Skip to main content

Domain Keys Identified Mail (DKIM) signing/verifying milter for Postfix/Sendmail.

Project description


This is a DKIM signing and verification milter. It has been tested with both Postfix and Sendmail.

The configuration file is designed to be compatible with OpenDKIM, but only a subset of OpenDKIM options are supported. If an unsupported option is specified, an error will be raised.


This package includes a default configuration file and man pages. For those to be installed when installing using, the following incantation is required because setuptools developers decided not being able to do this by default is a feature:

[sudo] python3 install --single-version-externally-managed --record=/dev/null

For users of Debian Stable (Debian 9, Codename Squeeze), all dependencies are available in either the main or backports repositories:

[sudo] apt install python3-milter python3-nacl python3-dnspython [sudo] apt install -t stretch-backports python3-authres python3-dkim

It is also available in the Debian package archive:

[sudo] apt install dkimpy-milter [Debian 10 or later] [sudo] apt install -t stretch-backports dkimpy-milter [Debian 9]

When installing using the Debian package, all dependencies are automatically installed.

The preferred method of installation is from PyPi using pip (if distribution packages are not available):

[sudo] pip install dkimpy_milter

Using pip will cause required packages to be installed via easy_install if they have not been previously installed. Because pymilter and PyNaCl are compiled Python extensions, the system will need appropriate development packages and an C compiler. Alternately, install these dependencies from distribution/OS packages and then pip install dkimpy_milter.

The milter will work with either py3dns (DNS) or dnspython (dns), preferring dnspython if both are available. The dkimpy DKIM module also works with either.


The package includes a custom setup command called expand. It allows various file locations in init scripts, man pages, and config files to be over-ridden at install time.

expand: Expand @@ variables in input files, simlar to make macros. user_options: --sysconfigdir=, e: Specify system configuration directory. --sbindir=, s: Specify system binary directory [not used]. --bindir=, b: Specify binary directory. --rundir=,r: Specify run state directory.

As an example, to change the run directory to /var/run, one would do:

python3 expand --rundir=/var/run [sudo] python3 install --single-version-externally-managed

or in a single step (the order matters):

[sudo] python3 expand --rundir=/var/run install



In order to create DKIM signatures, a private key must be available. Signing keys should be protected (owned by root:root with permissions 600 in a directory that is not world readable). Different keys are required for RSA and (if used) Ed25519.


Both public and private keys for RSA have standard formats and there are many tools available to create them. Keys must (RFC 8302) have a minimum size of 1024 bits and should have a size of at least 2048 bits. The dknewkey script that is provided with dkimpy is one such tool:

dknewkey exampleprivkey

will produce both the private key file (.key suffix) and a file with the DKIM public key record to be published DNS (.dns suffix). RSA is the default key type. 2048 bits is the default key size.


There is no standardized non-binary representation for Ed25519 private keys, so in order to generate Ed25519 keys for dkimpy-milter, dkimpy specific tools must be used to be compatible. The same dknewkey script support Ed25519:

dknewkey --ktype ed25519 anothernewkey

will provide both the private key file (.key suffix) and a file with the DKIM public key record to be published DNS (.dns suffix). Ed25519 keys do not have variable bit lengths.


The KeyTable, KeyTableEd25519, and SigningTable are used to define signing instructions to the filter where use of Domain, Selector and KeyFile together are insufficient.

First, select the type of database you will use for each. They need not be the same. The "DATA SETS" portion of the dkimpy-milter(8) man page describes the possibilities and how they are formatted. Then, construct those databases.

Let's suppose you want to sign for two domains, and Within, you want to sign for user "president" differently than everyone else. Let's say further that you want to use a flat text file.

You've generated private key files for each of these and stored them in the directory /usr/local/etc/dkim/keys as files "president", "excom" and "exnet", with the obvious intents. You want to use selectors "foo", "bar" and "baz" for those, respectively. The signing domains match the senders (i.e. the signatures for's stuff will be held by, and likewise).

First, write the KeyTable. This is a list of the keys you intend to use, and you just assign arbitrary names to them. So as a flat file, the KeyTable for the above might look like this:


If also signing with ed25519, specify a KeyTableEd25519 pointing to the keys needed for ed25519. Both KeyTable and KeyTableEd25519 are evaluated if there is a SigningTable (see below).

Per the documentation, multi-field data sets that are made of flat files have the fields separated by colons, but the key and value(s) are separated by whitespace.

So now we've named each key file, and specified with which selector and domain each will be used, and then given each of those groupings a name. This is your KeyTable. Let's say you put it in /usr/local/etc/dkim/keytable.

Next, write the SigningTable. This maps senders (by default, taken from the From: header field of a message passing through the filter) to which keys will be used to sign their mail. Wildcards are allowed. So to do what was described above, we write it as follows:	preskey
*		comkey
*		netkey

Since we want to use wildcards, we can't actually use a regular flat file. Wildcards require a regular expression file, or "refile". The above is valid format for one of those. Let's say you put this in /usr/local/etc/dkim/signingtable.

Finally, tell the filter that it should use these files by adding this to your configuration file:

KeyTable	/usr/local/etc/dkim/keytable
SigningTable	refile:/usr/local/etc/dkim/signingtable

You could put "file:" in front of the filename for the KeyTable just to be precise, but "file:" is assumed if the value starts with a "/".

Note: Unlike opendkim, dkimpy-milter will check for "*" in the signing table regardless of if refile is specified or not. Use of refile is supported for compatibility with configurations initially developed for use with opendkim.


Both a systemd unit file and a sysv init file are provided. Both make assumptions about defaults being used, e.g. if a non-standard pidfile name is used, they will need to be updated. The sysv init file uses start-stop-deamon from Debian. It is not portable to systems without that available.

The dkimpy-milter drops priviledges after setup to the user/group specified in UserID. During initial setup, this system user needs to be manually created. As an example, using the default dkimpy-user on Debian, the command would be:

[sudo] adduser --system --no-create-home --quiet --disabled-password
--disabled-login --shell /bin/false --group
--home /run/dkimpy-milter dkimpy-milter

Since /var/run or /run is sometimes on a tempfs, if the PID file directory is missing, the milter will create it on startup.

To start dkimpy-milter with systemd for the first time, you will need to take the following steps:

[sudo] systemctl daemon-reload [sudo] systemctl enable dkimpy-milter [sudo] systemctl start dkimpy-milter [sudo] systemctl status dkimpy-milter (to verify it started correctly)

As with all milters, dkimpy-milter needs to be integrated with your MTA of choice (Sendmail or Postfix). When integrating with your MTA, the risk of signature invalidation due to content conversion of the message body needs to be considered. See RFC 6376, Section 5.3 for discussion of this issue. As a practical matter, when signing, configure the milter to follow all others that might modify the message body. When verifying, configure the milter before other processes that might modify the message body.


Configuration is very similar to opendkim, but needs some adjustment for dkimpy-milter. Here's an example configuration line to include in your


Changing the file requires a Make (to compile it into and a restart of sendmail. Note that S= needs to match the value of Socket in the dkimpy-milter configuration file.

Milter support should be present by default in most versions of sendmail these days, but if not included in your Sendmail build, see:


When using the sendmail MTA in both signing and verifying mode, there are a few issues of which to be aware that might cause operational problems and deserve consideration.

(a) When the MTA will be used for relaying emails, e.g. delivering to other hosts using the aliases mechanism, it is important not to break signatures inserted by the original sender. This is particularly sensitive particular when the sending domain has published a "reject" DMARC policy.

By default, sendmail quotes to address header fields when there are no
quotes and the display part of the address contains a period or an
apostrophe.  However, opendkim only sees the raw, unmodified form of
the header field, and so the content that gets verified and what gets
signed will not be the same, guaranteeing the attached signature is not

To direct sendmail not to modify the headers, add this to your

	conf(`confMUST_QUOTE_CHARS', `')

(b) As stated in sendmail's KNOWNBUGS file, sendmail truncates header field values longer than 256 characters, which could mean truncating the domain of a long From: header field value and invalidating the signature. You may wish to consider increasing MAXNAME in sendmail/conf.h to mitigate changing the messages and invalidating their signatures. This change requires recompiling sendmail.

(c) Similar to (a) above, sendmail may wrap very long single-line recipient fields for presentation purposes; for example:

To: very long name <>, name b <>

...might be rewritten as:

To: very long name <>, name b <>

This rewrite is also done after opendkim has seen the message, meaning
the signature opendkim attaches to the message does not match the
content it signed.  There is not a known configuration change to
mitigate this mutation.

The only known mechanism for dealing with this is to have distinct
instances of opendkim do the verifying (inbound) and signing (outbound)
so that the version that arrives at the signing instance is already
in the rewritten form, guaranteeing the input and output are the same
and thus the signature matches the payload.


Integration of dkimpy-milter into Postfix is like any milter (See Postfix's README_FILES/MILTER_README). Here's an example excerpt that talks to two dkimpy-milter instances, one configured for signing and one configured for verification:

smtp inet n - - - - smtpd ... -o smtpd_milters=inet:localhost:8892 ...

submission inet n - - - - smtpd ... -o smtpd_milters=inet:localhost:8891 ...

These need to match the Socket value for each dkimpy-milter instance.

Care is required to segregate outbound mail to be signed and inbound mail to be verified. The above example uses two instances of dkimpy-milter to do this. There are many possible ways. Here is another example using milter macros to keep the mail streams segregated:


smtp inet n - - - - smtpd ... -o smtpd_milters=inet:localhost:8891 -o milter_macro_daemon_name=VERIFYING ...

submission inet n - - - - smtpd -o syslog_name=postfix/submission -o smtpd_tls_security_level=encrypt -o smtpd_sasl_auth_enable=yes ... -o milter_macro_daemon_name=ORIGINATING -o smtpd_milters=inet:localhost:8891 ...


... Mode sv MacroList dameon_name|ORIGINATING MacroListVerify daemon_name|VERIFYING ...


The python DKIM library, dkimpy, requires the entire message being signed or verified to be in memory, so dkimpy-milter does not write messages out to a temp file. This may impact performance on low-memory systems.

DKIM with Ed25519 signatures are described in RFC 8463. Version 1.0.0 and later support Ed25519 signing and verification. RFC 8301 removed rsa-sha1 from DKIM. dkimpy-milter does not sign with rsa-sha1, but still considers rsa-sha1 signatures as valid for verification because they are still in common use and are not known to be cryptographically broken.

Project details

Download files

Download the file for your platform. If you're not sure which to choose, learn more about installing packages.

Files for dkimpy-milter, version 1.2.1
Filename, size File type Python version Upload date Hashes
Filename, size dkimpy-milter-1.2.1.tar.gz (52.5 kB) File type Source Python version None Upload date Hashes View

Supported by

Pingdom Pingdom Monitoring Google Google Object Storage and Download Analytics Sentry Sentry Error logging AWS AWS Cloud computing DataDog DataDog Monitoring Fastly Fastly CDN DigiCert DigiCert EV certificate StatusPage StatusPage Status page