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Configuring Postfix to Send Mail from Mac OS X Mountain Lion

I recently upgraded my Mac to use Apple’s latest operating system, Mountain Lion, and in so doing, wiped out my postfix configuration that I had previously set up with advice from many different blogs. Postfix is essential for my line of business where I send many emails through MAMP on my local machine.

After hours of updating settings and getting nowhere, I stumbled across a blog post that set me in the right direction.

Rather than do this process again when Apple releases a new upgrade, I decided to document the steps I took to get this working (more for a reference for myself, but also to help those with the same issues).

I personally use Google Apps, so this process is for those also trying to authenticate through Gmail.  This process is much simpler if you don’t need SSL encryption when sending mail.  I use TextMate as a text editor, so the following command line options use the ‘mate’ command.  Alternatively, you can use ‘vi’, ‘vim’ or ‘nano’ depending on what you are familiar with.

Step 1

First, we need to create a Simple Authentication and Security Layer (SASL) password file.  To do this, open up Terminal and enter in the following command:

[cc]sudo mate /etc/postfix/sasl_passwd[/cc]

You will be required to enter your root password to edit the file. Enter in the following information, replacing <username@domain.com> with your google apps username and domain or your gmail account, and <password> with your password:

Save and exit.

Step 2

Next, we need to create a postfix lookup for our new SASL password file.  To do this, type the following command in the Terminal:

[cc]sudo postmap /etc/postfix/sasl_passwd[/cc]

Step 3

Then we need to configure Postfix’s main.cf file which has all the configuration information for Postfix.  I would recommend backing up this file in case anything happens.  The first line of the following commands does just that, by creating a copy before editing it:

[cc]sudo cp /etc/postfix/main.cf /etc/postfix/main.cf.orig
sudo mate /etc/postfix/main.cf[/cc]

Most of the information here is commented out.  You just need to scroll down to the bottom and paste in the following lines:

[cc]# Minimum Postfix-specific configurations.
mydomain_fallback = localhost
mail_owner = _postfix
setgid_group = _postdrop

# Enable SASL authentication in the Postfix SMTP client.

# Enable Transport Layer Security (TLS), i.e. SSL.

Save and exit.

Step 4

At this point, we just need to start up Postfix with our changes.  Use the following command:

[cc]sudo postfix start[/cc]

If you entered in any information incorrectly in the main.cf file, this may throw errors.  Fix the errors and then reload Postfix:

[cc]sudo postfix reload[/cc]

Step 5

You can test this configuration by sending a test email from Terminal:

[cc]date | mail -s test youremailaddress@yourdomain.com[/cc]

If all goes well, you should receive an email to your inbox.

Step 6

Once you have everything working, you can set Postfix to start on boot by adding a key to /System/Library/ LaunchDaemons/org.postfix.master.plist file.

The key to add is:

[cc lang=”xml”]

The updated file looks like this (text version below):

[cc lang=”xml”]






And that’s it! You should now be able to send mail using Mac OS X and Postfix from a PHP install. I am not an expert at this by any means, but feel free to leave a comment below letting me know if this helped you or if you have any issues with it. I would be glad to help in any way I can!