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When thinking about using SquirrelMail, there are some important things to understand. This document is meant to collect these ideas, and serve as a good self-help guide when first installing and configuration SquirrelMail.

  • SquirrelMail is only an IMAP client. It requires an IMAP server in order to operate properly. SquirrelMail itself operates the same way that Outlook Express, Thunderbird or Apple's Mail program. The SquirrelMail user must already have an account on the IMAP server in order to log in to SquirrelMail. If you do not have an IMAP server configured and installed (or at least one IMAP account on an IMAP server), this should be completed before attempting to use SquirrelMail.
  • SquirrelMail can be configured to send mail either by using the local machine mail daemon, or by pointing it at an existing and properly configured SMTP server (through your ISP, most likely). If neither of these things are available, SquirrelMail will not send mail properly, and display errors.
  • SquirrelMail should be configured on the shell using the config/conf.pl script, run as a user with write permissions to the config directory. This allows the conf.pl script to save a config.php, which will then be used by SquirrelMail for configuration parameters. To re-iterate, conf.pl is a Perl script that should be executed at the shell, NOT from a web browser.
  • SquirrelMail must have write access to data directory under the main SquirrelMail directory by default. This allows individual user preferences, address book settings and plugin-specific data to be stored between sessions. This does not apply if the addressbook and user preferences are being handled through LDAP, a database, or some other method than disk. However, since disk is the default storage mechanism, most users should give write access to this directory. If write access to the partition where the main SquirrelMail application is stored is an unacceptable place for web-user-writable directories, a symbolic link to a separate partition or disk is suggested.

Beyond these individual tips and pointers, the website has some very good pages above solving specific SquirrelMail problems. This can be found at the SolvingProblems page, or the general [documentation]. This is also summarized at the [support] page. Google is a very good resource as well, since SquirrelMail is discussed in many other forums.

SquirrelMail also has [static documentation], which is maintained by the SquirrelMail Project Team.

SquirrelMail interacts with IMAP and SMTP servers regularly. These servers should have logs. If you have access to the server logs, be sure to check them to see what kind of messages are being generated when you log in. This information will be invaluable to you as you search for the solution to your problem.

Another good place to look for the source of problems using SquirrelMail in Linux is the forum for your individual Linux distribution. These pages can have useful information that might solve your problem before you can bring it to the mailing lists or IRC. Distribution-specific issues are especially difficult for our volunteer staff to solve, so these forums will be invaluable to you when trying to track down your problem.

If all else fails, try asking for [support]. Make sure when discussing your issue to mention at least these things:

  • Operating System, inkluding distribution and version
  • SquirrelMail version (and if it comes from your distribution or was downloaded and installed manually)
  • IMAP/SMTP server type
  • Specific description of the problem, including any error messages received
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