Online parameters

Modoboa provides online panels to modify internal parameters. There are two available levels:

  • Application level: global parameters, define how the application behaves. Available at Modoboa > Parameters
  • User level: per user customization. Available at User > Settings > Preferences

Regardless level, parameters are displayed using tabs, each tab corresponding to one application.

admin application parameters

The admin application exposes several parameters, mainly to control how mailboxes are created and how messages are stored on the file system.

Default values are presented below:

The authentication type

Does Modoboa need to handle the creation of directories on the file system?

Where Modoboa stores mailboxes
STORAGE_PATH = /var/vmail

Which user:group Modoboa uses to assign permissions on mailboxes

Which format is used to store messages in a mailbox
MAILBOX_TYPE = maildir

If maildir is in use, tells Modoboa that mailbox content is under a
potential sub-directory
MAILDIR_ROOT = .maildir

When a mailbox is removed, also remove the associated account

The encryption method used to store passwords

The number of displayed items per page for listing pages

Host configuration


This section is only relevant when the CREATE_DIRECTORIES parameter is set to Yes.

To let Modoboa create mailboxes and store emails on the filesystem, you must create a group and a user (UNIX ones). There is only one group/user needed because we are in a virtual hosting configuration (ie. users with non-UNIX accounts).

The following examples are based on the default values presented in admin application parameters.

For example, create a vmail group:

$ groupadd vmail

Then create a vmail user:

$ useradd -g vmail -d /var/vmail -m vmail

At last, the system user used to run modoboa will need permissions to manipulate directories in vmail’s homedir. To do so, edit the /etc/sudoers file and add the following inside:

<user_that_runs_modoboa> ALL=(vmail) NOPASSWD: ALL

Time zone and language

Modoboa is available in english, french, german and spanish.

To specify the default language to use, edit the file and modify the LANGUAGE_CODE variable:

LANGUAGE_CODE = 'en-US' # English
# or
LANGUAGE_CODE = 'fr-FR' # French
# or
LANGUAGE_CODE = 'de-DE' # German
# or
LANGUAGE_CODE = 'es-ES' # Spanish


Each user has the possibility to define the language he prefers.

In the same configuration file, specify the timezone to use by modifying the TIME_ZONE variable. For example:

TIME_ZONE = 'Europe/Paris'

Sessions management

Modoboa uses Django’s session framework to store per-user information.

Few parameters need to be set in the configuration file to make Modoboa behave as expected:

SESSION_COOKIE_AGE = 600 # time in seconds

The first parameter is optional but you must ensure it is set to False (the default value).

The second one tells Django that a session inactive for this time should be considered as closed. You are free to adjust it according to your need.

The default configuration file provided by the command is properly configured.

Clearing the session table

Django does not provide automatic purging. Therefore, it’s your job to purge expired sessions on a regular basis.

Django provides a sample clean-up script: cleanup. That script deletes any session in the session table whose expire_date is in the past.

For example, you could setup a cron job to run this script every night:

0 0 * * * <modoboa_site>/ cleanup

External authentication


Modoboa supports external LDAP authentication using the following extra components:

If you want to use this feature, you must first install those components:

$ pip install python-ldap django-auth-ldap

Then, all you have to do is to modify the file:

  • Add a new authentication backend to the AUTHENTICATION_BACKENDS variable, like this:

  • Set the required parameters to establish the communication with your LDAP server, for example:

    import ldap
    from django_auth_ldap.config import LDAPSearch
    AUTH_LDAP_SERVER_URI = "ldap://<ldap server address>"
    LDAP_USER_BASE = "ou=users,dc=example,dc=com"
    LDAP_USER_FILTER = "(mail=%(user)s)"
        "first_name": "givenName",
        "email": "mail",
        "last_name": "sn"

You will find a detailled documentation here.

Finally, go to Modoboa > Parameters > admin, set the AUTHENTICATION_TYPE parameter to LDAP and click on the Save blue button.

Once the authentication is properly configured, the users defined in your LDAP directory will be able to connect to Modoboa, the associated domain and mailboxes will be automatically created if needed.

Users will also be able to update their LDAP password directly from Modoboa.


Modoboa doesn’t provide any synchronization mechanism once a user is registered into the database. Any modification done from the directory to a user account will not be reported to Modoboa (an email address change for example). Currently, the only solution is to manually delete the Modoboa record, it will be recreated on the next user login.

Available settings

  • LDAP_USER_BASE : the distinguish name of the search base
  • LDAP_USER_FILTER : the filter used to retrieve users distinguish name
  • LDAP_PASSWORD_ATTR : the attribute used to store the password (default: userPassword)
  • LDAP_ACTIVE_DIRECTORY : used to indicate if your directory is an Active Directory one (default: False)