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Postfix Documentation
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12 - Care and feeding of the Postfix system

Postfix daemon processes run in the background, and log problems and normal activity to the syslog daemon. The names of logfiles are specified in /etc/syslog.conf. At the very least you need something like:

    mail.err                                    /dev/console
    mail.debug                                  /var/log/maillog

IMPORTANT: the syslogd will not create files. You must create them before (re)starting syslogd.

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

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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