For the lazy ones

If you are in a hurry, you will love the modoboa installer! It’s a set of Python scripts to install a fully functional email server on one machine (modoboa, postfix, dovecot, amavis and more).

To use it, just run the following commands in your terminal:

$ git clone
$ cd modoboa-installer
$ sudo ./ <mail server hostname>

Wait a few minutes and you’re done o/

If you have more time or if you are just curious, you can install Modoboa the old way by going to the next section.

Get Modoboa

You can choose between two options:

  • Use the Python package available on the PyPI
  • Download the sources tarball

The easiest one is to install it from PyPI. Just run the following command and you’re done:

$ pip install modoboa

If you prefer to use the tarball, download the latest one and run the following procedure:

$ tar xzf modoboa-<version>.tar.gz
$ cd modoboa-<version>
$ python install

All dependencies will be installed regardless the way you chose. The only exception concerns the RRDtool binding because there isn’t any python package available, it is directly provided with the official tarball.

Fortunately, all major distributions include a ready-to-use package. On Debian/Ubuntu:

$ apt-get install libcairo2-dev libpango1.0-dev librrd-dev
$ apt-get install python-rrdtool

virtualenv users

When you deploy an application using virtualenv, you may have to compile some dependencies. For example, modoboa relies on lxml, which is a C python module. In order to install it, you will need to install the following requirements:

  • python development files
  • libxslt development files
  • libxml2 development files
  • libz development files

On a Debian like system, just run the following command:

$ apt-get install python-dev libxml2-dev libxslt-dev zlib1g-dev


Thanks to Django, Modoboa supports several databases. Depending on the one you will use, you must install the appropriate python package:

Then, create a user and a database that will be used by Modoboa. Make sure your database is using UTF8 as a default charset.

Deployment, a command line tool, lets you deploy a ready-to-use Modoboa site using only one instruction:

$ deploy modoboa_example --collectstatic [--dburl default:database-url] [--extensions extensions]


By default, the core application of Modoboa and some necessary plugins (admin, relaydomains and limits) are installed. To install extensions, use the --extensions option which accepts a list of extension names as argument (--extensions ext1 ext2 ...). If you want to install all extensions, just use the all shortcut like this --extensions all.

If you choose to install extensions one at a time, you will have to add their names in to MODOBOA_APPS. Also ensure that you have the line from modoboa_amavis.settings import * at the end of this file.

The list of available plugins can be found on the index page. Instructions to install them are available on each plugin page.


You can specify more than one database connection using the --dburl option. Multiple connections are differentiated by a prefix. The primary connection must use the default: prefix (as shown in the example above). For the amavis extension extension, use the amavis: prefix. An example two connections: --dburl default:<database url> amavis:<database url>.

Your database url should meet the following syntax scheme://[user:pass@][host:port]/dbname OR sqlite:////full/path/to/your/database/file.sqlite.

Available schemes are:

  • postgres
  • postgresql
  • postgis
  • mysql
  • mysql2
  • sqlite

The command will ask you a few questions, answer them and you’re done. You can now go to the First use section.

In case you need a silent installation (e.g. if you’re using Salt-Stack, Ansible or whatever), it’s possible to supply the database credentials as commandline arguments.

You can see the complete option list by running the following command:

$ help deploy


If you plan to serve Modoboa using a URL prefix, you must change the value of the LOGIN_URL parameter to LOGIN_URL = '/<prefix>/accounts/login/'.

First use

Your installation should now have a default super administrator:

  • Username: admin
  • Password: password

It is strongly recommended to change this password the first time you log into Modoboa.

To check if your installation works, just launch the embedded HTTP server:

$ python runserver

You should be able to access Modoboa at http://localhost:8000/.

For a fully working interface using the embedded HTTP server, you need to set the DEBUG parameter in to True.

For a production environment, we recommend using a stable webserver like Apache2 or Nginx. Don’t forget to set DEBUG back to False.