Linux installation

The installation described below was performed on an Ubuntu Server 20.04. Slight changes may be needed for other distributions.

Install Rust language

See the official website

Check dependencies

vSMTP requires the libc libraries and the GCC compiler/linker. On a Debian system, they are contained in the build-essential package.

sudo apt update
sudo apt install pkg-config build-essential sasl2-bin

Install vSMTP's dependencies

vSMTP compilation

cargo (Rust package manager) downloads all required dependencies and compile the source code in conformance to the current environment.

$> cargo build --workspace --release
$> cargo run -- --help
vsmtp 2.1.0
Team viridIT <>
Next-gen MTA. Secured, Faster and Greener


    -c, --config <CONFIG>      Path of the vSMTP configuration file ("vsl" format)
    -h, --help                 Print help information
    -n, --no-daemon            Do not run the program as a daemon
    -t, --timeout <TIMEOUT>    Make the server stop after a delay (human readable format)
    -V, --version              Print version information

    config-diff    Show the difference between the loaded config and the default one
    config-show    Show the loaded config (as serialized json format)
    help           Print this message or the help of the given subcommand(s)

Building and running the source code using `cargo`

By default Rust/Cargo use static linking to compile. All libraries required are compiled into the executable, allowing vSMTP to be a standalone application.

Configure the Operating System for vSMTP

For security purpose, vSMTP should run using a dedicated account with minimum privileges.

$ sudo adduser --system --shell /usr/sbin/nologin --no-create-home \
    --uid 9999 --group --disabled-password --disabled-login vsmtp

Create a user to run vSMTP

Adding system user 'vsmtp' (UID 9999) ...
Adding new group 'vsmtp' (GID 9999) ...
Adding new user 'vsmtp' (UID 9999) with group 'vsmtp' ...
Not creating home directory '/home/vsmtp'.

vSMTP binaries and config files should be located in:

┣ /usr/sbin/           : binaries
┣ /etc/vsmtp/
┃    ┣ vsmtp.vsl       : default configuration file
┃    ┗ rules/          : rules
┣ /var/spool/vsmtp/    : internal queues
┣ /var/log/
┃    ┣ vsmtp.log/      : internal logs and trace
┃    ┗ app.log         : application logs
┗ /home/<user>/Maildir : local IMAP delivery

These default locations may be changed in the /etc/vsmtp/vsmtp.vsl configuration file which is called by the service startup /etc/systemd/system/vsmtp.service file.

sudo mkdir /etc/vsmtp /etc/vsmtp/rules /etc/vsmtp/certs /var/log/vsmtp /var/spool/vsmtp
sudo cp ./target/release/vsmtp /usr/sbin/
sudo cp ./target/release/vqueue /usr/sbin/

Create vSMTP directories

A minimal vsmtp.vsl configuration file that matches vsmtp version (i.e. 2.1.0) must be created.

cat > /etc/vsmtp/vsmtp.vsl <<EOF
import "conf.d/config.vsl" as cfg;
let config = cfg::config;
config.version_requirement = ">=2.1.0";

Create a minimal configuration file

sudo chown -R vsmtp:vsmtp /var/log/vsmtp /etc/vsmtp/* /var/spool/vsmtp

Grant rights to vSMTP files and directories

If required, add private key and certificate to /etc/vsmtp/certs and grant reading rights to the vsmtp user.

Configuring the MTA service

Check and disable current MTA

Check if a mail transfer agent service is running and disable it.

$ sudo ss -ltpn | grep ":25"
tcp        0      0    *               LISTEN      39423/master
$ sudo systemctl status postfix
● postfix.service - Postfix Mail Transport Agent
     Loaded: loaded (/lib/systemd/system/postfix.service; enabled; vendor preset: enabled)
     Active: active (exited) since Fri 2021-12-10 11:10:58 CET; 5min ago
    Process: 39426 ExecStart=/bin/true (code=exited, status=0/SUCCESS)
   Main PID: 39426 (code=exited, status=0/SUCCESS)
$ sudo systemctl stop postfix
$ sudo systemctl disable postfix
Synchronizing state of postfix.service with SysV service script with /lib/systemd/systemd-sysv-install.
Executing: /lib/systemd/systemd-sysv-install disable postfix
Removed /etc/systemd/system/

Disabling a postfix instance that was running on port 25

☞ | Depending on Linux distributions, use the ss or netstat -ltpn commands.

Add vSMTP as a systemd service

Copy the daemon configuration file in /etc/systemd/system.

sudo cp ./tools/install/deb/vsmtp.service /etc/systemd/system/vsmtp.service

Please note that vSMTP drops privileges at startup. The service type must be set to forking.

Do not modify this file unless you know what you are doing.

Enable and activate vSMTP service

$ sudo systemctl enable vsmtp.service
Created symlink /etc/systemd/system/ → /etc/systemd/system/vsmtp.service.

$ sudo systemctl start vsmtp

$ sudo systemctl status vsmtp
● vsmtp.service - vSMTP Mail Transfer Agent
     Loaded: loaded (/etc/systemd/system/vsmtp.service; enabled; vendor preset: enabled)
     Active: active (running) since Fri 2021-12-10 11:32:15 CET; 21s ago
   Main PID: 2164 (vsmtp)
      Tasks: 25 (limit: 38287)
     Memory: 39.9M
     CGroup: /system.slice/vsmtp.service
             └─2164 /usr/sbin/vsmtp -c /etc/vsmtp/vsmtp.vsl

Check that vSMTP is working properly

$ ss -ltpn | grep vsmtp
State    Recv-Q   Send-Q     Local Address:Port     Peer Address:Port   Process
LISTEN   0        128 *       users:(("vsmtp",pid=2127,fd=5))
LISTEN   0        128 *       users:(("vsmtp",pid=2127,fd=6))
LISTEN   0        128  *       users:(("vsmtp",pid=2127,fd=4))

$ nc -C localhost 25
220 Service ready
451 Timeout - closing connection.