Why use both Dovecot and Postfix? [duplicate]

Just out of curiosity, there are dozens / hundreds of tutorials helping you setup a Dovecot – Postfix mail server. On the surface, both of them are email servers, why use both? Mail servers are complicated enough, why have 2 things to manage and troubleshoot?

Makes about as much sense on the surface as running CentOS inside Ubuntu and always wondering why ./configure is confused 🙂


Dovecot is an open source IMAP and POP3 email server for
Linux/UNIX-like systems, written with security primarily in mind.
Dovecot is an excellent choice for both small and large installations.
It’s fast, simple to set up, requires no special administration and it
uses very little memory.


What is Postfix? It is Wietse Venema’s mail server that started life
at IBM research as an alternative to the widely-used Sendmail program.
Now at Google, Wietse continues to support Postfix.

I did read this thread: Why use Dovecot AND Postfix/Sendmail? but it only provided information about Dovecot and not Postfix.

I followed one of those many guides and got it all working with TLS authentication to Postfix and ISPConfig, then realized at the end that I really never had to touch Dovecot, but wasn’t sure if it had to be there for the spam filters, antivirus or some other thing I am not thinking of, but in general it seems that any time you have an “extra” service running you are opening yourself up to attacks and vulnerabilities and would of course love to reduce those.


Dovecot is indeed email server but it serves to the clients – not to other mailservers. IMAP and POP are not enough to send emails outbound – SMTP is needed.

Source : Link , Question Author : Alan , Answer Author : Arek B.

Leave a Comment