plugin {
  obox_fs = fscache:2G:/var/cache/mails:…
  # Or split users to multiple directories (4 x 512MB = 2 GB total):
  obox_fs = fscache:512M:/var/cache/mails/%4Nu:…

All of the object storage Backends should be set up to use fscache with at least some amount of disk space, otherwise some operations will be very inefficient (such as IMAP client downloading a mail in small pieces).

The fscache is also ideally large enough that when a mail is delivered, any IMAP and POP3 client that is actively downloading the mails should download it from the cache. Ideally the mail objects would usually stay in the fscache for several seconds during production load.

Other than that, the fscache doesn’t usually need to be very large. It’s more useful to give the extra disk space to metacache (INDEX path in mail_location setting).


If fscache sees cache write failures (e.g. out of disk space) those will cause client-visible errors. The disk space usage also isn’t strictly enforced due to race conditions, so if you set fscache limit to 1 GB it may temporarily grow above it. So make sure that the fscache always has some extra disk space available for writing (e.g. a 1 GB fscache mounted on a 2 GB mount point).

If users access a lot of large mails, the fscache may become full too early. Without any limits it’s even possible for a single mail to exceed the total fscache size. This has happened when a user has attempted to attach a huge attachment and the email client stores it into Drafts or Sent folder. The plugin { quota_max_mail_size } setting can be used to reduce the effects of this problem. In any case there are currently no guarantees that fscache couldn’t be overflowed if many clients are accessing many large mails at exactly the same time. This is also why the fscache filesystem should be much larger than the fscache size limit.

It is recommended to run doveadm fscache rescan command automatically once in a while (e.g. hourly cronjob). This makes sure that if fscache’s size tracking is wrong for whatever reason, it will soon become fixed automatically. The rescan is a fast operation and works correctly even if fscache is being modified simultaneously.

Multiple fscache directories

It’s possible to split fscaches over multiple independent directories by including %variables in the path. This is typically done based on username hashing, e.g. /var/fscache/%8Nu would use 8 fscache directories. This is especially recommended with larger fscaches (>10 GB). The main benefit of split fscaches is that any cache trashing caused by a few users will be limited only to those users’ fscaches.

For example if Dovecot is internally rebuilding caches for a single user, the 1 GB fscache could quickly be filled only with that one user’s emails. But if the fscache is slit over multiple directories, the other directories won’t be affected and may still contain useful cache for other users.


The fscache plugin relies on filesystem usage information to be consistent. For example ZFS provides different information on block usage depending on when the information is queried, making fscache not work.

Changed in version v2.3.20: ZFS support has been currently explicitly disabled.