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Copyright (c) 2020-2023 Alan Hicks, Persistent Objects Ltd

Copyright (c) 2014-2019 Paul J Stevens, The Netherlands,

Copyright (c) 2004-2013 NFG Net Facilities Group BV

Copyright (c) 2000-2006 IC&S, The Netherlands

What is it?

DBMail is a collection of programs that enables email to be managed, stored in and retrieved from a database.

Why is it useful?

  • Securely and scaleably manages user emails with industry standard IMAP;

  • Integrates with existing authentication backends including ActiveDirectory and OpenLDAP;

  • DBMail is scalable including multiple terrabyte installations;

  • DBMail is flexible. You can run dbmail programs on different servers talking to the same database;

  • Email filtering is integrated into DBMail and managed using SIEVE;

  • An experimental Docker image is available;

  • High Availability thanks to database replication and Docker images;

  • Data safety thanks to database replication;

  • Secure connections thanks to TLS;

  • DBMail is database driven so no need of systemusers;

  • No need to maintain system users or write access to the filesystem;

  • DBMail is Free with a recognised GPL2 Open Source licence.

Who created it?

DBMail was originally created by IC&S in the Netherlands.

Around 2003, Paul Stevens at NFG also joined the development team, initially to provide debian packaging, later to take over development of the 2.1 release. Aaron Stone also deserves special thanks for initiating the LDAP driver, maintaining the delivery chain and of course sieve support.

DBMail is now a community effort to create a fast, effecient and scalable database driven mailingsystem. Both IC&S and NFG are fully behind opensource and the GPL. Therefore DBMail has the GPL licence.


Support is available by raising an issue at


For an architectural overview of DBMail and its components please visit:


Check the website for further DBMail plans.

What kind of licence is DBMail?

DBMail uses the GPL version 2 licence.

It's included in the COPYING file.

How do I install it?

DBMail is available on many Linux and BSD distributions.

There is also an experimental Docker image with instructions to configure compose.yaml at

Installation Procedure

Check README and INSTALL files and on for detailed information and HOWTOs including how to use the Docker image.

See also contrib, debian and docker on


There are various settings including database access, authentication and logging. Please see dbmail.conf or

Exim is a modern MTA and there is an example configure at


DBMail integrates with most MTAs. There are a number of examples on

Web frontends including SquirrelMail and Roundcube work well with IMAP using dbmail-imapd plus Roundcube and most desktop software has integration with email filtering via dbmail-sieved.



  • Download DBMail package
  • Install dependencies (some provided from your linux / BSD distribution and some (libzdb and/or libsieve) need to be compiled
  • ./configure
  • make
  • make install