Postfix on a NixOS null client with external catch-all

Tags: nixos infrastructure

I wanted to set up a server so that any local email (e.g. generated by cron jobs/systemd timers) would be forwarded to an external address, regardless of the user. I also wanted the from address to keep the system hostname whilst not allowing any external use of the mailserver.

It took me a while to figure out how to this, so I thought I'd share my method.

Here's the config that can be used to do this on any NixOS host, after redefining the first two variables.

1services.postfix = let
2 localUser = "example-user";
3 forwardingAddress = "user@external.domain";
6 enable = true;
7 destination = [];
8 domain = config.networking.domain;
9 virtual = ''
10 @${config.networking.hostName}.${config.networking.domain} ${localUser}
11 ${localUser} ${forwardingAddress}
12 '';
13 config = {
14 inet_interfaces = "loopback-only";
15 };

Emails to any user without a domain part are all sent to the forwarding address with a clear from address (e.g. System administrator <>).


First, the basic setup for a null client can be found in the postfix documentation. The example config would be translated into NixOS like so:

services.postfix = {
  enable = true;
  destination = [];
  domain = config.networking.domain;
  origin = config.networking.domain;
  relayHost = config.networking.domain;
  lookupMX = true;
  config = {
    inet_interfaces = "loopback-only";

However, this rewrites to (due to origin on line 5). I wanted to be able to see which host a mail concerns.