This documentation is for Dovecot v1.x, see wiki2 for v2.x documentation.


Migration to Dovecot

When migrating from one IMAP server to another, you should make sure that these are preserved:

Here's the more server-specific instructions:


By default UW-IMAP allows access to whole home directory, and many people have chosen to store their mails in mail/ directory. This usually means that IMAP clients have set "IMAP namespace" to "mail/", which doesn't work well with Dovecot, as Dovecot by default uses mail/ directory directly. So if IMAP namespace is kept as "mail/", Dovecot would try to access "~/mail/mail/" directory.

So, removing the prefix from IMAP clients would be the first step. Next problem is that subscribed mailboxes are listed as "mail/box" or "~/mail/box" or "~user/mail/box" in subscriptions file. You'd have to remove the mail/ directory part from all of these. The subscriptions file name is also different, UW-IMAP uses .mailboxlist while Dovecot uses .subscriptions.

Dovecot uses UW-IMAP compatible UID and message flag headers in mboxes, so that's not a problem.


default_mail_env = mbox:~/mail:INBOX=/var/mail/%u
# make sure mbox_locks are the same with all software that accesses your mboxes
mbox_locks = dotlock fcntl

If you want to make a transparent migration to Dovecot without having to change the configuration on hundreds of client systems, you will need a slightly different configuration.


Dovecot generates POP3 UIDs differently than UW-IMAP. You most likely want to preserve them, so currently you'll have to [ patch Dovecot].


Courier by default uses "INBOX." as private IMAP namespace, so it has exactly the same problems as described with UW-IMAP above.


default_mail_env = maildir:~/Maildir


See [ cyrus2courier], it's Dovecot-compatible. Also mirrored at [].