Setup & Configuration of Zimbra (CentOS)

Zimbra Collaboration Suite (ZCS) or Zimbra in short is a complete solution for Email management. It consists of a mail server and a web based email client. It offers two web based interfaces, one is the Zimbra admin panel where we can add/delete new domains, create/edit email accounts under these domains etc and the other interface is the webmail or email client panel where we can login with the email address and password to check out the emails.

In this tutorial we will go through how Zimbra can be installed and configured in a CentOS server.

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When we install Zimbra, we are installing it for a domain but we can add any number of domains via its admin panel.


1) A domain name with its MX record pointed to the hostname of the Zimbra server and

2) The hostname should resolve to the Zimbra server IP or the hostname should have an A record pointing it to the Zimbra server IP Address.

3) Zimbra operates with Postfix mail server, you need to stop the postfix service if it is already running and also you can disable it from the auto-start at boot time.

service postfix stop && chkconfig postfix off

4) Edit the hosts file as follows

vi /etc/hosts

12.XX.XX.89 zimbra

You need to replace this with the actual IP address and the deisred hostname of your Zimbra server. If this isn’t done before starting the installation process, it is going to error out.

We need to install the following packages before installing Zimbra.

sudo yum install system-config-network-tui system-config-firewall-tui nc sudo mysql mysql-server mysql-devel sysstat wget

We need to install Bind (name server application) and configure it for the domain for which we are installing Zimbra.

yum install bind bind-utils

Enable bind in chkconfig to automatically start the process (named) at boot time.

chkconfig –-level 35 named on

Open the named configuration file and edit the given below.

vi /etc/named.conf

listen-on port 53 {; any; }; 

allow-query { localhost; any; };

Add the following lines in the end of the named configuration file.

zone "" IN { 

type master; 

file ""; 

allow-update { none; }; 


Ofcourse, you’ll have to replace with the domain of your choice.

Then you need to create the db file named and provide the DNS (SOA, NS, MX, A) records in the below mentioned format.

vi /var/named/ 

$TTL 1D 

@ IN SOA ( 

0 ; serial 

1D ; refresh 

1H ; retry 

1W ; expire 

3H ; minimum 

@ IN NS ns1.

@ IN MX 0

ns1 IN A 12.XX.XX.89

mail IN A 12.XX.XX.89

You need to edit the DNS records accordingly, where is the name of the domain, is the name server of the domain is the hostname of the Zimbra server, is the email address to which you need to send the domain related information mails from the name server and 12.XX.XX.89 is the IP of your Zimbra server.

Now, we can proceed with installing Zimbra as the pre-requisites are almost done.

Install and Configure Zimbra

Both installation and configuration can be done at installation time itself. Let’s proceed with the installation now.

Change the current working directory to the installation directory.

cd /usr/local/src

Download Zimbra package.


Unzip and Untar the archive.

gunzip zcs-8.0.2_GA_5569.RHEL6_64.20121210115059.tgz

tar -xf zcs-8.0.2_GA_5569.RHEL6_64.20121210115059.tar

Change the working directory to Zimbra installation directory.

cd zcs-8.*

Run the installation script with –platform-override flag as the installation script is built only for Redhat Linux OS and for any other OS, we need to make it platform independent.

./ --platform-override

Once the installation has started, you need to accept the service license by entering ‘Y‘.

Then you need to select the packages that you want to install by entering ‘Y‘.


Once this packages are installed, the installation is going to error out as shown below and you need to change the domain as follows:

Setting defaults... 

ERROR resolving MX for 

It is suggested that the domain name have an MX record configured in DNS 

Change domain name? [Yes] Yes 

Create domain: []

You need to create the domain which you want to create in the above step.

This prompts a menu with which we can configure Zimbra admin account.


Just enter the number of the options in the menu to edit that value. For eg: to set the admin area password, select the option 3. This prompts a sub-menu. Select the sub-option again and set the admin password. Once you set the password, you can see from the menu that password has been set. Check out the screenshot below.


Then go back to the main menu by pressing ‘r’. This gives you the current configuration in brief.


To apply the settings made to the configuration, press ‘a’. To save the configuration data to Zimbra configuration file, give the confirmation by entering ‘Yes‘. Just press enter and go with default when it prompts the next question ‘Save config in file‘.

As a completion step you’ll be asked if you want to notify the Zimbra installation. Answer to this doesn’t matter as it is just a notification step.

Once this is done, you’ll get a confirmation message as given below.

Configuration complete – press return to exit

Done! Now you know installing Zimbra is not a big mountain to climb!!

How to access Zimbra admin panel and webmail?

Before accessing Zimbra admin panel, make sure firewall isn’t blocking the HTTP connection from your local machine to the server.

By default, Zimbra admin panel can be accessed by the URL:


Username and password is the admin username and password that you’ve set while configuring Zimbra.

Zimbra webmail can be accessed by going to the URL:


Zimbra is now ready for use, you may login to the admin panel and play around with it for a while to get to know the advanced and other options.

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