I am running a postfix mail relay server that handles outgoing emails from several websites that we host.

Occasionally it seems that a specific email will get stuck and postfix refuses to process any other mail until I manually delete the email from the /var/spool/postfix/active directory.

The error message in the logs is:

fatal: qmgr_message_alloc: [message_id]: remove defer [message_id]: Permission denied

I've checked the permissions on the defer and deferred directory (not sure which it's actually complaining about) and both are owned by postfix:

drwx------. 18 postfix root     4096 Jun  1  2015 defer
drwx------. 18 postfix root     4096 Jun  1  2015 deferred

This has only happened two or three times in a few months, otherwise processing normally and able to defer other mails. I can't find anything particularly different with the emails that get stuck.

Can anyone shed any light on this error message?

  • Check the audit log. You have SELinux enabled, so you should always look at the audit log when you have a "permission denied" sort of error. – Michael Hampton Feb 24 '16 at 19:32
  • Thanks - There were some denied errors in the audit log.. I typically turn off SELinux so didn't think to check. I just disabled it so hopefully that resolves it. – nicthu Feb 24 '16 at 21:11
  • You should fix the problem, not disable SELinux. – Michael Hampton Feb 24 '16 at 21:12

I fixed it with this:

chown postfix.postfix /var/spool/postfix* -R

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