postfix errors fatal: no SASL authentication mechanisms /usr/libexec/postfix/smtpd: bad command startup -- throttling solution

Jul  3 22:12:17mailserver postfix/smtpd[6195]: fatal: no SASL authentication mechanisms
Jul  3 22:12:18mailserver postfix/master[4881]: warning: process /usr/libexec/postfix/smtpd pid 6195 exit status 1
Jul  3 22:12:18mailserver postfix/master[4881]: warning: /usr/libexec/postfix/smtpd: bad command startup -- throttling

This only ever happens in my experience when the authentication method is actually Dovecot.  Usually the problem will be that Dovecot cannot start due to a misconfiguration and or permissions issue. 

The solution is to try to trace through /var/log/maillog and find out what is wrong with Dovecot (assuming it cannot start).

After this postfix should work fine.

You should also enable debug info in dovecot.conf like this:

auth_debug = yes
auth_debug_passwords = yes
auth_verbose = yes

To give you an idea of what commonly goes wrong after a new Dovecot migration or install:

dovecot: auth: Error: passwd-file /etc/dovecot.passwd: open(/etc/dovecot.passwd) failed: Permission denied (euid=97(dovecot) egid=97(dovecot) missing +r perm: /etc/dovecot.passwd, euid is not dir owner)

Solution:

chmod +x /etc/dovecot.passwd

Another error:

dovecot: lda: Error: userdb lookup: connect(/var/run/dovecot/auth-userdb) failed: Connection refused

In this case you need to make sure /var/run/dovecot/auth-userdb and also /var/mail is set to the correct user id and group id or username/groupname as in your /etc/dovecot/dovecot.conf

first_valid_gid = 502
first_valid_uid = 501
last_valid_gid = 502
last_valid_uid = 501

 

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