DKIM signing module

The DKIM signing module has been added in Rspamd 1.5 to provide a relatively simple way to configure DKIM signing, the more flexible alternative being sign_condition in the DKIM module.

DKIM signing currently works with Milter based MTAs (Sendmail, Postfix), Haraka & Communigate. For DKIM signing to work, you must scan outbound mail with rspamd.

Principles of operation

The DKIM signing module chooses signing domains and selectors according to a predefined policy which can be modified with various settings. Description of this default policy follows:

  • To be eligible for signing, a mail must be received from an authenticated user OR a reserved (local) IP address OR an address in the sign_networks map (if defined)
  • If envelope from address is not empty, the effective second level domain must match the MIME header From
  • If authenticated user is present, this should be suffixed with @domain where domain is what’s seen in the envelope/header From address
  • Selector and path to key are selected from the domain-specific config if present, falling back to global config

The default global config (fallback mode) searches for keys at the defined path. The path is constructed using the eSLD normalized domain name of header from and the default selector defined with selector (dkim). So the search path for would be /var/lib/rspamd/dkim/ If a key is found the message will be signed.

When using file-based DKIM private keys, ensure that the Rspamd scanner processes (e.g. normal worker, controller or a proxy in self-scan mode) have at least read access to the signing keys, i.e. the keys should be accessible to the user/group _rspamd.


# local.d/dkim_signing.conf

# If false, messages with empty envelope from are not signed
allow_envfrom_empty = true;

# If true, envelope/header domain mismatch is ignored
allow_hdrfrom_mismatch = false;

# If true, multiple from headers are allowed (but only first is used)
allow_hdrfrom_multiple = false;

# If true, username does not need to contain matching domain
allow_username_mismatch = false;

# Default path to key, can include '$domain' and '$selector' variables
path = "/var/lib/rspamd/dkim/$domain.$selector.key";

# Default selector to use
selector = "dkim";

# If false, messages from authenticated users are not selected for signing
sign_authenticated = true;

# If false, messages from local networks are not selected for signing
sign_local = true;

# Map file of IP addresses/subnets to consider for signing
# sign_networks = "/some/file"; # or url

# Symbol to add when message is signed
symbol = "DKIM_SIGNED";

# Whether to fallback to global config
try_fallback = true;

# Domain to use for DKIM signing: can be "header" (MIME From), "envelope" (SMTP From) or "auth" (SMTP username)
use_domain = "header";

# Domain to use for DKIM signing when sender is in sign_networks ("header"/"envelope"/"auth")
#use_domain_sign_networks = "header";

# Domain to use for DKIM signing when sender is a local IP ("header"/"envelope"/"auth")
#use_domain_sign_local = "header";

# Whether to normalise domains to eSLD
use_esld = true;

# Whether to get keys from Redis
use_redis = false;

# Hash for DKIM keys in Redis
key_prefix = "DKIM_KEYS";

# map of domains -> names of selectors (since rspamd 1.5.3)
#selector_map = "/etc/rspamd/";

# map of domains -> paths to keys (since rspamd 1.5.3)
#path_map = "/etc/rspamd/";

# If `true` get pubkey from DNS record and check if it matches private key
check_pubkey = false;
# Set to `false` if you want to skip signing if public and private keys mismatch
allow_pubkey_mismatch = true;

# Domain specific settings
domain {

  # Domain name is used as key {

    # Private key path
    path = "/var/lib/rspamd/dkim/example.key";

    # Selector
    selector = "ds";



To disable DKIM signing (i.e. you use OpenDKIM, or signing is done elsewhere)

# local.d/dkim_signing.conf
enabled = false;


# override.d/dkim_signing.conf
enabled = false;

DKIM key management

Rspamd always uses relaxed/relaxed encoding with the rsa-sha256 signature algorithm. This selection seems to be the most appropriate for all cases. Rspamd adds a special element called DKIM-Signature to the output when signing has been done.

You can generate DKIM keys for your domain using the included rspamadm dkim_keygen utility:

rspamadm dkim_keygen -s 'test' -d

test._domainkey IN TXT ( "v=DKIM1; k=rsa; "
  "p=MIGJAoGBALBrq9K6yxAXHwircsTnDTsd2Kg426z02AnoKTvyYNqwYT5Dxa02lyOiAXloXVIJsyfuGOOoSx543D7DGWw0plgElHXKStXy1TZ7fJfbEtuc5RASIKqOAT1iHGfGB1SZzjt3a3vJBhoStjvLulw4h8NC2jep96/QGuK8G/3b/SJNAgMBAAE=" ) ;

Between -----BEGIN PRIVATE KEY----- and -----END PRIVATE KEY----- is your DKIM private key (use the -k switch to save to file). The second part is the public DNS TXT record that you should place in your DNS zone file. This command can also save both private and public parts to files.

For an RSA key of 2048 bits:

rspamadm dkim_keygen -s 'woosh' -b 2048 -d -k example.private > example.txt
  • > example.txt re-directs the DNS TXT record output to example.txt
  • -k example.private saves your private key to the file example.private
  • -d specifies the domain as (currently meaningless)
  • -b 2048 specifies a 2048 bit key size (the standard default 1024 bit size is weak)
  • -s 'woosh' names the selector woosh i.e. woosh._domainkey

Or for an Ed25519 key:

rspamadm dkim_keygen -s 'woosh' -d -t ed25519 -k woosh-ed25519.private > woosh-ed25519.txt
  • -t ed25519 specifies key type Ed25519
  • Note: using -b together with Ed25519 has no effect. There is no variable key length with Ed25519.

Note that as of 2019-09, Ed25519 keys are not yet widely supported in software, so using this key-type exclusively in production is not yet recommended, and may result in mail being rejected. If you do use this key type, use it in combination with an RSA key also, in case a recipient domain is unable to parse Ed25519 keys/signatures - then it will have something to fall back to.


domain { {
    selectors [
       path: ".../configs/dkim.key";
       selector: "dkim";
       path: ".../configs/dkim-eddsa.key";
       selector: "eddsa";

Verifying your private keys

To verify any generated private RSA key with OpenSSL (and also Ed25519 keys if your OpenSSL >= 1.1.1):

openssl pkey -text -noout -in example.private
Private-Key: (2048 bit)
publicExponent: 65537 (0x10001)

You can also configure dkim_signing module to verify the published pubkey record to match the selected private key by setting option check_pubkey to true (it is false by default). However, please be aware that it might cause an extra DNS request on signing.

DKIM keys in Redis

To use DKIM keys stored in Redis you should add the following to configuration:

# local.d/dkim_signing.conf
use_redis = true;
key_prefix = "DKIM_KEYS";
selector = "myselector";

… and populate the named hash with DKIM keys; for example the following Lua script could be run with redis-cli --eval:

local key = [[-----BEGIN PRIVATE KEY-----
-----END PRIVATE KEY-----]]'HMSET', 'DKIM_KEYS', '', key)

The selector will be chosen as per usual (a domain-specific selector will be used if configured, otherwise the global setting is used).

Using maps

Since Rspamd 1.5.3, one or both of selector_map or path_map can be used to look up selectors and paths to private keys respectively (using the DKIM signing domain as the key). If entries are found, these will override default settings.

In the following configuration we define a templatised path for the DKIM signing key, a default selector, and a map which could be used for overriding the default selector (and hence effective path to the signing key as well). Any eligible mail will be signed given there is a suitably-named key on disk.

# local.d/dkim_signing.conf
try_fallback = true;
path = "/var/lib/rspamd/dkim/$domain.$selector.key";
selector_map = "/etc/rspamd/";
selector = "dkim";

In the following configuration, we attempt to sign only domains which are present in both selector_map and path_map:

# local.d/dkim_signing.conf
try_fallback = false;
selector_map = "/etc/rspamd/";
path_map = "/etc/rspamd/";

Format of the maps should be as shown:

$ head -1 /etc/rspamd/ dkim
$ head -1 /etc/rspamd/ /var/lib/rspamd/dkim/$selector.key

Use of signing_table

From the version 1.9.2, Rspamd supports OpenDKIM compatible settings:

  • signing_table:

Defines a table used to select one or more signatures to apply to a message based on the address found in the From: header field. Keys in this table vary depending on the type of table used; values in this data set should include one field that contains a name found in the KeyTable (see above) that identifies which key should be used in generating the signature, and an optional second field naming the signer of the message that will be included in the “i=” tag in the generated signature. Note that the “i=” value will not be included in the signature if it conflicts with the signing domain (the “d=” value).

If the first field contains only a “%” character, it will be replaced by the domain found in the From: header field. Similarly, within the optional second field, any “%” character will be replaced by the domain found in the From: header field.

In Rspamd, this table is treated as refile! So you should use glob style regular expressions to do matching.

  • key_table

Gives the location of a file mapping key names to signing keys. If present, overrides any KeyFile setting in the configuration file. The data set named here maps each key name to three values: (a) the name of the domain to use in the signature’s “d=” value; (b) the name of the selector to use in the signature’s “s=” value; and (c) either a private key or a path to a file containing a private key. If the first value consists solely of a percent sign (“%”) character, it will be replaced by the apparent domain of the sender when generating a signature. If the third value starts with a slash (“/”) character, or “./” or “../”, then it is presumed to refer to a file from which the private key should be read, otherwise it is itself a PEM-encoded private key or a base64-encoded DER private key; a “%” in the third value in this case will be replaced by the apparent domain name of the sender. The SigningTable (see below) is used to select records from this table to be used to add signatures based on the message sender.

Rspamd also supports embedded tables as for all other maps in the config, e.g. here is a sample used for functional testing:

# local.d/dkim_signing.conf
signing_table = [

key_table = [
  " %:eddsa:m5kGxtckRfsNe5EuYTe7bvkDjSh7LXaX3aXyIMPGLR0=",

When using these options, they passthrough all mismatch checks. The only meaninglful setting is sign_networks in this mode as it corresponds with OpenDKIM behaviour. Otherwise, Rspamd will perform signing based on matching of the Mime From header with the entries in signing_table

HTTP headers based DKIM signing

To simplify REST services integration, Rspamd supports dkim signing based solely on HTTP request headers. To use this feature one can use the boolean setting called use_http_headers. When this mode is enabled Rspamd ignores all other ways to sign message and wait merely for the specified request headers (not email headers!):

Header Definition
PerformDkimSign Switch DKIM signing on (if Yes)
SignOnAuthFailed Sign messages with failed DKIM (dkim check must be performed before)
DkimDomain Dkim signing domain
DkimSelector Selector for signing
DkimPrivateKey Private key encoded in Base64

All headers are mandatory. Dkim check dependency is automatically enabled but you need to ensure that DKIM_CHECK has been enabled in user settings. This mode is normally used in conjunction with Setting header that allows bypassing of the resting checks (see Users settings) documentation for more details).

DKIM signing using Vault

From version 1.9.3, Rspamd can use Hashicorp Vault to store and manage DKIM keys. Vault usage provides secure and flexible storage of the private keys that can scale and use various backends to store sensible data (secrets).

You need to create a KV storage version 1 to store DKIM keys. You can read more about it here.

To use keys in Rspamd you could add the following lines to local.d/dkim_signing.conf (or arc.conf for ARC signing):

use_vault = true;

vault_domains = [""]; # or file/http map path
vault_url = ""; # or https url if using production vault
vault_token = "s.AhTThjWhKZAf97VowxG6blyu"; # as generated by vault tokens

To store the vault token securely, you can use JINJA templates and environment/lua variables:

use_vault = true;

vault_domains = [""]; # or file/http map path
vault_url = ""; # or https url if using production vault
vault_token = "{= VAULT_TOKEN =}"; # as generated by vault tokens

And start Rspamd with the environment variable:

RSPAMD_VAULT_TOKEN="s.AhTThjWhKZAf97VowxG6blyu" rspamd ...

Rspamd also provides keys management tools using rspamadm command. It can do the following things:

  • Create new keys:
rspamadm vault create
  • Create or add new ed25519 keys:
rspamadm vault create --algorithm eddsa
  • Delete keys
rspamadm vault del
  • Perform safe keys rotation:
rspamadm vault rotate

During rotation, Rspamd creates a new set of keys for each algorithm represented in the vault. New selectors are chosen according to the current date and key type, e.g. rsa-20190501. Old keys are preserved but their expire date is set to stop their usage over ttl grace time (1 day by default). During this grace period, Rspamd will sign using both selectors.

For example, if you have rsa-20190501 and ed25519-20190501 selectors and you want to roll them to 20190601 then two new keys will be created: rsa-20190601 and ed25519-20190601. For the grace period, specifically to 20190602, Rspamd will produce 4 DKIM signatures to allow DNS rollover for the new key. This logic allows to have safe and secure keys rotation providing enough time to work around various DNS caches.

Rotate subcommand can also remove all expired keys from the vault.

Sign headers

Rspamd allows to change headers that are required to be signed. From Rspamd 1.7.3, you can specify them as sign_headers option. By default, Rspamd distinguish two options:

  • Normal headers: they are signed as many times as you specify them. Important security notice: an attacker can add arbitrary headers with the same name before the headers signed and will still get a valid signature. This option is thus recommended for headers that are non visible to users. We want transport headers to be treated as normal headers here.
  • Oversigned headers: these headers are signed N + 1 times even if N==0. Oversigned headers cannot be appended to a message. We usually want displayed or meaningful headers to be oversigned here.
  • Optionally oversigned headers (from 1.9.3): these headers are signed N + 1 times if N<>0 only. Oversigned headers cannot be appended to a message. We usually want displayed but optional headers to be oversigned in this way.

Oversigned headers are prefixed with (o) string. Optionally oversigned headers are prefixed with (x) string.

Default sign_headers (after 1.9.3)

For DKIM signing, Rspamd uses the following default list:


Here is the summary of the list above:

Header Sign type
From Strictly oversign
Sender Conditionally oversign
Reply-To Strictly oversign
Subject Strictly oversign
Date Conditionally oversign
Message-Id Conditionally oversign
To Strictly oversign
Cc Strictly oversign
Mime-Version Conditionally oversign
Content-Type Conditionally oversign
Content-Transfer-Encoding Conditionally oversign
Resent-To Do not oversign
Resent-Cc Do not oversign
Resent-From Do not oversign
Resent-Sender Do not oversign
Resent-Message-Id Do not oversign
In-Reply-To Conditionally oversign
References Conditionally oversign
List-Id Do not oversign
List-Help Do not oversign
List-Owner Do not oversign
List-Unsubscribe Do not oversign
List-Unsubscribe-Post Do not oversign
List-Subscribe Do not oversign
List-Post Do not oversign
Openpgp Conditionally oversign
Autocrypt Conditionally oversign

Rules of headers sign

sign_headers lists headers that are:

  • signed n times if they are present n times
  • for the n = 0 case this would mean that headers are not signed if they are not present. Oversigned headers are still signed one time to prevent adding a header with this name. Optionally oversigned headers are excluded from that.
  • headers listed as oversigned are signed n + 1 times

Issues using Sendmail on DKIM signing and verification

This part of the documentation has been contributed by Dilyan Palauzov.

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.

  • 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, Rspamd only observes 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 valid.

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

    conf(confMUST_QUOTE_CHARS', ’)
  • 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.

  • Similar to the first bullet 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 Rspamd has seen the message, meaning the signature Rspamd 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 settings of Rspamd 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. You can do such a split using user settings.

Optimize signing only mode

If you intend to run Rspamd for DKIM signing only in certain conditions, then please use the user settings as following:

# local.d/settings.conf
dkim_signing {
  ... # Add conditions to match this setting
  apply {
    symbols_enabled = ["DKIM_SIGNED"];
    flags = ["skip_process"]; # Disable expensive MIME processing