dovecot-lda - Man Page

Dovecot's local mail delivery agent


dovecot-lda [-ek] [-a address] [-c config_file] [-d username] [-f envelope_sender] [-m mailbox] [-o setting=value] [-p path]


The dovecot-lda is a local mail delivery agent which takes mail from an MTA and delivers it to a user's mailbox, while keeping Dovecot index files up to date.

Main features of the dovecot-lda are:


Options accepted by dovecot-lda:

-a address

Destination address (e.g. user+ext@domain). Default is the same as username.

-c config_file

Alternative configuration file path.

-d username

Destination username. If given, the user information is looked up from userdb. Typically used with virtual users, but not necessarily with system users.


If mail gets rejected, write the rejection reason to stderr and exit with status 77 (EX_NOPERM). The default is to send a rejection mail ourself.

-f envelope_sender

Envelope sender address.


Don't clear all environment at startup.

-m mailbox

Destination mailbox (default is INBOX). If the mailbox doesn't exist, it will not be created (unless the lda_mailbox_autocreate setting is set to yes). If a message couldn't be saved to the mailbox for any reason, it's delivered to INBOX instead.

-o setting=value

Overrides the configuration setting from /etc/dovecot/dovecot.conf and from the userdb with the given value. In order to override multiple settings, the -o option may be specified multiple times.

-p path

Path to the mail to be delivered instead of reading from stdin. If using maildir the file is hard linked to the destination if possible. This allows a single mail to be delivered to multiple users using hard links, but currently it also prevents deliver from updating cache file so it shouldn't be used unless really necessary.

Exit Status

dovecot-lda will exit with one of the following values:


Delivery was successful. (EX_OK)


Invalid parameter given. (EX_USAGE)


-e option was used and mail was rejected. Typically this happens when user is over quota and quota_full_tempfail = no is configured. (EX_NOPERM)


A temporary failure. This is returned for almost all failures. See the log file for details. (EX_TEMPFAIL)



Dovecot's main configuration file.


Mailbox locations and namespaces.


LDA specific settings.


Plugin specific settings.


Quota configuration.

Reporting Bugs

Report bugs, including doveconf -n output, to the Dovecot Mailing List <>. Information about reporting bugs is available at:

See Also

doveadm(1), dovecot(1), doveconf(1), dsync(1)

Related MTA specific documentation:


postconf(5), transport(5), pipe(8)


The accept router

Generic options for transports

The pipe transport

Referenced By

doveadm-acl(1), doveadm-exec(1), doveadm-sieve(1), doveconf(1), dovecot(1), pigeonhole(7), sievec(1), sieve-dump(1), sieve-filter(1), sieve-test(1).

The man page deliver(1) is an alias of dovecot-lda(1).

2011-01-16 Dovecot v2.3