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Postfix Documentation
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What you need to know about Postfix logging

Postfix daemon processes run in the background, and log problems and normal activity to the syslog daemon. The syslogd process sorts events by class and severity, and appends them to logfiles. The logging classes, levels and logfile names are usually specified in /etc/syslog.conf. At the very least you need something like:

/etc/syslog.conf:
    mail.err                                    /dev/console
    mail.debug                                  /var/log/maillog

After changing the syslog.conf file, send a "HUP" signal to the syslogd process.

IMPORTANT: many syslogd implementations will not create files. You must create files before (re)starting syslogd.

IMPORTANT: on Linux you need to put a "-" character before the pathname, e.g., -/var/log/maillog, otherwise the syslogd process will use more system resources than Postfix.

Hopefully, the number of problems will be small, but it is a good idea to run every night before the syslog files are rotated:

# postfix check
# egrep '(reject|warning|error|fatal|panic):' /some/log/file
  • The first line (postfix check) causes Postfix to report file permission/ownership discrepancies.

  • The second line looks for problem reports from the mail software, and reports how effective the relay and junk mail access blocks are. This may produce a lot of output. You will want to apply some postprocessing to eliminate uninteresting information.

The DEBUG_README document describes the meaning of the "warning" etc. labels in Postfix logging.

Postfix Documentation
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