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Setting up a Zimbra Collaboration Suite on Ubuntu Bionic Beaver

Reviewed on 18 April 2023Published on 05 June 2020
  • messaging
  • mail
  • Zimbra-Open-Source-Edition
  • collaboration
  • Bare-Metal
  • server

Zimbra - Overview

The Zimbra Open Source Collaboration Suite is designed to provide an end-to-end mail solution that is scalable and highly reliable. It consists of both a client and server components.

The web client provides a full-featured collaboration suite that supports email and group calendars.

The complete messaging architecture is built using open technology and well-known standards. It provides POP3 and IMAP access and relies on open-source applications such as Postfix, ClamAV and SpamAssassin.

During this tutorial you will learn how to install the latest version of open-source version of Zimbra on a Elastic Metal server running on Ubuntu Bionic Beaver server.

Security & Identity (IAM):

You may need certain IAM permissions to carry out some actions described on this page. This means:

  • you are the Owner of the Scaleway Organization in which the actions will be carried out, or
  • you are an IAM user of the Organization, with a policy granting you the necessary permission sets
  • You have an account and are logged into the Scaleway console
  • You have configured your SSH key
  • You have created an Elastic Metal server which is running Ubuntu Bionic Beaver (18.04 LTS)
  • You have sudo privileges or access to the root user
  • You have configured an A-record pointing to your servers IP address
  • You have configured a valid reverse DNS for your IP address

Installing Zimbra Open Source Edition

  1. Connect to your server using SSH:

    ssh root@SERVER_IP
  2. Update your system to the latest version:

    apt-get update && apt-get upgrade
  3. Edit your /etc/hosts file so it looks like the following example: zimbra.example.com zimbra localhost
  4. Configure the DNS settings of your server by editing the file /etc/resolv.conf. Set it to and to use Scaleway’s DNS servers.

  5. Download and extract the latest version of Zimbra

    wget https://files.zimbra.com/downloads/8.8.15_GA/zcs-8.8.15_GA_3869.UBUNTU18_64.20190918004220.tgz
    tar xfz zcs-8.8.15_GA_3869.UBUNTU18_64.20190918004220.tgz

    Request the download link for the latest version directly from Zimbra to make sure you are installing the latest version available.

  6. Enter the Zimbra directory:

    cd zcs-*
  7. Run the Zimbra installation tool:

  8. Confirm that you agree to the software license, by typing y:

    Do you agree with the terms of the software license agreement? [N]y
  9. Confirm that you want to use the repository of Zimbra, by pressing on Enter:

    Use Zimbra's package repository [Y]
  10. Zimbra will ask you which packages to install. You can keep the default values confirm their installation by typing y:

    Select the packages to install
    Install zimbra-ldap [Y]
    Install zimbra-logger [Y]
    Install zimbra-mta [Y]
  11. Confirm the modification of the system by pressing Y:

    The system will be modified. Continue? [N]

    The required packages will be downloaded and installed. This may take a while.

  12. By default Zimbra is configured to use the domain name zimbra.example.com. Set it to your own domain name which you want to use for Zimbra, for example mydomain.com

    DNS ERROR resolving MX for zimbra.example.com
    It is suggested that the domain name have an MX record configured in DNS
    Change domain name? [Yes] Y
    Create domain: [zimbra.example.com] mydomain.com
    MX: zimbra.mydomain.com (
  13. The Zimbra store configuration displays. Check the configuration:

    Store configuration
    Main menu
    1) Common Configuration:
    2) zimbra-ldap: Enabled
    3) zimbra-logger: Enabled
    4) zimbra-mta: Enabled
    5) zimbra-dnscache: Enabled
    6) zimbra-snmp: Enabled
    7) zimbra-store: Enabled
    +Create Admin User: yes
    +Admin user to create: admin@mydomain.com
    ******* +Admin Password UNSET
    +Anti-virus quarantine user: virus-quarantine.mqqxpujcy@mydomain.com
    +Enable automated spam training: yes
    +Spam training user: spam.dmzhfz1ds@mydomain.com
    +Non-spam(Ham) training user: ham.zxjcx_xxsq@mydomain.com
    +SMTP host: zimbra.mydomain.com
    +Web server HTTP port: 8080
    +Web server HTTPS port: 8443
    +Web server mode: https
    +IMAP server port: 7143
    +IMAP server SSL port: 7993
    +POP server port: 7110
    +POP server SSL port: 7995
    +Use spell check server: yes
    +Spell server URL: http://zimbra.mydomain.com:7780/aspell.php
    +Enable version update checks: TRUE
    +Enable version update notifications: TRUE
    +Version update notification email: admin@mydomain.com
    +Version update source email: admin@mydomain.com
    +Install mailstore (service webapp): yes
    +Install UI (zimbra,zimbraAdmin webapps): yes
    8) zimbra-spell: Enabled
    9) zimbra-proxy: Enabled
    10) Default Class of Service Configuration:
    s) Save config to file
    x) Expand menu
    q) Quit
  14. Press 7, then 4 to set the admin password, enter the new password and confirm by pressing Enter:

    Password for admin@mydomain.com (min 6 characters): [BKY0Ag8lQ] Pa$$w0rd
  15. Press r to go back to the main menu and press a to apply the configuration:

    Main menu
    1) Common Configuration:
    2) zimbra-ldap: Enabled
    3) zimbra-logger: Enabled
    4) zimbra-mta: Enabled
    5) zimbra-dnscache: Enabled
    6) zimbra-snmp: Enabled
    7) zimbra-store: Enabled
    8) zimbra-spell: Enabled
    9) zimbra-proxy: Enabled
    10) Default Class of Service Configuration:
    s) Save config to file
    x) Expand menu
    q) Quit
    *** CONFIGURATION COMPLETE - press 'a' to apply
    Select from menu, or press 'a' to apply config (? - help) a
  16. Press Enter twice to save the configuration into a file. Then type Yes and press Enter to confirm the modification of the system:

    Save configuration data to a file? [Yes]
    Save config in file: [/opt/zimbra/config.30902]
    Saving config in /opt/zimbra/config.30902...done.
    The system will be modified - continue? [No] Yes

    The configuration of Zimbra will start.

    Please note that this will take a while.

  17. You will be asked if you want to report your installation to Zimbra, you can type no if you don’t want to do this:

    Notify Zimbra of your installation? [Yes] no
    Notification skipped
  18. Once a message appears, the installation is complete. Press Enter to exit the setup tool:

    Moving /tmp/zmsetup.20200608-100842.log to /opt/zimbra/log
    Configuration complete - press return to exit

The installation of Zimbra Open Source is complete now and you can continue with the configuration of your collaboration suite.

Configuring Zimbra Open Source Edition

  1. You can now login to the admin console at https://YOUR_SERVER_IP:7071/zimbraAdmin/. Use the user admin@domin.tld and the password that you have set during the installation to login:
  2. Once you are logged you can click Get Started to begin with the configuration of the Zimbra server:

Add users and accounts as required.

Logging into Zimbra Open Source Edition

The user interface of your Zimbra collaboration suite is available at https://YOUR_SERVER_IP. Use your complete email address and password to login:

You can now check your emails, manage your contacts and your calendar.

Securing the Connection to Zimbra

By default Zimbra uses a self-signed certificate which can cause warnings in a web browser. To avoid these warnings, request a free Let’s Encrypt TLS/SSL certificate.

  1. Log into to your server, as root user, via SSH, add the certbot repository, and install certbot to manage the certificate:

    apt install software-properties-common -y
    add-apt-repository universe
    add-apt-repository ppa:certbot/certbot
    apt update
    apt install certbot -y
  2. Switch into the Zimbra user:

    su zimbra
  3. Stop the following services:

    zmproxyctl stop
    zmmailboxdctl stop
  4. Exit from the Zimbra user:

  5. Lauch the following command to use the certonly feature of certbot:

    certbot certonly --standalone

    Fill in the required information when asked. If you need a certificate for multiple domain names, specify them with the -d-flag:

    certbot certonly --standalone -d example.com -d www.example.org
  6. The certificate has been issued once the following message appears:

    Congratulations! Your certificate and chain have been saved at:
    Your key file has been saved at:

    You can find the following files in the directory /etc/letsencrypt/live/example.com:

    • cert.pem is the certificate

    • chain.pem is the chain

    • fullchain.pem is the concatenation of cert.pem + chain.pem

    • privkey.pem is the private key

    Lets Encrypt creates the chain.pem file without the root CA. Copy the IdenTrust root Certificate and merge it after the chain.pem. The root certificate is available for download here:

    Your chain.pem should look like:

    -----END CERTIFICATE-----
    -----END CERTIFICATE-----

    In short: chain.pem has to be merged with the root CA. First your certificate chain, and the end of the file the root CA. The order is important.

  7. Copy the Let’s Encrypt folder with all files /etc/letsencrypt/live/zimbra.example.com into /opt/zimbra/ssl/letsencrypt:

    mkdir /opt/zimbra/ssl/letsencrypt
    mv /etc/letsencrypt/live/mydomain.com/* /opt/zimbra/ssl/letsencrypt/
    chown zimbra:zimbra /opt/zimbra/ssl/letsencrypt/*
  8. Change into the Zimbra user:

    su zimbra
  9. Verify the certificate:

    cd /opt/zimbra/ssl/letsencrypt/
    /opt/zimbra/bin/zmcertmgr verifycrt comm privkey.pem cert.pem chain.pem

    If everything is working fine, the following message will appear:

    ** Verifying 'cert.pem' against 'privkey.pem'
    Certificate 'cert.pem' and private key 'privkey.pem' match.
    ** Verifying 'cert.pem' against 'chain.pem'
    Valid certificate chain: cert.pem: OK
  10. Backup the existing certificate:

    cp -a /opt/zimbra/ssl/zimbra /opt/zimbra/ssl/zimbra.$(date "+%Y%m%d")
  11. Copy the private key into Zimbra’s SSL path:

    cp /opt/zimbra/ssl/letsencrypt/privkey.pem /opt/zimbra/ssl/zimbra/commercial/commercial.key
  12. Finally deploy the SSL certificate:

    /opt/zimbra/bin/zmcertmgr deploycrt comm cert.pem chain.pem

    This may take a little while

  13. Restart the Zimbra services:

    zmcontrol restart
  14. Go to https://YOUR_SERVER_IP and you will notice that the connection is now signed by a valid certificate:


    If you are using Zimbra on an Instance, note that the internal IP address might change after a stop/restart of your instance.

You have now successfully installed the Zimbra Collaboration Suite and secured it with Let’s Encrypt certificate.

For more information regarding Zimbra Open Source edition, refer to the official documentation.