Dovecot is a mail server whose major goals are security and extreme reliability. It tries very hard to handle all error conditions and verify that all data is valid, making it nearly impossible to crash. It should also be pretty fast, extensible, and portable.
Dovecot can work with standard mbox, Maildir, and its own experimental native high-performance dbox formats. It is fully compatible with UW IMAP and Courier IMAP servers’ implementation of them, as well as mail clients accessing the mailboxes directly.
Dovecot also includes a Mail delivery agent (called Local delivery agent in Dovecot’s documentation), with optional Sieve filtering support.
Dovecot is among the highest performing IMAP servers while still supporting the standard mbox and Maildir formats. The mailboxes are transparently indexed, which gives Dovecot its good performance while still providing full compatibility with existing mailbox handling tools.
- Complete IMAP4rev1 and POP3 support.
- IPv6, SSL and TLS are supported.
- Supports multiple commonly used IMAP extensions, including SORT, THREAD and IDLE.
- Support for ACL files.
- Maildir++ quota is also supported.
- Standards compliant. Dovecot v1.1 passes all IMAP server standard compliancy tests while most other servers fail many of them.
- Self-optimizing indexes.
- Self-healing – tries to fix most of the problems it notices by itself, such as broken index files.
- Allows mailboxes and their indexes to be modified by multiple computers at the same time, while still performing well. This means that Dovecot works with NFS and clustered filesystems.
- User authentication is extremely flexible and feature rich, supporting many different authentication databases and mechanisms.
- Postfix 2.3+ and Exim 4.64+ users can do SMTP authentication directly against Dovecot’s authentication backend without having to configure it separately.
- Supports easy migration from many existing IMAP and POP3 servers, allowing the change to be transparent to existing users.
- Supports workarounds for several bugs in IMAP and POP3 clients.
- Design and implementation is highly focused on security.
- Easily extensible. Plugins can add new commands, modify existing behavior, add their own data into index files or even add support for new mailbox formats.
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