How to Install Zimbra Collaboration Suite in Ubuntu Server

Zimbra Collaboration Suite (ZCS) is a next generation collaboration and communication platform, with a mission to answer the challenges posed on large organisations by legacy mailing systems. While Zimbra also offers hosted solutions, the Open Source edition is a self hosted mailing platform, retaining most of the functionality of the paid version.

  • Cross platform: (Linux, Mac, Windows). Running from a server, it can be accessed as an AJAX web application from most major browsers
  • Innovative: The interface features functionality usually found in desktop applications such as drag and drop or advanced search functionality
  • Secure: You get full control over your accounts and data
  • Easy to maintain: You get full CLI or web-based control over your installation
  • Compatible: Besides the web-client, you can access our Zimbra messages from Outlook and other desktop mail clients as well.

Installing Zimbra is surprisingly straight forward and could be completed under 10 minutes. Zimbra recommends that you disable SELinux and any firewall running, before installation. The OpenSouce Edition was installed on a fresh, full-stack Ubuntu 14.04.2 LTS Server; the instance for this was for tutorial’s sake, with all standard components left intact.

After logging or sshing in to your Ubuntu 14.04 Server installation, you need to become root. Instead of using su, it is a good idea to proceed with

Besides the advantages of sudo over su, sudo -s will not change your $HOME variable, thus you will keep working in your user’s home directory.

Zimbra will conflict with postfix. You could just disable it, but it is probably best to uninstall it entirely if you plan to use Zimbra for messaging anyway.

Ubuntu links sh to dash, but the Zimbra installer will complain if it does not find bash where it expects it. To fix this, you should point sh to bash:

You will need a static IP address, if you do not already have one. Editing the /etc/network/interfaces file would be the easiest option.

Change the file to include the following lines. Of course, the addresses should be replaced according to your own network configuration.

Zimbra network interaces

On the test installation, the hostname used was “”, which is not a registered domain name. Yours should be a real one, if you plan to use Zimbra.

After running

and specifying your own domain, edit the file /etc/hosts

And change it to include the following (using your own IP and domain name, of course):

Save it and restart the network services, to make sure all the changes take effect.

Now your server is almost prepared. To install prerequisite packages, it is best to let the Zimbra installer script check what’s missing.

You can get the installation files in any way you like from the Zimbra download page. At the time of writing, the freshest available OpenSource version was 8.6.0 GA. To get it from the terminal, just copy and paste

and wait for the download to finish. Once it is downloaded, you’ll need to unpack the file. Using the asterik (*) wildcard below will unpack whatever version of Zimbra you have just downloaded, (if it is the only such downloaded file in your current directory), so you are safe to copy and paste the below command:

The Zimbra install script has automatic dependency checking. You can run it just to see what you might be missing. Enter the unpacked directory, and run the installer:

It will ask you to accept the License Agreement

Zimbra License Agreement

You will then have to select all the packages, like you were to install them, and the installer will tell you what is missing:

Zimbra prerequisit check

Quit the installer and install all the missing packages

You should run the installer again:

After having you accept the license once again, it will not complain now, but start building Zimbra.

You will still have a few questions to answer. First you will need to select (again) the components you want to install. The default answer is “yes;” pressing Enter will accept the component. To skip any of the components, press “n.”

Select Zimbra components

After accepting the “System will be modified” dialogue, the installation continues, up to the point of the DNS check. At this point it might complain about MX (mail exchange) record. It is best to set up an MX domain here. Fortunately the installer has the option to do this in-line:

MX record error

The installer should soon take you to main the configuration menu:

Zimbra main config menu

An obvious next step is to set up the missing admin password. Pressing “7” will take you to the zimbra-store sub-menu:

Enter the submenu

If you press “4”, you will find it has generated a random password for you. Press Enter to accept it (and don’t forget to make a note of it), or type your own here.

Auto generated password

Note: This is a weak point of the otherwise solid installer script. The password will be written plain on the screen and there is no confirmation dialogue either. Be careful, you only have one shot. It is best to double-check your password before pressing Enter.

Press “r” to return to the main menu

Zimbra main menu closed

You can choose which components should be enabled or disabled and set them up one by one, entering their number. Once ready, press “a” to finish up the installation.

Congratulations, if you’ve managed to get this far, you have just installed Zimbra OS edition on your server.

To make sure everything is up and running, check the status of each component with the zimbracontrol command. Zimbra has created a new user called “zimbra”, to which you should switch next, using su

Then start the status monitor:

You should have a similar result:

Final check

To access your web admin interface and configure your installation, go to

(using the IP you have specified of course), and enter your credentials.

zMailCloud Admin Console

Zimbra is an excellent collaboration and communication tool that is surprisingly easy to install on Ubuntu Server. You can have Zimbra up and running in under ten minutes. For further information on how to set up and use your new installation, you can find detailed documentation in PDF format in your downloaded Zimbra package or by visiting the Zimbra support website.