Posts Tagged ‘Kerberos’

Integrate Dovecot IMAP with (Free)IPA using Kerberos SSO

Sunday, February 19th, 2017

Dovecot can make use of Kerberos authentication and enjoying Single-Sign-On when checking emails via IMAP. This post shows you how you enable this feature. With IPA its rather simple to do so.

First enroll your mail server to the IPA domain with ipa-client-install as described in various previously posted articles.

Creating a Kerberos Service Priciple

Ensure you have a Kerberos ticket as admin user

ipa1:~# kinit admin
Password for admin@EXAMPLE.COM: 
ipa1:~# ipa service-add imap/
Added service "imap/"
  Principal name: imap/
  Principal alias: imap/
  Managed by:

Fetch and install the Kerberos Keytab for Dovecot

Log in to your mailserver and get a Kerberos ticket as well:

mail:~# kinit admin
Password for admin@EXAMPLE.COM: 

Fetch the Keytab:

mail:~# ipa-getkeytab -s -p imap/ -k /etc/dovecot/dovecot-krb5.keytab
Keytab successfully retrieved and stored in: /etc/dovecot/dovecot-krb5.keytab

A common mistake is to have the wrong ownership and access rights on the keytab file.

mail:~# chown dovecot:dovecot /etc/dovecot/dovecot-krb5.keytab
mail:~# chmod 600 /etc/dovecot/dovecot-krb5.keytab

Edit the following lines in /etc/dovecot/conf.d/10-auth.conf

auth_krb5_keytab = /etc/dovecot/dovecot-krb5.keytab
auth_mechanisms = plain gssapi login
auth_gssapi_hostname =
auth_realms = EXAMPLE.COM
auth_default_realm = EXAMPLE.COM

A note about auth_mechanisms: Usually you dont want to use Kerberos only authentication but plain (over TLS/SSL) as well.


In /var/log/maillog check if you see messages similar to this:

Feb 19 11:43:25 mail dovecot: imap-login: Login: user=, method=GSSAPI, rip=, lip=, mpid=5195, TLS, session=<asdfasdfasdf>

How about LDAP?

Since identity lookup is done with sssd, LDAP integration is not needed in such a case, there is not benefit using LDAP.