This page explains the variables found in
In most cases
mailu.env is setup correctly by the setup utility and can be left as-is.
However, some advanced settings or modifications can be done by modifying this file.
SECRET_KEY must be changed for every setup and set to a 16 bytes
randomly generated value. It is intended to secure authentication cookies
among other critical uses. This can be generated with a utility such as pwgen,
which can be installed on most Linux systems:
apt-get install pwgen pwgen 16 1
DOMAIN holds the main e-mail domain for the server. This email domain
is used for bounce emails, for generating the postmaster email and other
HOSTNAMES are all public hostnames for the mail server. Mailu supports
a mail server with multiple hostnames. The first declared hostname is the main
hostname and will be exposed over SMTP, IMAP, etc.
SUBNET defines the address range of the docker network used by Mailu.
This should not conflict with any networks to which your system is connected.
(Internal and external!). Normally this does not need to be changed,
unless there is a conflict with existing networks.
POSTMASTER is the local part of the postmaster email address. It is
recommended to setup a generic value and later configure a mail alias for that
WILDCARD_SENDERS setting is a comma delimited list of user email addresses
that are allowed to send emails from any existing address (spoofing the sender).
AUTH_RATELIMIT_IP (default: 5/hour) holds a security setting for fighting
attackers that attempt a password spraying attack. The value defines the limit of
authentication attempts that will be processed on distinct non-existing
accounts for a specific IP subnet as defined in
AUTH_RATELIMIT_IP_V4_MASK (default: /24) and
AUTH_RATELIMIT_IP_V6_MASK (default: /48).
AUTH_RATELIMIT_USER (default: 50/day) holds a security setting for fighting
attackers that attempt to guess a user’s password (typically using a password
brute-force attack). The value defines the limit of distinct authentication attempts
allowed for any given account within a specific time-frame. Multiple attempts for the
same account with the same password only counts for one.
AUTH_RATELIMIT_EXEMPTION_LENGTH (default: 86400) is the number of seconds
after a successful login for which a specific IP address is exempted from rate limits.
This ensures that users behind a NAT don’t get locked out when a single client is
misconfigured… but also potentially allow for users to attack each-other.
AUTH_RATELIMIT_EXEMPTION (default: ‘’) is a comma separated list of network
CIDRs that won’t be subject to any form of rate limiting. Specifying
there is a good way to disable rate limiting altogether.
TLS_FLAVOR sets how Mailu handles TLS connections. Setting this value to
notls will cause Mailu not to serve any web content! More on TLS certificates.
DEFAULT_SPAM_THRESHOLD (default: 80) is the default spam tolerance used when creating a new user.
MESSAGE_SIZE_LIMIT is the maximum size of a single email. It should not
be too low to avoid dropping legitimate emails and should not be too high to
avoid filling the disks with large junk emails.
MESSAGE_RATELIMIT (default: 200/day) is the maximum number of messages
a single user can send.
MESSAGE_RATELIMIT_EXEMPTION contains a comma delimited
list of user email addresses that are exempted from any restriction. Those
settings are meant to reduce outbound spam in case of compromised or malicious
account on the server.
RELAYNETS (default: unset) is a comma delimited list of network addresses
for which mail is relayed for with no authentication required. This should be
used with great care as misconfigurations may turn your Mailu instance into an
RELAYHOST is an optional address to use as a smarthost for all outgoing
mail in following format:
can be used when authentication is required.
By default postfix uses “opportunistic TLS” for outbound mail. This can be changed
secure. This setting is
highly recommended if you are using a relayhost that supports TLS but discouraged
DEFER_ON_TLS_ERROR (default: True) controls whether incomplete
policies (DANE without DNSSEC or “testing” MTA-STS policies) will be taken into
account and whether emails will be deferred if the additional checks enforced by
those policies fail.
Similarly by default nginx uses “opportunistic TLS” for inbound mail. This can be changed
True. Please note that this is forbidden for
internet facing hosts according to e.g. RFC 3207 , because this prevents MTAs without STARTTLS
support or e.g. mismatching TLS versions to deliver emails to Mailu.
SCAN_MACROS (default: True) setting controls whether Mailu will endeavor
to reject emails containing documents with malicious macros. Under the hood, it uses
mraptor from oletools to determine whether a macro is malicious or not.
FETCHMAIL_ENABLED is set to
True, the fetchmail functionality is enabled and
shown in the admin interface. The container itself still needs to be deployed manually.
FETCHMAIL_ENABLED defaults to
FETCHMAIL_DELAY is a delay (in seconds) for the fetchmail service to
go and fetch new email if available. Do not use too short delays if you do not
want to be blacklisted by external services, but not too long delays if you
want to receive your email in time.
RECIPIENT_DELIMITER is a list of characters used to delimit localpart
from a custom address part. For instance, if set to
+-, users can use
to deliver mail to
This is useful to provide external parties with different email addresses and
later classify incoming mail based on the custom part.
DMARC_RUF are DMARC protocol specific values. They hold
the localpart for DMARC rua and ruf email addresses.
FULL_TEXT_SEARCH variable (default: ‘en’) is a comma separated list of
language codes as defined on fts_languages. This feature can be disabled
(e.g. for performance reasons) by setting the variable to
You can set a global
DEFAULT_QUOTA to be used for mailboxes when the domain has
no specific quota configured.
WEB_ADMINcontains the path to the main admin interface
WEB_WEBMAILcontains the path to the Web email client.
WEB_APIcontains the path to the RESTful API.
WEBROOT_REDIRECTredirects all non-found queries to the set path. An empty
WEBROOT_REDIRECTvalue disables redirecting and enables classic behavior of a 404 result when not found. Alternatively,
WEBROOT_REDIRECTcan be set to
noneif you are using an Nginx override for
All four options need a leading slash (
/) to work.
WEBROOT_REDIRECThas to point to a valid path on the webserver. This means it cannot point to any services which are not enabled. For example, don’t point it to
WEBSITE are customization options for the panel menu
in the admin interface, while
SITENAME is a customization option for
every Web interface.
LOGO_BACKGROUNDsets a custom background colour for the brand logo in the top-left of the main admin interface. For a list of colour codes refer to this page of w3schools.
LOGO_URLsets a URL for a custom logo. This logo replaces the Mailu logo in the top-left of the main admin interface.
Admin account - automatic creation
For administrative tasks, an admin user account will be needed. You can create it manually, after deploying the system, or automatically. To create it manually, follow the specific deployment method documentation.
To have the account created automatically, you just need to define a few environment variables:
INITIAL_ADMIN_ACCOUNT: the admin username: The first part of the e-mail address before the @.
INITIAL_ADMIN_DOMAIN: the domain appendix: Most probably identical to the
INITIAL_ADMIN_PW: the admin password.
INITIAL_ADMIN_MODE: use one of the options below for configuring how the admin account must be created:
create: (default) creates a new admin account and raises an exception when it already exists.
ifmissing: creates a new admin account when the admin account does not exist.
update: creates a new admin account when it does not exist, or update the password of an existing admin account.
Note: It is recommended to set
INITIAL_ADMIN_MODE to either
ifmissing. Leaving it with the
default value will cause an error when the system is restarted.
INITIAL_ADMIN_ACCOUNT=me INITIAL_ADMIN_DOMAIN=example.net INITIAL_ADMIN_PW=password INITIAL_ADMIN_MODE=ifmissing
Depending on your particular deployment you most probably will want to change the default.
AUTH_REQUIRE_TOKENS (default: False) setting controls whether thick clients can authenticate using passwords or whether they are forced to use tokens/application specific passwords.
API_TOKEN (default: None) setting configures the authentication token.
This token must be passed as request header to the API as authentication token.
This is a mandatory setting for using the RESTful API.
CREDENTIAL_ROUNDS (default: 12) setting is the number of rounds used by the
password hashing scheme. The number of rounds can be reduced in case faster
authentication is needed or increased when additional protection is desired.
Keep in mind that this is a mitigation against offline attacks on password hashes,
aiming to prevent credential stuffing (due to password re-use) on other systems.
SESSION_COOKIE_SECURE (default: True) setting controls the secure flag on
the cookies of the administrative interface. It should only be turned off if you
intend to access it over plain HTTP.
SESSION_TIMEOUT (default: 3600) is the maximum amount of time in seconds between
requests before a session is invalidated.
PERMANENT_SESSION_LIFETIME (default: 108000)
is the maximum amount of time in seconds a session can be kept alive for if it hasn’t timed-out.
LOG_LEVEL setting is used by the python start-up scripts as a logging threshold.
Log messages equal or higher than this priority will be printed.
Can be one of: CRITICAL, ERROR, WARNING, INFO, DEBUG or NOTSET.
See the python docs for more information.
LETSENCRYPT_SHORTCHAIN (default: False) setting controls whether we send the
ISRG Root X1 certificate in TLS handshakes. This is required for android handsets older than 7.1.1
but slows down the performance of modern devices.
TLS_PERMISSIVE (default: true) setting controls whether ciphers and protocols offered on port 25 for STARTTLS are optimized for maximum compatibility. We strongly recommend that you do not change this setting on the basis that any encryption beats no encryption. If you are subject to compliance requirements and are not afraid of losing emails as a result of artificially reducing compatibility, set it to ‘false’. Keep in mind that servers that are running a software stack old enough to not be compatible with the current TLS requirements will either a) deliver in plaintext b) bounce emails c) silently drop emails; moreover, modern servers will benefit from various downgrade protections (DOWNGRD, RFC7507) making the security argument mostly a moot point.
COMPRESSION (default: unset) setting controls whether emails are stored compressed at rest on disk. Valid values are
zstd and additional settings can be configured via
COMPRESSION_LEVEL, see zlib_save_level for accepted values. If the underlying filesystem supports compression natively you should use it instead of this setting as it will be more efficient and will improve compatibility with 3rd party tools.
REAL_IP_HEADER (default: unset) and
REAL_IP_FROM (default: unset) settings
controls whether HTTP headers such as
X-Real-IP should be trusted.
The former should be the name of the HTTP header to extract the client IP address from and the
later a comma separated list of IP addresses designating which proxies to trust.
If you are using Mailu behind a reverse proxy, you should set both. Setting the former without
the latter introduces a security vulnerability allowing a potential attacker to spoof their source address.
TZ sets the timezone Mailu will use. The timezone naming convention usually uses a
Region/City format. See TZ database name for a list of valid timezones This defaults to
Etc/UTC. Warning: if you are observing different timestamps in your log files you should change your hosts timezone to UTC instead of changing TZ to your local timezone. Using UTC allows easy log correlation with remote MTAs.
PROXY_PROTOCOL (default: unset) allows the the front container to receive TCP and HTTP connections with
the PROXY protocol (originally introduced in HAProxy, now also configurable in other proxy servers).
It can be set to:
httpto accept the
PROXYprotocol on nginx’s HTTP proxy ports
PROXYprotocol on nginx’s mail proxy ports
allto accept the
PROXYprotocol on all nginx’s HTTP and mail proxy ports
This requires to have a valid
REAL_IP_FROM (default: unset). Setting
PROXY_PROTOCOL without setting
REAL_IP_FROM will not work. The
REAL_IP_HEADER must be unset. Otherwise Mailu will not accept
the IP address from the remote client specified by the proxy. This results in the proxy being rate limited
or even banned (when fail2ban is used).
Make sure to set a
REAL_IP_FROM only pointing to IP addresses or networks
that you trust; accepting the
PROXY protocol from untrusted sources is a serious security vulnerability,
allowing a potential attacker to spoof their source address.
ANTIVIRUS_ACTION switches behaviour if a virus is detected. It defaults to ‘discard’,
so any detected virus is silently discarded. If set to ‘reject’, rspamd is configured to reject
virus mails during SMTP dialogue, so the sender will receive a reject message.
Various environment variables
*_ADDRESS can be used to run Mailu containers
separately from a supported orchestrator. It is used by the various components
to find the location of the other containers it depends on. Those variables are:
These are used for DNS based service discovery with possibly changing services IP addresses.
*_ADDRESS values must be fully qualified domain names without port numbers.
Both the admin and roundcube services store their configurations in a SQLite database. Alternatives hosted options like PostgreSQL and MariaDB/MySQL can be configured using DB URL but the development team recommends against it. Indeed, there is currently very little data to be stored and SQLite is deemed both sufficient, simpler and more reliable overall.
sqlite:////data/main.db): the SQLAlchemy database URL for accessing the database
sqlite:////data/roundcube.db): the Roundcube database URL for accessing the Roundcube database
For PostgreSQL use driver postgresql (
For MariaDB/MySQL use driver mysql+mysqlconnector (
For Roundcube, refer to the roundcube documentation for the URL specification.
When using roundcube it is possible to select the plugins to be enabled by setting
a comma separated list of plugin-names. Included plugins are:
acl (needs configuration)
additional_message_headers (needs configuration)
show_additional_headers (needs configuration)
ROUNDCUBE_PLUGINS is not set the following plugins are enabled by default:
To disable all plugins just set
To configure a plugin add php files named
*.inc.php to roundcube’s override section.
Header authentication using an external proxy
PROXY_AUTH_WHITELIST (default: unset/disabled) option allows you to configure a comma separated list of CIDRs of proxies to trust for authentication. This list is separate from
REAL_IP_FROM and any entry in
PROXY_AUTH_WHITELIST should also appear in
PROXY_AUTH_HEADER (default: ‘X-Auth-Email’) to customize which HTTP header the email address of the user to authenticate as should be and
PROXY_AUTH_CREATE (default: False) to control whether non-existing accounts should be auto-created. Please note that Mailu doesn’t currently support creating new users for non-existing domains; you do need to create all the domains that may be used manually.
Once configured, any request to /sso/login with the correct headers will be authenticated unless the “noproxyauth” parameter is passed, in which case the “standard” login form will be displayed. Please check issues 1972 and 2692 for more details.
“/sso/login” results the user being redirected to the web administration interface after authentication.
WEB_ADMIN=/admin) results the user being redirected to the web administration interface after authentication.
WEB_WEBMAIL=/webmail) results the user being redirected to the web administration interface after authentication.
PROXY_AUTH_LOGOUT_URL (default: unset) to redirect users to a specific URL after they have been logged out.