ManageSieve Configuration

NOTE: If you have used the Sieve plugin before and you have .dovecot.sieve files in user directories, you are advised to make a backup first. Although the ManageSieve daemon takes care to move these files to the Sieve storage before it is substituted with a symbolic link, this is not a very well tested operation, meaning that there is a possibility that existing Sieve scripts get lost.

The ManageSieve configuration consists of ManageSieve protocol settings and Sieve interpreter-related settings. The Sieve interpreter settings are shared with settings of the Sieve plugin for Dovecot’s Local Delivery Agent (LDA) and LMTP. First, the ManageSieve protocol settings are outlined and then the relevant Sieve settings are described.

Protocol Configuration

Along with all other binaries that Dovecot uses, the managesieve and managesieve-login binaries are installed during make install of the Pigeonhole package. The only thing you need to do to activate the ManageSieve protocol support in Dovecot is to add sieve to the protocols= setting. The managesieve daemon will listen on port 4190 by default. As the implementation of the managesieve daemon is largely based on the original IMAP implementation, it is very similar in terms of configuration. In addition to most mail daemon config settings, the managesieve daemon accepts a few more. The following settings can be configured in the protocol sieve section:


The maximum ManageSieve command line length in bytes.


Specifies the string pattern used to compose the logout message of an authenticated session.


Implementation name.


Maximum compile errors.


List of client workarounds to enable.



Respectively the SIEVE and NOTIFY capabilities reported by the ManageSieve service before authentication.

Sieve Interpreter Configuration

The part of the Sieve interpreter configuration that is relevant for ManageSieve mainly consists of the settings that specify where the user’s scripts are stored and where the active script is located. The ManageSieve service primarily uses the following Sieve interpreter setting in the plugin section of the Dovecot configuration:

sieve = file:~/sieve;active=~/.dovecot.sieve

This specifies the location where the scripts that are uploaded through ManageSieve are stored.

Quota Support

By default, users can manage an unlimited number of Sieve scripts on the server through ManageSieve. However, ManageSieve can be configured to enforce limits on the number of personal Sieve scripts per user and/or the amount of disk storage used by these scripts. The maximum size of individual uploaded scripts is dictated by the configuration of the Sieve interpreter. The limits are configured in the plugin section of the Dovecot configuration as follows:


The maximum size of a Sieve script.


The maximum number of personal Sieve scripts a single user can have.


The maximum amount of disk storage a single user’s scripts may occupy.


The following provides example configurations for ManageSieve in dovecot.conf for the various versions. Only sections relevant to ManageSieve and the Sieve plugin are shown. Refer to 20-managesieve.conf in doc/dovecot/example-config/conf.d, but don’t forget to add sieve to the protocols setting if you use it.

service managesieve-login {
  #inet_listener sieve {
  #  port = 4190

  #inet_listener sieve_deprecated {
  #  port = 2000

  # Number of connections to handle before starting a new process. Typically
  # the only useful values are 0 (unlimited) or 1. 1 is more secure, but 0
  # is faster.
  #service_count = 1

  # Number of processes to always keep waiting for more connections.
  #process_min_avail = 0

  # If you set service_count=0, you probably need to grow this.
  #vsz_limit = 64M

service managesieve {
  # Max. number of ManageSieve processes (connections)
  #process_limit = 1024

# Service configuration

protocol sieve {
  # Maximum ManageSieve command line length in bytes. ManageSieve usually does
  # not involve overly long command lines, so this setting will not normally need
  # adjustment
  #managesieve_max_line_length = 65536

  # Maximum number of ManageSieve connections allowed for a user from each IP address.
  # NOTE: The username is compared case-sensitively.
  #mail_max_userip_connections = 10

  # Space separated list of plugins to load (none known to be useful so far). Do NOT
  # try to load IMAP plugins here.
  #mail_plugins =

  # MANAGESIEVE logout format string:
  #  %i - total number of bytes read from client
  #  %o - total number of bytes sent to client
  #managesieve_logout_format = bytes=%i/%o

  # To fool ManageSieve clients that are focused on CMU's timesieved you can specify
  # the IMPLEMENTATION capability that the dovecot reports to clients.
  # For example: 'Cyrus timsieved v2.2.13'
  #managesieve_implementation_string = Dovecot Pigeonhole

  # Explicitly specify the SIEVE and NOTIFY capability reported by the server before
  # login. If left unassigned these will be reported dynamically according to what
  # the Sieve interpreter supports by default (after login this may differ depending
  # on the user).
  #managesieve_sieve_capability =
  #managesieve_notify_capability =

  # The maximum number of compile errors that are returned to the client upon script
  # upload or script verification.
  #managesieve_max_compile_errors = 5

  # Refer to 90-sieve.conf for script quota configuration and configuration of
  # Sieve execution limits.

plugin {
  # Used by both the Sieve plugin and the ManageSieve protocol
  sieve = file:~/sieve;active=~/.dovecot.sieve


Like Dovecot’s imapd, the ManageSieve login daemon supports proxying to multiple backend servers. The Proxy PasswordDatabase page for POP3 and IMAP applies automatically to ManageSieve as well.