I'm developing an email client and need a IMAP server without ssl to test with.

I have a bare Ubuntu 16.04 install with DigitalOceans I would like to setup as a simple imap server. It doesn't need to be able to accually send emails, I just need to be able to connect to it using the imap protocal.

What's the bare minimum configuration required?

3 Answers 3


dovecot should work more or less out of the box. You may need to enable plaintext auth on insecure connections. Uncomment the disable_plaintext_auth line and change yes to no

disable_plaintext_auth = no

Install the package with the command sudo apt-get install dovecot-imapd.



sudo apt-get install dovecot-imapd dovecot-pop3d

Configure the protocol you need to be used by appending the protocol in the file /etc/dovecot/dovecot.conf:

protocols = imap

Choose the mailbox you would like to use. Dovecot supports maildir and mbox formats. Edit the file /etc/dovecot/dovecot.conf and change the line

mail_location = maildir:~/Maildir # (for maildir)


mail_location = mbox:~/mail:INBOX=/var/spool/mail/%u # (for mbox)

Restart the service:

systemctl restart dovecot

Use telnet to check that dovecot is working properly.

telnet localhost imap

You can follow this guide

that set ups this email server

and use port 143 for the IMAP without SSH

  • 1
    This answer could be more useful if it included a summary of the important parts of your linked guide. It is likely possible to skip many steps, since the server is only to be used for testing IMAP communications
    – Fox
    Aug 14, 2017 at 3:27

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