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Ansible Playbooks for setting up a secured ssh, mail, and web server.


The scripts and playbooks here track

  • Set use_stable_release to true (default) to use stable branch (currently v1.1-stable)
  • Set use_stable_release to false for bleeding edge (docker tag v1.1-latest, git branch master)

Quick Start

Prerequisite: Recent version of Ansible installed on your control host.

Set up your host's domain name entries as documented here: (you can add the DKIM signature when the stack is up).

To start, you'll need to have the following set up in your DNS (A.B.C.D represents your IP address):

@ IN A/AAAA any A.B.C.D
mail IN A/AAAA any A.B.C.D
@ IN MX 10 mail.domain.tld.
www IN CNAME any mail.domain.tld.
postfixadmin IN CNAME any mail.domain.tld.
webmail IN CNAME any mail.domain.tld.
spam IN CNAME any mail.domain.tld.

If using opencart, also add a CNAME entry for store.

If using poweradmin, also add a CNAME entry for poweradmin.

If using pritunl, also add a CNAME entry for vpn.

  • Create a recent Debian or Fedora server, using whatever process you choose. I created a Debian 9 (Stretch) server in the cloud. Also tested with a Fedora 26 Server instance.

  • make

  • Reboot the installed server.

  • Add additional DNS records (for SPF, DKIM, and DMARC) as documented here to increase your reputation score.

Once your server is up, from your control host, do ssh [email protected] so you can look at the generated secrets. e.g. to get the DKIM key to add to your DNS, do:

  ssh [email protected]
  cat /mnt/docker/mail/dkim/{your-domain-name}/public.key
  • At this point, visit your postfixadmin setup script and follow the instructions here:

  • Using postfixadmin, set up your super-administrator account, then set up your domain, and proceed to set up mailboxes for admin and contact. If using opencart remember to also set up your opencart admin user mailbox.

  • Set up aliases for the following:

abuse [email protected]
hostmaster [email protected]
noc [email protected]
postmaster [email protected]
spam [email protected]
sales [email protected]
webform [email protected]
  • Set up your Rainloop (webmail) configuration. Follow the instructions here:

  • Using the RainLoop admin panel, make sure to set up your ManageSieve and white-lists for users you allow to login to your domain.

  • In the RainLoop admin, go to the Plugins and enable the postfixadmin-change-password plugin. You will have to ensure that the plugin settings are set like this:

MySQL Host mariadb
MySQL Port 3306
MySQL Database postfix
MySQL table mailbox
MySQL username column username
MySQL password column password
MySQL User postfix
MySQL Password {MYSQL postfix user password}
Encrypt md5encrypt
Allowed Emails *

The password to use in the change password settings is the postfix database user password. You can get it by ssh into your host and examining the docker-compose.yml file:

$ ssh [email protected]
$ grep MYSQL_PASSWORD docker-compose.yml

Setting up the postfixadmin-change-password plugin will allow users to change their mailbox passwords.

Postfix Config customization

You can add postfix customizations to /mnt/docker/mail/postfix/custom.conf on your mailserver machine and restart the stack.

By default, the setup will install an initial custom.conf that allows unauthenticated mail to be relayed from your other containers.

More info about postfix overrides here:

Web Site files

By default, your top level web site www.yourdomain.tld simply directs to the contact app which renders a simple Contact Form as the front page of your your domain.

If you place files in www/yourdomain.tld/, the Ansible playbook will create an alterate setup:

  • /contact will refer to the Contact form served by the PHP container.
  • / will refer to what you place in www/yourdomain.tld/files/
  • /~user will refer to what you place in www/yourdomain.tld/people/user/

Any text files placed in the files/ or people subdirectories of www/yourdomain.tld will be installed using the jinja2 template copy, enabling you to use variables like {{ domain_name }} in your files.

Occasionally, this template mechanism does not work well (javascript source code, for example). To work around this, if you place files in a static/ subtree, they will be copied without templating. Place files in static/files/ and static/people/user to have them installed in the correct places.

Note that files placed in www/ are ignored by git and will have to be backed up.

Wordpress Install

Alternatively, you can specify in the initial setup that you want to use Wordpress.

Use Wordpress as www site [false]: true

In this case, we use the official wordpress Docker image. You can add customizations for PHP (e.g. setting upload_max_filesize) by modifying /mnt/docker/php/custom.ini.

Your wordpress files will end up in /mnt/docker/wordpress and wordpress will use the wordpress database in the mariadb server.

Ansible task tags for website setup

The website setup tasks are tagged with website.

To only deploy web site files, run this:

make web

To run the mailserver playbook but skip web site deployment:

make noweb

Run make help for a quick explanation of all Makefile tasks.


You can get security and bug fixes by updating your images periodically.

The /usr/local/bin/upgrade is a helper script that simply does:

docker-compose pull
docker-compose up -d

Simply ssh [email protected] and run the script:

$ upgrade
Pulling redis (redis:3.2-alpine)...
3.2-alpine: Pulling from library/redis
Digest: sha256:8858052e2c0e2ffecc6998b2733e7ffe1ce57998025bf3b373a33073cc1bd92d
Status: Image is up to date for redis:3.2-alpine
Pulling mariadb (mariadb:10.1)...
10.1: Pulling from library/mariadb
Digest: sha256:6cef4058a2c391dfd621939ecf7dfa325ece33e019011e32b34faae03782b5c9
Status: Image is up to date for mariadb:10.1
Pulling mailserver (hardware/mailserver:1.1-latest)...
1.1-latest: Pulling from hardware/mailserver
Digest: sha256:a0396ee689ad964bb77312ec80a846f0834cc51322c45ea82700908ad902446b
Status: Image is up to date for hardware/mailserver:1.1-latest
Pulling rainloop (hardware/rainloop:latest)...
latest: Pulling from hardware/rainloop
Digest: sha256:953d974a7616dfcbf0e1894b75065633a34562e2d5e77807e7316db5004d4727
Status: Image is up to date for hardware/rainloop:latest
Pulling contact (kayvan/contact-form:latest)...
latest: Pulling from kayvan/contact-form
Digest: sha256:7de5ada7dc950352df73f2f2bc704a7af53ffabf859777065b4b6c64d9f3588f
Status: Image is up to date for kayvan/contact-form:latest
Pulling postfixadmin (hardware/postfixadmin:latest)...
latest: Pulling from hardware/postfixadmin
Digest: sha256:b3473b126a527e5fe1899ace260292f3fa787753af43390831fe9d616e6b9900
Status: Image is up to date for hardware/postfixadmin:latest
Pulling nginx (wonderfall/boring-nginx:latest)...
latest: Pulling from wonderfall/boring-nginx
Digest: sha256:9eb46e5c893db961d50a8178bd47aa071c38d1da424fe453b11f4c6650b37e76
Status: Image is up to date for wonderfall/boring-nginx:latest
redis is up-to-date
mariadb is up-to-date
mailserver is up-to-date
postfixadmin is up-to-date
contact is up-to-date
rainloop is up-to-date
nginx is up-to-date

Redeploying, starting over.

On your control host, the first time you run this, it will run ./bin/setup and set your ./inventory files and variable files in ./group_vars/all/.

Subsequent runs of ./bin/setup will read the stored values and present them as defaults.

Use make reset to remove these files and start over.

You can also make do if you make changes to your base variables and want to push those changes to your server.

If you want to make changes to your secrets (e.g. change passwords), use make edit_secrets. This task decrypts and re-encrypts your secrets using ansible-vault.

User password hashes

Refer to the Ansible docs regarding user passwords to understand how we generate the Linux user password hashes.

To ensure this works, make sure that the ./bin/mkpasswd script works:

  ./bin/mkpasswd TestTheHash

If you wish to edit your secrets, use the edit task, like this:

  $ EDITOR=vi make edit
  Decryption successful

  NOTE: Run "make do" to push your changes.

  $ make do

Saving your settings

After running the process the first time, you can do:

  $ make save

This will create a file backup/{domain}-YYYYMMDD-hhmm.tar.gz which you can stash and will include your inventory file, variables and vault password.


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