue in Postfix but is just a wrapper binary which invokes postqueue with an option to visualize what is in queue for SMTP admins accustomed to work with sendmail.

a) Checking list of undelivered e-mails

Below is an examples:

mail:~# mailq

-Queue ID- –Size– —-Arrival Time—- -Sender/Recipient——-
4A22BBE1A3*     657 Mon Apr  1 18:46:01

25824BE18B*     660 Thu Mar 28 18:15:03

D2AA7BE1BF      652 Sun Mar 31 04:30:21
(host[] refused to talk to me: 421 Too many concurrent SMTP connections; please try again later.)

mail:~# postfix -p
-Queue ID- –Size– —-Arrival Time—- -Sender/Recipient——-
36911BE18D*     662 Mon Mar 25 11:08:01

C2439BE207*     662 Fri Mar 22 14:59:45

4A22BBE1A3*     657 Mon Apr  1 18:46:01

b) Checking the  number of undelivered mails living in Postfix queue

postfix:~#  postqueue -p|wc -l

c) Viewing content of specific mail held in Postfix queue

Whether you need to check content of specific undelivered mail kept in queue you should do it by its ID, to view last mail from earlier postfix -p example:

postfix:~# postcat -q 4A22BBE1A3

*** ENVELOPE RECORDS deferred/A/4A22BBE1A3 ***
message_size:             656             187               1               0             656
message_arrival_time: Tue Apr  2 14:25:34 2013
create_time: Tue Apr  2 14:25:35 2013
named_attribute: rewrite_context=local
sender_fullname: www-data
*** MESSAGE CONTENTS deferred/A/4A22BBE1A3 ***
Received: by postfix (Postfix, from userid 33)
        id AA379BE07A; Tue,  2 Apr 2013 14:25:34 +0100 (BST)
Subject: =?UTF8?B?QWNjb3VudCBpbmZvcm1hdGlvbiBmb3IgU09DQ0VSRkFNRQ==?=
X-PHP-Originating-Script: 1000:register_login_functions.php
Content-type:text/plain; charset=UTF8
Message-Id: <>
Date: Tue,  2 Apr 2013 14:25:34 +0100 (BST)

Please keep that email. It contains your username and password for postfix.
nick : hawtiene
pass : 1v7Upjw3nT

*** HEADER EXTRACTED deferred/A/4A22BBE1A3 ***
*** MESSAGE FILE END deferred/A/4A22BBE1A3 ***

d) Deleting mails in Postfix queue

To delete all mails in Postfix queue run:

postfix:~# postsuper -d ALL

If Postfix cannot deliver a message to a recipient it is placed in the deferred queue.  The queue manager will scan the deferred queue to see it if can place mail back into the active queue.  How often this scan occurs is determined by the queue_run_delay.
The queue_run_delay is by default 300s or 300 seconds. If you have a very busy mail server you may see a large deferred queue.
To delete all mails in deferred queue.

postfix:~# postsuper -d ALL deferred

3. How to check mail queue of Exim mail server

Viewing number of messages and list of undelivered messages in Exim queue is done using exim command by specifying arguments.

a) Checking the list of undelivered mails kept undelivered in Exim SMTP Queue


root@iqtestfb:/etc/exim4# exim -bp

4d 416 1UI1fS-00021I-1s <root@ETC_MAILNAME> *** frozen *** 4d 746 1UI1gc-00023T-0S <root@ETC_MAILNAME> *** frozen *** root@ETC_MAILNAME 4d 752 1UI1lR-0003H0-89 <root@ETC_MAILNAME> *** frozen *** root@ETC_MAILNAME 4d 894 1UI1lR-0003H5-I6 <www-data@ETC_MAILNAME> *** frozen *** www-data@ETC_MAILNAME

b) Counting number of Exim undelivered messages kept in Mail Queue
exim-smtp:/etc/exim4# exim -bpc 2063 c) Getting a summary of all messages in Exim Queue (Count, Volume, Oldest, Newest, Destination Domain)
exim-smtp:/etc/exim4# exim -bp| exiqsumm

Count Volume Oldest Newest Domain —– —— —— —— —— 1 862 22h 22h 2 1751 12h 5h 21 3111KB 4d 3h 2 766KB 42h 7h 1 383KB 7h 7h 1 383KB 4d 4d 1 383KB 3d 3d 2 766KB 20h 19h 1685 3291KB 4d 1m etc_mailname 1 383KB 70h 70h 1 383KB 66h 66h gaaa 81 22MB 4d 15m 1 564 3d 3d 1 383KB 3d 3d 1 383KB 64h 64h 33 10MB 4d 2h 25 9193KB 4d 79m 1 383KB 4d 4d hotmailcom 2 1128 24h 20h 2 766KB 67h 67h 11 3831KB 3d 7h 1 383KB 20h 20h 3 767KB 37h 3h 6 1916KB 67h 45h 1 552 28h 28h 1 383KB 67h 67h 1 383KB 67h 67h 1 383KB 33m 33m 2 389KB 56h 4h 1 383KB 66h 66h 1 383KB 39h 39h 1 562 7h 7h 1 383KB 4d 4d 2 1116 49h 47h 1 383KB 28h 28h 1 383KB 3d 3d 75 31KB 4d 3d 1 572 3d 3d 1 383KB 71h 71h 1 383KB 28h 28h 1 383KB 14m 14m 36 11KB 4d 3d 1 557 53h 53h 1 383KB 23h 23h 1 383KB 4d 4d 2 766KB 67h 44h 1 383KB 42h 42h 1 549 3d 3d yahoo 43 9213KB 4d 74m 2 766KB 70h 46h 1 383KB 71h 71h ————————————————————— 2068 76MB 4d 1m TOTAL


c)  List Exim queued messages sorted by recipient address and sender address

  To list e-mails in queue sorted by recipient address

exim-smtp:/etc/exim4# exim -bpr|grep -Eo "^\s*[^ ]*@[^ ]*$" |sort | uniq -c

To List queued messages grouped by address of sender
exim-smtp:/etc/exim4# exim -bpr | grep -Eo "<[^ ]*@[^ ]*>" | sort | uniq -c  

d) Forcing Exim  to attempt re-send e-mails kept inside

As Exim is relatively new SMTP its authors thought deeply before writting it and included options to do queue e-mail sent whether server is not under extremely high loads as well as send, regardless of load. Make Exim start sending queue e-mails if server is not overloaded (no extra-high server load)
exim-smtp:/etc/exim4# exim -q -v

  To make Exim force a queue run regardless of system load exim-smtp:/etc/exim4# exim -qf -v  

To make Exim deliver only e-mails sent from server to server (usually e-mails from local server monitoring software and log reports)
exim-smtp:/etc/exim4# exim -ql -v

e) Deleting e-mails from Exim mail queue

To Remove a message from queue identify by ID

exim-smtp:/etc/exim4# exim -Mrm <message-id>     Force Exim delivery of a message regardless of Frozen status

exim-smtp:/etc/exim4# exim -M<message-id >  

f) Removing Exim mails older than certain seconds or hours To remove all mails older than 12hrs (43000 seconds) exim-smtp:~# exiqgrep -o 43000 -i | xargs exim -Mrm

Deleting all frozen mails from queue is done with:

exim-smtp:~# exiqgrep -z -i | xargs exim -Mrm  

Removing all e-mails belonging to particular sender

exim-smtp:~# exiqgrep -i -f | xargs exim -Mrm

  Removing all mails from a sender that are older than 12hrs

exim-smtp:~# exiqgrep -o 43000 -i -f | xargs exim -Mrm

g) Flushing Exim mail queue

exim-smtp:~# runq

exim-smtp:~# exim -q

4. How to view and manage sendmail SMTP queue

a) Listing all e-mails stored in Sendmail queue

To list the mail queue in sendmail

sendmail:~# sendmail -bp
/var/spool/mqueue is empty
        Total requests: 0


sendmail:~# mailq

/var/spool/mqueue (3 requests) —–Q-ID—– –Size– —–Q-Time—– ————Sender/Recipient———– m9TMLQHG012749 1103 Thu Oct 30 11:21 <apache@localhost.localdomain> (host map: lookup ( deferred) <> m9TMLRB9012751 37113 Thu Oct 30 11:21 <apache@localhost.localdomain> (host map: lookup ( deferred) <> m9TMLPcg012747 240451 Thu Oct 30 11:21 <apache@localhost.localdomain> (host map: lookup ( deferred) <> Total requests: 3

b) Checking queue for specific mail sender or recipient

sendmail:~# mailq | grep -i -A 2 -B 2

c) Removing all e-mails from Sendmail queue

To delete everything stored in Sendmail queue delete files from directory where sendmail stores still undelivered mails. In sendmail this is /var/spool/mqueue and /var/mqueue

sendmail:~# rm /var/spool/mqueue/*.*
sendmail:~# rm /var/mqueue/*.*

Deleting all pending mails from queue

To remove / delete e-mails originating from certain domain / user or recipient

sendmail:~# sendmail -qS -v

To delete e-mail from certain user or recipieint

sendmail:~# sendmail -qR -v


How to Fix E: Could not perform immediate configuration on ‘exim4-daemon-light’.

Saturday, March 23rd, 2013

If you get an error like:

E: Could not perform immediate configuration on 'exim4-daemon-light'. Please see man 5 apt.conf under APT::Immediate-Configure for details. (2)

During installing Exim with aptitude or apt-get, i.e. # apt-get install exim4-daemon-light


# aptitude install exim4-daemon-light

This is due to some kind of mess with other mail server packages (sendmail or postfix) previously installed on the host and some mess with mail servers installed on system, to solve it remove all SMTP server packages sendmail / postfix / exim and then after being sure all SMTP packages are purged from system from clean install Exim light SMTP variant: # apt-get update
# apt-get -f install
# apt-get --purge remove sendmail sendmail-bin
# dpkg --force-all -r postfix
# dpkg --purge exim4-base
# dpkg --purge exim4-config
# dpkg --purge exim4-daemon-light
# apt-get update
# apt-get -f install
# apt-get install exim4-base exim4-config exim4-daemon-light



How to change Exim mail server hostname on Debian Linux

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

If you have to configure Exim mail server to act as RELAY Forwarding SMTP through another mail server and nomatter, you set up in dpkg-reconfigure exim4-config command a hostname still connecting to localhost port 25 shows a hostname identical as configured hostname for server. You will have to explicitly instruct exim to desired hostname like so:

debian:~# cp -rpf /etc/exim4/exim4.conf.template /etc/exim4/exim4.conf

Then edit /etc/exim4/exim4.conf

Add somewhere in beginning of config file

primary_hostname = DESIRED_HOSTNAME.COM

To make exim load new settings, restart SMTP:

debian:~# /etc/init.d/exim4 restart

Stopping MTA for restart: exim4_listener.
Restarting MTA: exim4.

debian:~# telnet localhost 25
Connected to localhost.
Escape character is '^]'.
220 DESIRED_HOSTNAME.COM ESMTP Exim 4.72 Tue, 19 Mar 2013 19:02:52 +0000
telnet> quit
Connection closed.


How to configure Exim to relay mail to remote SMTP server on Debian and Ubuntu

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

I’m required to do some mail relaying on a Debian Linux host which should use a remote mail server to relay its mails.
Until so far I’ve had not much experience with exim as I prefer using qmail, whever a mail server is needed. However since now only a relaying was necessery and exim is the default installed MTA on Debian, I’ve decided to use exim to take care of the SMTP mail relaying.
After a bit of reading it happened configuring exim to relay via remote SMTP server is more than easy!

All I had to do is run the command:

debian-relay:~# dpkg-reconfigure exim4-config

Next in the Ncruses interface to appear:

Debian Exim relay smtp config screenshot

I had to choose the option:

mail sent by smarthost; no local mail

Next a dialog appears asking for:
System mail name:
Therein it’s necessery to type in the hostname of the remote SMTP to be used for mail relay.
Next dialog asks for:
IP-addresses to listen on for incoming SMTP connections:
and I left it with however if exim is supposed to be visible from external network one might decide to put in real IP address there.

Pressing OK leads to the next dialog:
 Other destinations for which mail is accepted: 
I decided to leave this blank as I don’t want to accept mail for any destinations.
Next pane reads:
Visible domain name for local users:
I’ve typed inside my smtp relay server e.g.:

Further comes:
IP address or host name of the outgoing smarthost:
There once again I typed my mail relay host

The next config screen is:
Keep number of DNS-queries minimal (Dial-on-Demand)?
On any modern Linux host the default answer of No is fine.
Following prompt asked if I want to:
Split configuration into small files?
I’ve decided not to tamper with it and choosed No
Afterwards mail relaying works like a charm thx God 😉