I'm a mostly-Windows guy tasked with setting up email on an Ubuntu 12.04 instance at AWS and hit the following error:

When I browse to Horde, after entering my administrative credentials, I get the error message:

A fatal error has occurred

imp is not activated.

Details have been logged for the administrator.

I am following the following, quite detailed guide


This is happening at Step 20, at the text Now fire up you web browser and navigate to your server at http://mail.example.com/ to verify that you can log in as the configured administrative mail user. (of course I used my actual domain).


  • Where is Horde logging the "details"?
  • Any thoughts on why this might happen? I found Google hits suggesting that php5-mcrypt might be missing, but I verified it is installed and up-to-date in my case.

4 Answers 4


A1: Check the apache error logs. Specifically, the error.log file.

A2: If you used the long conf.php on the linked page as a template, don't. Something in that file might be causing the issue. Just copy conf.php.dist in the same directory over conf.php, and modify conf.php as you need.

  • Yeah, it was something about the provided conf.php.
    – Eric J.
    Nov 8, 2012 at 1:56
  • In my case, it was just a chrome extension causing it. Worked fine in Incognito and other browsers.
    – Nimbuz
    Dec 12, 2014 at 5:43

Your problem is not HordeMail it's Dovecot!

Try to use these paths in /etc/dovecot/conf.d/10-ssl.conf

 ssl_cert = /etc/ssl/certs/ssl-cert-snakeoil.pem
 ssl_key = /etc/ssl/private/ssl-cert-snakeoil.key

the paths provided by the tutorial are wrong.


Careful following the instructions in http://www.exratione.com/2012/05/a-mailserver-on-ubuntu-1204-postfix-dovecot-mysql/. These instructions are missing lines in many of the configuration files beginning in section 20 where you configure Horde. The script for file /var/www/config/conf.php is missing all lines past line 170. This leaves you with a partially-configured system that does not work.

  • Can you point to the correct instructions, or give them here?
    – mattdm
    Nov 12, 2012 at 3:40
  • I'll email the author and see if he can post the updated files. I'll let you know what I find out. Nov 12, 2012 at 3:49

After following the guide and using the conf.php file provided, a solution that worked to get past this error was:

  • Use the conf.php.dist as the conf.php
  • Copy over the "sql" configuration section from the provided quite into the new conf.php
  • Follow the remaining guide

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