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Install Zimbra on DigitalOcean Droplet – How we do it

by | Jan 18, 2021

Need help to Install Zimbra on Digitalocean? We can help you.

At Bobcares, we often receive requests regarding DigitalOcean as part of our DigitalOcean Managed Services.

Today, let us see an effective method to Install Zimbra on Digitalocean Droplet.


What is Zimbra?

Zimbra is easy to use a piece of unified collaboration software. Being one of the best free, open-source collaboration software available, Zimbra includes email, calendaring, file sharing, activity streams, and social communities.

Zimbra comes in two different forms:

  • a free open source edition
  • a paid version

It runs on several different distributions of Linux. This makes it stable, scalable, and secure. Here, we install Zimbra in CentOS 6.5 64-bit.

The minimum system requirements for Zimbra are pretty high and will require a large droplet to be created.


Install Zimbra on DigitalOcean Droplet

In order to begin, our Support Techs suggest a few system requirements. Those are:

  • A CPU of 1.5GHz
  • A minimum of 3GB of RAM.
  • 5GB of free space for software and logs.
  • Additional disk space for mail storage.

While we give the Droplet a hostname, we need to include a full FQDN, including the domain and tld.

For example,, if the main domain name was

Once we create the Droplet, log in via SSH. Furthermore, let us focus on the step by step procedures of the installation.


Prepare CentOS For Use With Zimbra

First, we need to ensure that CentOS is up to date. Therefore, we run the following command:

$ yum update –y

Next, we need to install some pre-requisites. Execute the command given below:

$ yum install -y gmp libidn wget nano make nc sudo sysstat libtool-ltdl glibc perl ntp

Then, we need to install check if postfix is running – if it is, disable it, because we cannot have two different mail transfer agents running.

$ service postfix status

If postfix is running, we need to disable it:

$ service postfix stop && chkconfig postfix off


Configure DNS For Use On The Mail Server

Since Zimbra is a collaboration server, it includes a fully-functional mail server. This means that we must configure the DNS for the domain name for use in Zimbra.

Our Support Engineers suggest a few different ways of achieving this.

The first and easiest method is to use the DigitalOcean DNS tab in the control panel. We need to set three name servers in the domain panel.

To setup DigitalOcean DNS for the domain, head over to the DNS tab in the DO control panel. Once there, add the domain.

Then, add the following records to the DNS settings. In this example, the IP address of the droplet is The second value should point to (the Droplet FQDN) with a high priority (lowest number).

Install Zimbra on DigitalOcean

We should now make a note of the DigitalOcean name servers for the domain. They can be seen by the yellow NS markings in the domain DNS. We need to configure it in the CentOS installation shortly. The changes may take up to 48 hours to propagate.

Install Zimbra on DigitalOcean

If we use our own DNS panel, the same method still applies, however, we have a different layout of control panel and different name servers. We should still make a note of the name servers, as we need to configure them in the CentOS installation as above.


Obtain A Copy Of Zimbra

To find the latest version of Zimbra software, head over to the Zimbra website and copy the link for the Red Hat and CentOS install file. Keep the link handy, we will need it next.

Now, we will need to download the file from the Zimbra website and store it on the Droplet. But first, we will need to create a folder to store it in.

$ mkdir zcsinstall

Then, we enter that directory:

$ cd zcsinstall

And then fetch the file from the Zimbra website. We can use wget to achieve this.

Obviously, we need to place the URL of the install file into this command rather than using the link here.


This will download the file from the Zimbra website and save it to the zcsinstall folder.


Edit The Hosts File

Now we need to edit the host file in CentOS to contain the IP address of the Droplet, the FQDN, and the name of the server.

We can do this by:

$ nano /etc/hosts

Then we need to edit the file to contain another row with the Droplet’s IP address, FQDN, and name. The line should look like: mail

We need to ensure that we replace the above with the actual data values for the Droplet. Similarly, we should also make sure that we use a tabbed space between each value.

Once done, we press CTRL+O and then Enter to save. Then press CTRL+X to return.


Unpack and Install Zimbra

The next stage is to unpack the tgz file we downloaded earlier. To do this, we can execute the following command:

$ tar zxvf zcs-*.tgz

Next, change the directory into the folder that the files were extracted into:

$ cd zcs-*

Finally, we can run the installer.

$ ./ –platform-override

Once the installer starts, we need to accept the license agreements by pressing Y at each license prompt. When we reach the ‘select packages to install’ section, simply press enter at each of the options which will select the default value.

We may get the following error during installation:
DNS ERROR resolving MX for mail. .com
It is suggested that the domain name have an MX record configured in DNS>

This error occurs because it is looking for an MX record for the domain ‘’. Instead, we want it to search for an MX record for ‘’. This means that we should press Y`, and change the domain name to just ‘’.

If we get a port conflict error, we may need to exit the installer and resolve the issue before continuing.

  • We will reach the configuration page. First, we should choose option 3 to allow us to enter the zimbra-store section.
Address unconfigured (**) items (? – help) 3
  • Next, choose 3 again. This will allow us to configure the admin username and password.
Select, or ‘r’ for the previous menu [r] 3

Create admin user: []

Password for (min 6 characters): [_6ty6y8ui] password
  • Next, choose r to return to the previous menu.
Select, or ‘r’ for the previous menu [r] r
  • Then, choose 1 to go to the common configuration section.
*** CONFIGURATION COMPLETE – press ‘a’ to apply

Select from menu, or press ‘a’ to apply config (? – help) 1
  • After this, choose 6 to edit the time zone.
Select, or ‘r’ for the previous menu [r] 6
  • Here, you should choose the number relative to the time zone you are in. For example, you could type 83 to get the Europe/London time zone.
Enter the number for the local timezone: [39] 83
  • Then choose ‘r’ to return and ‘a’ to apply the configuration. You should also choose the log the installation to a file, in case any errors arise.
Select, or ‘r’ for the previous menu [r] r
*** CONFIGURATION COMPLETE – press ‘a’ to apply

Select from menu, or press ‘a’ to apply config (? – help) a
Save configuration data to a file? [Yes] yes
Save config in file: [/opt/zimbra/config.7622] /root/zimbra-installation.txt
Saving config in /root/zimbra-installation.txt…done.
The system will be modified – continue? [No] yes
  • The system will then continue the installation. Setup of Zimbra should take about 20 minutes, depending on the Droplet size.
  • Finally, we’ll be given the option of notifying Zimbra of the installation, which allows them to track the uptake of their products.
    We can either type ‘yes’ or ‘no’ here, either way, this is the final step of the installation. We can make sure that the installation was successful from the final confirmation message:
Configuration complete – press return to exit
  • It is recommended to reboot the Droplet.

The control panel can be easily accessed by visiting the following URL:

[Stuck with the installation? We are here for you]



To conclude, we saw an effective method our Support Techs employ in order to Install Zimbra on Digitalocean.


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