I am trying to connect a Thunderbird client to my dovecot server. The dovecot is installed on Ubuntu. I know that my server works (at least partially), since when I send a mail to a user in the server ([email protected]), I see the new file created in /home/feedback/Maildir/new.

However, when I try to connect with my Thunderbird to the server, It recognizes the server, but informs me that my user/password is wrong (they are not wrong).

The exact message is:

Configuration could not be verified - is the username or password wrong?

The server configuration it tries to connect to is: incoming - IMAP 143, outgoing - SMTP 587

The dovecot configuration file is located here: dovecot.conf

My PAM configuration is:

@include common-auth  
@include common-account  
@include common-session  

In the log, I see:

May 23 06: 07: 20 misfortune dovecot: imap-login: Disconnected (no auth attempts): ? rip=, lip=

Dovecot -n gives me:

Log_timestamp: %Y-%m-%d %H: %M: %S  
Protocols: pop3 pop3s imap imaps  
Ssl: no  
Login_dir: /var/run/dovecot/login  
Login_executable(default): /usr/lib/dovecot/imap-login  
Login_executable(imap): /usr/lib/dovecot/imap-login  
Login_executable(pop3): /usr/lib/dovecot/pop3-login  
Mail_privileged_group: mail  
Mail_location: maildir: ~/Maildir  
Mbox_write_locks: fcntl dotlock  
Mail_executable(default): /usr/lib/dovecot/imap  
Mail_executable(imap): /usr/lib/dovecot/imap  
Mail_executable(pop3): /usr/lib/dovecot/pop3  
Mail_plugin_dir(default): /usr/lib/dovecot/modules/imap  
Mail_plugin_dir(imap): /usr/lib/dovecot/modules/imap  
Mail_plugin_dir(pop3): /usr/lib/dovecot/modules/pop3  
Imap_client_workarounds(default): tb-extra-mailbox-sep  
Imap_client_workarounds(imap): tb-extra-mailbox-sep  
Auth default: 
    driver: pam  
    driver: passwd  
  • Next time please post output of dovecot -n, rather than the entire config file. May 21, 2011 at 13:19

3 Answers 3


Troubleshoot your IMAP server first. Just beware, do it over a secure connection, because all your credentials are sent plaintext.

telnet your.mail.server.com 143

. login username password

. list "" "*"

. select INBOX

. fetch 1:* flags

To read the body of the first message in the current selected folder:

. fetch 1 rfc822.text

Or just see here for more examples:

Accessing IMAP email accounts using telnet

If that stuff doesn't work, that's proof positive that Dovecot is not correctly configured.


That mail is delivered to ~/Maildir does not mean Dovecot works at all – Dovecot only handles IMAP, not SMTP or delivery.

  • Fix your mail_location. You say that your mail is delivered to ~/Maildir, yet your Dovecot is configured to look in ~/mail and /var/mail/%u. Change mail_location to maildir:~/Maildir.

  • Make sure your PAM configuration in /etc/pam.d/dovecot is correct.

  • Look for any error messages in /var/log/syslog and /var/log/auth.log (authentication errors usually go to the latter).

  • Thanks. I've tried configuring both maildir:~/Maildir and maildir:/home/%u/Maildir, with no success. May 23, 2011 at 5:58
  • Sorry, for the garbled comments, This is the first time I use Super User. Added adding additional information above. Thanks. May 23, 2011 at 6:01

I had the same problem that one workstation had the right username and server settings but at one day it couldn't connect anymore to dovecot because of "Disconnected (no auth attempts)" and empty username. (pop3 in my case). All the other workstations, also using TB, didn't have that problem. It occurred over a weekend when a new certificate had been installed on the server.

The solution was to remove (rename) the cert8.db file in the TB profiles folder.

I found the idea for this solution here and here.

(somehow on that particular workstation I wasn't able to add the certificate to the certificate list in TB, nor I could add a security exception; the other workstations did already have this server in their TB certificate list; I didn't figure out why new certificates weren't added to TB)

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