Dovecot (software)

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Original author(s)Timo Sirainen
Developer(s)Timo Sirainen and contributors
Initial releaseJuly 2002; 20 years ago (2002-07)
Stable release
2.3.20[1] Edit this on Wikidata / 22 December 2022; 5 months ago (22 December 2022)
Written inC
Operating systemUnix-like
TypeIMAP and POP3 server
LicenseMostly MIT and LGPLv2[2] Edit this on Wikidata

Dovecot is an open-source IMAP and POP3 server for Unix-like operating systems, written primarily with security in mind.[3] Timo Sirainen originated Dovecot and first released it in July 2002. Dovecot developers primarily aim to produce a lightweight, fast and easy-to-set-up open-source email server.

The primary purpose of Dovecot is to act as mail storage server. Mail is delivered to the server using some mail delivery agent (MDA) and stored for later access with an email client (mail user agent, or MUA). Dovecot can also act as mail proxy server, forwarding connection to another mail server, or act as a lightweight MUA in order to retrieve and manipulate mail on remote server for e.g. mail migration.

According to the Open Email Survey, as of 2020, Dovecot has an installed base of at least 2.9 million IMAP servers, and has a global market share of 76.9% of all IMAP servers. The results of the same survey in 2019 gave figures of 2.6 million and 76.2%, respectively.[4]


Dovecot can work with standard mbox, Maildir, and its own native high-performance dbox formats.[5] 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) and an LMTP server, with optional Sieve filtering support.

Dovecot supports a variety of authentication schemas for IMAP, POP and message submission agent (MSA) access, including CRAM-MD5 and the more secure DIGEST-MD5.

With version 2.2, some new features have been added to Dovecot, e.g. additional IMAP command extensions, dsync has been rewritten or optimized, and shared mailboxes now support per-user flags.[6]

Version 2.3 adds a message submission agent, Lua scripting for authentication, and some other improvements.[7]

Apple Inc. includes Dovecot for email services since Mac OS X Server 10.6 Snow Leopard.

In 2017, Mozilla, via the Mozilla Open Source Support program, conducted a security audit on the Dovecot software, the first public audit of the Dovecot code.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Release v2.3.20". 22 December 2022. Retrieved 22 December 2022.
  2. ^ "COPYING.LGPL file in dovecot repository". Retrieved 2017-10-04.
  3. ^ "Dovecot website". Retrieved 2017-01-18.
  4. ^ Sirainen, Timo (2019-03-01). "Dovecot's global market share grows to 76%". Open-Xchange. Archived from the original on 2020-03-05. Retrieved 2020-03-05.
  5. ^ "Mailbox Format: dbox". Dovecot v2.x Wiki. 2012-10-30. Retrieved 2013-06-17.
  6. ^ "v2.2.0 released". 2013-04-12. Retrieved 2013-06-17.
  7. ^ "v2.3.0 released". 2017-12-22. Retrieved 2018-03-12.
  8. ^ "Mozilla Security Audit". Retrieved 2017-01-13.

External links[edit]