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Running Postfix on Debian I cannot connect to send mail any more. It worked until approximately a week ago. I do not recall touching the configuration of the server during that time, which makes it difficult for me to find out what the problem is.

When connecting from the server to itself it works fine:

root@xxxx:~# telnet localhost 25
Connected to localhost.localdomain.
Escape character is '^]'.
ehlo localhost
220 ESMTP Postfix (Debian/GNU)
250-SIZE 10240000
250 DSN
221 2.0.0 Bye
Connection closed by foreign host.

Trying to do the same remotely times out:

laptop:~ $ telnet 25
Trying 93.xx.xx.xx...
telnet: connect to address 93.xx.xx.xx: Operation timed out
telnet: Unable to connect to remote host

Configuration is as follows:

root@xxxx:~# postconf -n
alias_database = hash:/etc/aliases
alias_maps = hash:/etc/aliases
append_dot_mydomain = no
biff = no
broken_sasl_auth_clients = yes
config_directory = /etc/postfix
home_mailbox = Maildir/
inet_interfaces = all
inet_protocols = ipv4
mailbox_command = 
mailbox_size_limit = 0
mydestination = localhost.localdomain, localhost.localdomain, localhost
myhostname =
mynetworks = [::ffff:]/104 [::1]/128
myorigin = /etc/mailname
readme_directory = no
recipient_delimiter = +
relayhost = 
smtp_tls_note_starttls_offer = yes
smtp_tls_session_cache_database = btree:${data_directory}/smtp_scache
smtp_use_tls = yes
smtpd_banner = $myhostname ESMTP $mail_name (Debian/GNU)
smtpd_recipient_restrictions = permit_sasl_authenticated,permit_mynetworks,reject_unauth_destination
smtpd_sasl_auth_enable = yes
smtpd_sasl_exceptions_networks = $mynetworks
smtpd_sasl_local_domain = 
smtpd_sasl_path = private/auth
smtpd_sasl_security_options = noanonymous
smtpd_sasl_type = dovecot
smtpd_tls_CAfile = /etc/postfix/ssl/cacert.pem
smtpd_tls_auth_only = no
smtpd_tls_cert_file = /etc/postfix/ssl/smtpd.crt
smtpd_tls_key_file = /etc/postfix/ssl/smtpd.key
smtpd_tls_loglevel = 1
smtpd_tls_received_header = yes
smtpd_tls_session_cache_database = btree:${data_directory}/smtpd_scache
smtpd_tls_session_cache_timeout = 3600s
smtpd_use_tls = yes
tls_random_source = dev:/dev/urandom
virtual_alias_maps = proxy:mysql:$config_directory/
virtual_gid_maps = static:8
virtual_mailbox_base = /var/vmail
virtual_mailbox_domains = proxy:mysql:$config_directory/
virtual_mailbox_maps = proxy:mysql:$config_directory/
virtual_minimum_uid = 150
virtual_transport = dovecot

Receiving mails is no problem, as is retrieving them remotely. Do you have an idea what I could check next?

share|improve this question
"Trying to do the same remotely times out". Do you mean trying to telnet to your server from a remote host, or trying to telnet to a remote host from your server? The difference is fairly important! – MadHatter Mar 14 '11 at 15:50
Trying to connect from my home machine via telnet to the mail server. Sorry if that was unclear. – Riley Mar 14 '11 at 21:04
up vote 2 down vote accepted

The fact that you are getting 'connection timed out' errors strongly indicates this is a firewall issue. Please run

/sbin/iptables -nvL

to check your existing firewall rules on the server. I suspect you will find a rule blocking inbound port 25 connections.

To check connectivity from an outside machine, first use traceroute:


then another nice tool to try is mtr which combines ping and traceroute into one tool.

Finally you should use nmap to scan your machine from an outside system:

sudo nmap -sS -V -O

and see if port 25 is open or blocked.

If you haven't changed anything on your machine, my suspicion would be that your isp has started blocking incoming port 25 connections. nmap will help reveal that.

Here's some info on how to confirm that postfix is set up to receive incoming mail. In particular double check your config file.

Here's a possibly relevant serverfault question about postfix rejecting incoming messages.

share|improve this answer
Thank you, this was very helpful. Having checked iptables and traceroute I did not find any problematic configuration or connectivity issue. Nevertheless nmap told me that port 25 was blocked. I then tried to connect via a second, unrelated remote server to SMTP on the server experiencing the problem. Lo and behold it worked flawlessly. Now I noticed that all my other e-mail accounts use different port numbers and are therefore not affected. It seems my ISP decided to start blocking port 25 without notice. Will change the port of Postfix, then it should be fine. Again, thank you! – Riley Mar 14 '11 at 21:12

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