Dovecot Disaster – Straight into “* OK Waiting for authentication process to respond..” when accessing via Telnet

By | May 25, 2013
In A Nutshell:

Change “/etc/dovecot-sql.conf” to “/etc/dovecot/dovecot-sql.conf” (in your /etc/dovecot/dovecot.conf file) then restart Dovecot.

Alas, 4 days later I get the news that no one can log in to Roundcube. After a long time, the message “Connection to imap server failed.” would be shown. I tried to telnet into the Dovecot IMAP server, using “telnet localhost 143“. The response was

* OK Waiting for authentication process to respond..

when I hadn’t even entered any login details.
After a while I got a:

* BYE Disconnected for inactivity. 
Connection closed by foreign host.

I found this confusing but it seemed to point at the authentication process.

Checking the error logs confirmed this:

May 25 11:10:43 server dovecot: auth: Error: Can't open configuration file /etc/dovecot-sql.conf: No such file or directory
May 25 11:10:43 server dovecot: master: Error: service(auth): command startup failed, throttling
May 25 11:10:43 server dovecot: log: Error: service(auth): child 24452 returned error 89 (Fatal failure)

I checked /etc/dovecot/dovecot-sql.conf (obviously I wasn’t reading carefully enough) and everything seemed fine.

Naturally I Googled “Error: Can’t open configuration file /etc/dovecot-sql.conf” with the quotes. This lead me to theĀ ISPConfig installation guide comments.

A commenter points out the discrepancy between “/etc/dovecot-sql.conf” and “/etc/dovecot/dovecot-sql.conf”. After a quick change in the /etc/dovecot.conf file and a “service dovecot restart”, it worked perfectly.

#/etc/dovecot/dovecot.conf
passdb {
## args = /etc/dovecot-sql.conf
args = /etc/dovecot/dovecot-sql.conf
driver = sql
}
userdb {
## args = /etc/dovecot-sql.conf
args = /etc/dovecot/dovecot-sql.conf
driver = sql
}

I hope this post helps anyone with the same issue.

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