Check that it's running
First check with ps that dovecot process is actually running. If it's not, you had an error in dovecot.conf and the error message was written to log. Go back to RunningDovecot and Logging if you can't find it.
Check that it's listening
Next check that Dovecot is listening for connections:
# telnet localhost 143 Trying 127.0.0.1... Connected to localhost. Escape character is '^]'. * OK Dovecot ready.
If you got "connection refused", check that imap is included in protocols setting in dovecot.conf. Also check that listen setting is *.
Next check that it also works from remote host:
# telnet your.host.org 143 Trying 18.104.22.168... Connected to your.host.org. Escape character is '^]'. * OK Dovecot ready.
If that didn't work, check all possible firewalls in between, and check that listen setting is * in dovecot.conf.
Note: If you've only got only protocols=imaps enabled, instead of telnet your.host.org 143 use openssl s_client -connect your.host.org:993. This additionally checks Dovecot is accessing certificates correctly.
Check that it's allowing logins
# telnet localhost 143 a login username password
Replace the username and password with the ones you added to passwd.dovecot in BasicConfiguration. Note that all IMAP commands begin with a tag, which is basically any string you want, but it must be there. So don't leave out the "a" in the above example. (For POP3, the commands are: USER username followed by PASS password. See RFC1939.)
You should get an "a OK Logged in." reply. If you get "Authentication failed" error, set auth_verbose = yes and auth_debug = yes in dovecot.conf, restart Dovecot and try again. The log file should now show enough information to help you fix the problem.
Check that it's allowing remote logins
You'll need to try this from another computer, since all local IPs are treated as secure:
# telnet your.host.org 143 a login username password
If the connection is hanging instead of giving * Dovecot ready, you have a firewall that's preventing the connections.
Otherwise, the only difference here compared to step above is that you might get:
* BAD [ALERT] Plaintext authentication is disabled, but your client sent password in plaintext anyway. If anyone was listening, the password was exposed. a NO Plaintext authentication disabled.
If this is the case, you didn't set disable_plaintext_auth = no. You could alternatively use OpenSSL to test that the server works with SSL:
Test using imaps port, requires configuring with protocols = imaps: (assuming you've already set Dovecot up with protocol = imaps):
# openssl s_client -connect your.host.org:993 * OK Dovecot ready.
Test using imap port and STARTTLS command, doesn't require protocols = imaps:
# openssl s_client -connect your.host.org:143 -starttls imap * OK Dovecot ready.
Check that it finds INBOX
After logging in, check that the INBOX is found:
b select inbox * FLAGS (\Answered \Flagged \Deleted \Seen \Draft) * OK [PERMANENTFLAGS (\Answered \Flagged \Deleted \Seen \Draft \*)] Flags permitted. * 1 EXISTS * 1 RECENT * OK [UIDVALIDITY 1106186941] UIDs valid * OK [UIDNEXT 2] Predicted next UID b OK [READ-WRITE] Select completed.
It should contain the mail that you sent to yourself in FindMailLocation step.
If anything goes wrong, set mail_debug = yes and try again. The log file should now contain debugging information of where Dovecot is trying to find the mails. Fix mail_location setting and try again.
Check that it finds other mailboxes
If you already have other mailboxes created, you can check that Dovecot finds them:
c list "" * * LIST (\NoInferiors) "/" "test" * LIST (\NoInferiors) "/" "INBOX" c OK List completed.
If they weren't found, set mail_debug = yes and look at the debugging information. Fix mail_location setting and try again.
Check that real mail clients work
Since mail clients can be configured in various ways, please check first if the problem is with Dovecot configuration or with the client's configuration. You can rule out it being Dovecot's problem with the "telnet" methods described above.
If you can't log in,
- Make sure SSL/TLS settings are correct.
- Make sure the client uses plaintext authentication method, unless you've specifically configured Dovecot to accept others.
If you can see only INBOX,
- Clear out any "IMAP namespace prefix" or similar settings from clients.
- Check if client is configured to show only "subscribed mailboxes". If so, you'll have to subscribe to the mailboxes you wish to see.
Most IMAP clients have been tested with Dovecot and they work.