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A script to automate most tasks associated with OpenDKIM key rotation.


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OpenDKIM Manager

A script to automate most tasks associated with OpenDKIM key rotation.


  • Written by Jason C. McDonald (@CodeMouse92) for MousePaw Media.
  • Perl code written by Kerin Millar (@kerframil).
  • Additional feedback by Dorian Harmans (@woohooyeah).


System Requirements

OpenDKIM is designed to work in the Linux BASH (not SH) with minimal dependencies. It works with OpenDKIM, and therefore depends on that being installed on the system. The script also uses Perl for one regex-replacement task.


We recommend that the dkim_manage file be placed in a dedicated scripts folder, such as /opt/scripts/root_scripts. Place dkim_manage into the directory in question, and then change its owner and permissions:

$ chown root:root dkim_manage
$ chmod +x dkim_manage

Next, create a new file in that same folder called domains.conf. (See our example in domains.conf.example). In that file, list each of the domains that OpenDKIM is signing for, one per line. For example...

Save and close. Now, edit dkim_manage, and look for the following section. Edit each of the variables so it points to the correct paths. **At minimum, you should change CONFIG to point to the domains.conf we just created. If you aren't sure about the others, the defaults are probably correct, but we recommend double-checking.


# Set the path to the configuration file for this script.

# Temporary directory for generating keys.

# The folder where OpenDKIM's keys are stored.

# The path to your OpenDKIM keytable.

# The user for OpenDKIM, used for setting permissions on keys.


Save and close the file.

For convenience, you may consider adding the directory where dkim_manage lives to your system path.

Using OpenDKIM Manager

(This guide assumes that the folder where dkim_manage resides exists in your system path.)

There are four steps to rotating your OpenDKIM keys. Be sure to follow each carefully, as it is possible to mess up your OpenDKIM configuration or keys with improper use of this script.

This script MUST be run as root!

Step 1: Generate New Keys

Be sure your domain.conf file is correct (see Setup above). Then, run...

$ sudo dkim_manage -g generate the new keys. These will be living in the temporary directory specified at the top of the script file (/var/dkim_manage by default), and OpenDKIM is not yet configured to use them.

Step 2: Update DNS Records

To get the DNS records you need for your new OpenDKIM keys, run...

$ sudo dkim_manage -d

This will display the new DNS record for each domain's key. Add these to your DNS TXT records, but leave the old records in place for now, just in case something goes wrong. The displayed block of text is the value of the record, while the record's name should be YYYYMM._domainkey, where YYYY is the current year, and MM is the current month. For example, in January 2017, the record name would be 201701._domainkey.

After updating your DNS records, you'll need to wait until the changes propegate publicly before continuing.

Step 3: Testing the Keys

Once the DNS changes have propegated, you can ensure the new keys work using...

$ sudo dkim_manage -t

Be sure ALL of the keys pass the test before continuing.

Step 4: Deploy The Keys

WARNING: Make sure you have carefully followed all the steps above before doing this! Moving the new keys into place will completely and irreversably replace your old ones. Back up the old keys if you're paranoid.

The last stage is to actually move the new keys into place. This involves moving them to the production directory (specified by PROD in the script variables), and to update the keytable (specified by KEYTABLE in the script variables). The key ownership will also be set (using the user and group specified by USER in the script variables).

$ sudo dkim_manage -m

If you're absolutely sure, press "y" and ENTER. After a moment, the keys will have been moved, permissions updated, keytable modified, and both OpenDKIM and Postfix restarted.

Planned Changes

  • Provide an option to allow dkim_manage -m to run in a cron job.
  • Automatically generate DNS TXT record names, as well as the values, on dkim_manage -d.
  • Allow displaying the DNS TXT records for the currently deployed keys.
  • Back up keys on dkim_manage -m to allow for undo.


If you experience any problems with this script, please file a bug report on the Github ( If you have any suggestions for improving this script, please submit a pull request.

Note about Automating DNS Changes

I hope to add DNS change automation to this project at some point. However, that varies from system-to-system, and I want dkim_manage itself to work on any Linux system (within reason) running OpenDKIM. Therefore, any scripts added to this project for automatically updating DNS should be kept separate from the main script.


A script to automate most tasks associated with OpenDKIM key rotation.







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