I am running a fresh installation of macOS 10.12.1 with Server app 5.2.

With or without mail service activate, i am unable to use postfix in command line. I am always getting this error when i try to reload postfix:

postfix/postfix-script: fatal: the Postfix mail system is not running

When i do postconf -n i have this:

remote:log root# postconf -n
biff = no
command_directory = /usr/sbin
compatibility_level = 2
daemon_directory = /usr/libexec/postfix
data_directory = /var/lib/postfix
debug_peer_level = 2
debugger_command = PATH=/bin:/usr/bin:/usr/local/bin:/usr/X11R6/bin ddd $daemon_directory/$process_name $process_id & sleep 5
html_directory = /usr/share/doc/postfix/html
inet_protocols = all
mail_owner = _postfix
mailbox_size_limit = 0
mailq_path = /usr/bin/mailq
manpage_directory = /usr/share/man
message_size_limit = 10485760
mynetworks =, [::1]/128
newaliases_path = /usr/bin/newaliases
queue_directory = /private/var/spool/postfix
readme_directory = /usr/share/doc/postfix
recipient_delimiter = +
sample_directory = /usr/share/doc/postfix/examples
sendmail_path = /usr/sbin/sendmail
server_config_directory = /Library/Server/Mail/Config/postfix
setgid_group = _postdrop
smtpd_client_restrictions = permit_mynetworks permit_sasl_authenticated permit
smtpd_tls_ciphers = medium
tls_random_source = dev:/dev/urandom
unknown_local_recipient_reject_code = 550


I have also done postfix start, and i got this:

postfix/postfix-script: starting the Postfix mail system
postfix/postfix-script: fatal: mail system startup failed

And i am still able to telnet at localhost in port 25, 587, 110 and 995.

Anyone knows?

  • I dont know well if i have solve this but, i have stopped mail service at server app and then i run postfix start and it starts normally, then i enable mail server at server app, and now seems to be ok, i have not test it yet! – marafado88 Nov 21 '16 at 15:09
  • Did you tell Mac OS X to turn postfix on via launchctl or such? – thrig Nov 21 '16 at 15:23
  • Dont know if this will answer your question but i have used just the terminal and input postfix start – marafado88 Nov 21 '16 at 15:33

To use the same postfix in both Server app and terminal with Server app 5 it is needed some fixes.

The main difference from Server app 3 and 5 is that in Server app 3, used postfix from the system, so it was possible in that time to command that postfix from Server app 3 through terminal, now with Server app 5, that ability has changes, now you have the postfix from the system and another postfix in,


there are a lot of locations where the new main.cf if pointing, that are different from Server app 3.

Here i will do a list of changes from /Library/Server/Mail/Config/postfix/main.cf of Server app 3 to Server app 5(also in the same path)for anyone who wants to use the native postfix (in comment is the new values of Server app 5):

#command_directory = /Applications/Server.app/Contents/ServerRoot/usr/sbin
command_directory = /usr/sbin

#daemon_directory = /Applications/Server.app/Contents/ServerRoot/usr/libexec/postfix
daemon_directory = /usr/libexec/postfix

#sendmail_path = /Applications/Server.app/Contents/ServerRoot/usr/sbin/sendmail
sendmail_path = /usr/sbin/sendmail

#mailq_path = /Applications/Server.app/Contents/ServerRoot/usr/bin/mailq
mailq_path = /usr/bin/mailq

#html_directory = /Applications/Server.app/Contents/ServerRoot/usr/share/doc/postfix/html
html_directory = /usr/share/doc/postfix/html

#manpage_directory = /Applications/Server.app/Contents/ServerRoot/usr/share/man
manpage_directory = /usr/share/man

#sample_directory = /Applications/Server.app/Contents/ServerRoot/usr/share/doc/postfix/examples
sample_directory = /usr/share/doc/postfix/examples

#readme_directory = /Applications/Server.app/Contents/ServerRoot/usr/share/doc/postfix
readme_directory = /usr/share/doc/postfix

At least with me in Server app 3 turning off mail didnt turn off both postfix and dovecot, but now with Server App 5, it turns both off, so you must start then postfix through:

postfix start

and then start dovecot (you just need arguments to stop or reload),


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