How to install and Configure Postfix Mail Server on CentOS 8

Postfix is a free and opensource MTA (Mail Transfer Agent) used for routing or delivering emails on a Linux system. In this guide, you will learn how to install and configure Postfix on CentOS 8.


Lab set up:

  • OS :                  CentOS 8 server
  • IP Address :
  • Hostname: (Ensure the domain name is pointed to the server’s IP)

Step 1) Update the system

The first step is to ensure that the system packages are up to date. To do so, update the system as follows:

# dnf update

Before proceeding further, also ensure that no other MTAs such as Sendmail are existing as this will cause conflict with Postfix configuration. To remove Sendmail, for example, run the command:

# dnf remove sendmail

Step 2)  Set Hostname and update /etc/hosts file

Use below hostnamectl command to set the hostname on your system,

# hostnamectl set-hostname
# exec bash

Additionally, you need to add the system’s hostname and IP entries in the /etc/hosts file

# vim /etc/hosts

Save and exit the file.

Read Also How to Setup DNS Server (Bind) on CentOS 8 / RHEL8

Step 3) Install Postfix Mail Server

After verifying that no other MTA is running on the system install Postfix by executing the command:

# dnf install postfix


Step 4) Start and enable Postfix Service

Upon successful installation of Postfix, start and enable Postfix service by running:

# systemctl start postfix
# systemctl enable postfix

To check Postfix status, run the following systemctl command

# systemctl status postfix


Great, we have verified that Postfix is up and running. Next, we are going to configure Postfix to send emails locally to our server.

Step 5) Install mailx email client

Before configuring the Postfix server, we need to install mailx feature, To install mailx, run the command:

# dnf install mailx


Step 6)  Configure Postfix Mail Server

Postfix’s configuration file is located in /etc/postfix/ We need to make a few changes in the configuration file, so open it using your favorite text editor.

# vi /etc/postfix/

Make changes to the following lines:

myhostname =
mydomain =
myorigin = $mydomain
## Uncomment and Set inet_interfaces to all ##
inet_interfaces = all
## Change to all ##
inet_protocols = all
## Comment ##
#mydestination = $myhostname, localhost.$mydomain, localhost
##- Uncomment ##
mydestination = $myhostname, localhost.$mydomain, localhost, $mydomain
## Uncomment and add IP range ##
mynetworks =,
## Uncomment ##
home_mailbox = Maildir/

Once done, save and exit the configuration file. Restart postfix  service for the changes to take effect

# systemctl restart postfix

Step 7) Testing  Postfix Mail Server

Test whether our configuration is working, first, create a test user

# useradd postfixuser
# passwd postfixuser

Next, run the command below to send email from pkumar local user to another user ‘postfixuser

# telnet localhost smtp
# telnet localhost 25

If telnet service is not installed, you can install it using the command:

# dnf install telnet -y

When you run the command as earlier indicated, you should get the output as shown

[[email protected] ~]# telnet localhost 25
Connected to localhost.
Escape character is '^]'.
220 ESMTP Postfix

Above confirm that connectivity to postfix mail server is working fine. Next, type the command:

# ehlo localhost

Output will be something like this
250-SIZE 10240000

Next, run the commands highlighted in orange, like “mail from”, “rcpt to”, data and then finally type quit,

mail from:<pkumar>
250 2.1.0 Ok
rcpt to:<postfixuser>
250 2.1.5 Ok
354 End data with <CR><LF>.<CR><LF>
Hello, Welcome to my mailserver (Postfix)
250 2.0.0 Ok: queued as B56BF1189BEC
221 2.0.0 Bye
Connection closed by foreign host

Complete telnet command to send email from local user “pkumar” to another local user “postfixuser” would be something like below


If everything went according to plan, you should be able to view the email sent at the new user’s home directory.

# ls /home/postfixuser/Maildir/new

To read the email, simply use the cat command as follows:

# cat /home/postfixuser/Maildir/new/


Postfix mail server logs

Postfix mail server mail logs are stored in the file “/var/log/maillog“, use below command to view the live logs,

# tail -f /var/log/maillog


Securing Postfix Mail Server

It is always recommended secure the communication of between clients and postfix server, this can be achieved using SSL certificates, these certificates can be either from trusted authority or Self Signed Certificates. In this tutorial we will generate Self Signed certificated for postfix using openssl command,

I am assuming openssl is already installed on your system, in case it is not installed then use following dnf command,

# dnf install openssl -y

Generate Private key and CSR (Certificate Signing Request) using beneath openssl command,

# openssl req -nodes -newkey rsa:2048 -keyout mail.key -out mail.csr


Now Generate Self signed certificate using following openssl command,

# openssl x509 -req -days 365 -in mail.csr -signkey mail.key -out mail.crt
Signature ok
subject=C = IN, ST = New Delhi, L = New Delhi, O = IT, OU = IT, CN =, emailAddress = [email protected]
Getting Private key

Now copy private key and certificate file to /etc/postfix directory

# cp mail.key mail.crt /etc/postfix

Update Private key and Certificate file’s path in postfix configuration file,

# vi /etc/postfix/
smtpd_use_tls = yes
smtpd_tls_cert_file = /etc/postfix/mail.crt
smtpd_tls_key_file = /etc/postfix/mail.key
smtpd_tls_security_level = may

Restart postfix service to make above changes into the effect.

# systemctl restart postfix

Let’s try to send email to internal local domain and external domain using mailx client.

Sending local internal email from pkumar user to postfixuser

# echo "test email" | mailx -s "Test email from Postfix MailServer" -r [email protected] [email protected]

Check and read the email using the following,

# cd /home/postfixuser/Maildir/new/
# ll
total 8
-rw-------. 1 postfixuser postfixuser 476 Nov 12 17:34
-rw-------. 1 postfixuser postfixuser 612 Nov 13 02:40
# cat


Sending email from postfixuser to external domain ( [email protected])

# echo "External Test email" | mailx -s "Postfix MailServer" -r [email protected] [email protected]

Note: If Your IP is not blacklisted anywhere then your email to external domain will be delivered otherwise it will be bounced saying that IP is blacklisted in so and so spamhaus database.

Check Postfix mail queue

Use mailq command to list mails which are in queue.

# mailq
Mail queue is empty

And that’s it! Our Postfix configuration is working! That’s all for now. We hope you found this tutorial insightful and that you can comfortably set up your local Postfix server.

Read Also: How to Install and Configure Samba on CentOS 8

Read Also : How to Install Zimbra Mail Server on CentOS 8 / RHEL 8

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