I have an issue that's driving me crazy. Running Ubuntu 12.04 on DigitalOcean, I followed this tutorial to set up Postfix, Dovecot, ViMbAdmin and RoundCube:


Everything has been working fine for almost a week so far until suddenly today my incoming mail started getting stuck in the queue. I can see the emails using postqueue -p but they've just been sitting there for over 5 hours.

I am able to send email to other hosts just fine, but I can't receive emails I send to myself either.

In my mail.err log I keep seeing lots of this:

Apr 8 16:10:30 marcusforsberg master[14769]: fatal: master_spawn: exec /usr/lib/postfix/f: Permission denied

But nothing else in the error log, just that line over and over.

The mail.log file keeps giving me this:

Apr 8 15:48:07 marcusforsberg master[5841]: fatal: master_spawn: exec > /usr/lib/postfix/f: Permission denied

Apr 8 15:48:08 marcusforsberg postfix/master[5758]: warning: process /usr/lib/postfix/f > pid 5841 exit status 1

Apr 8 15:48:08 marcusforsberg postfix/master[5758]: warning: /usr/lib/postfix/f: bad > command startup -- throttling

And for each email:

Apr 8 15:46:05 marcusforsberg postfix/qmgr[5770]: 7D40416365E: from=, size=5691, nrcpt=1 (queue active)

Apr 8 15:51:40 marcusforsberg postfix/qmgr[5931]: 7D40416365E: skipped, still being delivered

Running postqueue -f has no effect, nor has resetting the Postfix config (dpkg-reconfigure postfix), restarting Postfix or rebooting the server (this has worked before when e-mail got stuck).

I've spent the better part of the day researching this but I haven't found much useful. The only change done before this started malfunctioning was that I rebuilt my DigitalOcean droplet from a snapshot. Before this, everything was working just fine. I had seen the "Permission denied" errors regularly as well but I was still able to receive email.

Here is my main.cf for Postfix: http://pastebin.com/hrxhkWZ7

And my master.cf: http://pastebin.com/mV9GcUNi

If anyone has any suggestions or links to solutions I have missed, please do let me know. Or if I should share any other configuration files or logs.

Thanks in advance for any help!

(This is a repost of my question on DO, where I haven't had much luck. I hope that is allowed and that this is even a good place for this question... Please let me know otherwise!)


Look in master.cf for a transport named "f" there must be a typo there.

The master.cf you pasted don't have it tho. Have you pasted the right one?

  • defer unix - - - - 0 f bounce – Båt Karl Patrik Andersson Apr 10 '14 at 8:42
  • 1
    Remove the f in defer transport. – Båt Karl Patrik Andersson Apr 10 '14 at 8:43
  • Thanks, this does seem to have removed the error, not sure how that got there... Mail is still stuck in the queue, though, now with a new error: Apr 10 11:54:57 marcusforsberg postfix/error[4453]: 31FD2160934: to=<someone@somedomain.tld>, relay=none, delay=12839, delays=12839/0.19/0/0, dsn=4.4.2, status=deferred (delivery temporarily suspended: lost connection with marcusforsberg.net[private/dovecot-lmtp] while receiving the initial server greeting) Could this mean something is wrong in the DNS config? I have been making some changes there but nothing related to mail/MX records. – Marcus Apr 10 '14 at 9:01
  • Try requeue all emails with: postsuper -r ALL – Båt Karl Patrik Andersson Apr 10 '14 at 11:37
  • This does not seem to help, they're requeued with the same message. – Marcus Apr 10 '14 at 11:45

In addition to Karl Patrik Andersson's answer which solved the weird error in Postfix's logs, I finally stumbled upon an error in dovecot.log that I had missed:

lmtp(11750): Fatal: Error reading configuration: Invalid settings: postmaster_address setting not given

This is was ultimately stopped email from being sent, since it had worked earlier even with the typo in master.cf. This blog post had the solution: http://projectnotedump.wordpress.com/2013/09/08/our-email-server-is-online/

In 15-lda.conf, the commented line postmaster_address has to be set to something, else this error is caused. Set it to postmaster@mydomain.com and mail started pouring in.

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