Changing From SquirrelMail To Atmail Open With ISPConfig 3

@Mail Open

Author: Sellotape
Version: 1.00
Last edited: Saturday, 04th December 2010

Atmail Open is an open source webmail client which is available free of charge and is a great alternative to Squirrelmail. This tutorial shows how to use it with ISPConfig 3 (instead of SquirrelMail). More information available here...


Step 1 - Create A Database

First we need to create a database for Atmail.

  • Open up ISPConfig and go to Sites.
  • Select Database from the sub-navigation menu on the left.
  • Click on Add new Database
  • Create a Database name, Database user and a Database password


Step 2 - Backup Squirrelmail

Just in case it all goes wrong - we need to backup Squirrelmail.

cd /usr/share
mv squirrelmail squirrelmail.bak
mkdir squirrelmail


Step 3 -Download, Unpack And Remove Unnecessary Files

I was unable to get the latest version of Atmail open to work with my setup. For the purpose of this tutorial; we will be using v1.01 - Please feel free to let me know if you find a way to get the latest version working.

cd squirrelmail
tar xvfz atmailopen-1.01.tgz
cd atmailopen
mv * ../
cd ../
rm –r atmailopen
rm atmailopen-1.01.tgz


Step 4 - Make Atmail Open Writeable For Apache

chown –R [Apache-user] /usr/share/squirrelmail

Please note: On Debian systems, replace [Apache-user] with www-data. The Apache user on other Linux distributions might be different.


Step 5 - Install Atmail Open To Your Server

In your preferred browser, go to http://yourdomain.tld/webmail. You'll be required to read the on-screen instructions and read the licence agreement. Providing you accept you can continue!


Step 6 - Connect To The Database

In Step 1 we created a database in ISPConfig and we're now need to enter the details into the AtMail Open...

Connect to the database


Step 7 - Define The SMTP Host

Enter the SMTP Host (in this example we assume it is localhost). Whether or not you require Authentication (e.g. if you need to use a mail relayer to send e-mail) and an Administrator E-mail Address.



Step 8 - Import Data From SquirrelMail (Or Another Webmail System)

At this step, you have the possibility to import data from other popular webmail systems. Should you decide to do this, please select Squirremail and enter the database connetion settings and click 'Continue'

Import data


Step 9 - All done! Log In To Atmail Open

You can now log in to your new Atmail Open Webmail system! It's all good to go from here but if you like, follow Step 10 to customise your login screen.

Login to Atmail


Step 10 - Customise The Login Screen

In this step we will cover how to remove the Mailserver, Language and Protocol fields from the login screen and define default settings so we don't need to input them manually everytime we login.

vi /usr/share/squirrelmail/html/login-light.html

Find the lines below and edit accordingly...

Login Header / Title text

< td >Webmail Access< /td >

Instructions to login / Custom Message

< td >< div id="AuthStatus" class="logintext" style="padding-left: 4px;" >Please provide your username and password.< /div >< /td >

Hide 'Mailserver; field from login page and set default to 'localhost'


< tr id="mailserver" >

And change to...

< tr id="mailserver" style="display:none;" >


< td align="left" >< input name="MailServer" type="text" class="logininput" id="MailServer">< /td >

And change to...

< td align="left" >< input name="MailServer" type="text" class="logininput" id="MailServer" value="localhost" >< /td >

Hide protocol from login page


< tr id="protocol" >

And change to...

< tr id="protocol" style="display:none;" >

Hide Language from login page


< tr >
     < td > < /td >
     < td colspan="2" align="right" >Language:< /td >

And change the < tr > tag to...

< tr style="display:none;" >

Please let me know if you have any suggestions to improve this tutorial... Enjoy!

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5 Comment(s)

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By: Anonymous

it seems that the reasons that debian didn't package atmail open source edition, were very serious :

 i thought about testing it, but after this, i'll probably wont.. 

By: Anonymous


please remember, if you use "apt-get remove --purge squirrelmail"

then the apache setting to the squirrelmail folder ( /usr/share/squirrelmail )
will be gone also.

a tip is,

copy the apache.conf file in the squirrelmail folder, and edit that file to you needs.

copy it in /etc/apache/conf.d/ (name it atmail.conf )

Now you can put atmail also in /var/www/atmail but dont forget to edit the conf file.



Hi there.

Thanks for your comment and tips for improving the tutorial, greatly appreciated!

I wrote this tutorial only for people who may want to find out how it could be done should they wish to install Atmail Open with ISPConfig.

To summarise anon's comment. If you automatically update your server; Squirrelmail may automatically update and replace the Atmail open files with it's own.

Naturally this would be undersirable if you have followed this tutorial so as an alternative to STEP 2 in this tutorial you may want to REMOVE Squirrelmail from your system completely by using the folliwing commands.


apt-get remove squirrelmail


apt-get remove --purge squirrelmail


Again thank you for your advice and feedback!

By: Anonymous

Hi, Why are you making a backup of squirrelmail and why are you using the squirrelmail folder.
IF squirrelmail is upgraded from debian, it wil write the new files in squirrelmail folder again.
better is to remove the squirremail from the system. and leave the settings
use apt-get  remove squirrelmail  and nog apt-get remove --purge squirrelmail.

Also why would you remove a maintained packaged by debian for a not maintained package.

This wil make you system less secure.



By: Anonymous

I would stay far away from ATMail.  Their commodity product has caused them to do some very unethical business practices and they do not stand behind their product.  I speak from first hand dealing with them on a project.