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Quick install guide

You can install Cyrus SASL via packages or via tarball.

Tarball installation

Fetch the latest Cyrus SASL tarball from

Untar it then:

cd (directory it was untarred into)
make install
ln -s /usr/local/lib/sasl2 /usr/lib/sasl2

Contributors will want to compile from source.

Unix package Installation

Are you upgrading from Cyrus SASLv1?

Please see the file install.php for instructions on how to install this package.

Note that the library can use the environment variable SASL_PATH to locate the directory where the mechanisms are; this should be a colon-separated list of directories containing plugins. Otherwise it will default to the value of –with-plugindir as supplied to configure (which itself defaults to /usr/local/lib).

Extra information for Mac OSX installation.

Extra information for Windows installation. This configuration has not been extensively tested.


There are two main ways to configure the SASL library for a given application. The first (and typically easiest) is to make use of the application’s configuration files. Provided the application supports it (via the SASL_CB_GETOPT callback), please refer to that documentation for how to supply SASL options.

Alternatively, Cyrus SASL looks for configuration files in /usr/lib/sasl/Appname.conf where Appname is settable by the application (for example, Sendmail 8.10 and later set this to “Sendmail”).

Configuration using the application’s configuration files (via the getopt callback) will override those supplied by the SASL configuration files.

For a detailed guide on configuring libsasl, please look at sysadmin.php and options.php

Detailed installation guide

Before reading this section, please be sure you are comfortable with the concepts presented in the components guide and in the Quickstart guide.

You will want to have answered the following questions about your intended installation:

1. What mechanisms do you want to support? Are they plaintext (PLAIN), shared secret (SCRAM), or Kerberos (GSSAPI)? Perhaps you will use some combination (generally plaintext with one of the other two types). 2. Given the answer to the previous question, how will the mechanisms perform user verification?

  • Kerberos mechanisms just need your existing Kerberos infrastructure.

  • The shared secret mechanisms will need an auxprop plugin backend.

  • The plaintext mechanisms can make do with saslauthd, Courier authdaemond (not included), or by using an auxprop plugin backend.

  • To use Kerberos and Plaintext, you’ll want to use saslauthd with a kerberos module for plaintext authentication. To use Shared Secret and plaintext, you’ll want to use the auxprop plugin for password verification.

3. If you are using an auxprop plugin, will you be using SASLdb (and if so, LMDB [recommended], GDBM, or NDBM?), LDAP or an SQL backend (Postgres? MySQL?). 4. If you are using saslauthd, what module will you be using? LDAP? Kerberos? PAM? 5. Also if you are using saslauthd, what communication (IPC) method do you want to use? On most systems, the correct answer is the default (unix sockets), but on Solaris you can use IPC doors, which have proven to be more stable than equivalent Solaris systems using unix sockets.

Once you have answered these questions, properly configuring a working configuration of Cyrus SASL becomes easier.


  1. You’ll need the source from

  2. You’ll need GNU make.

  3. If you are using SASLdb, you will need to pick your backend. libsasl2 can use gdbm, LMDB, or ndbm to implement its user/password lookup. Most systems come with ndbm.

  4. If you are using SQL, you’ll need to properly configure your server/tables, and build the necessary client libraries on the system where you will be building and using SASL. Currently we support PostgreSQL v7.2 (or higher) and MySQL.

  5. If you are using LDAPDB, you’ll need SASL enabled OpenLDAP libraries. v2.1.27 (or higher) or v2.2.6 (or higher) is supported.

  6. For Kerberos support, you’ll need the kerberos libraries.

  7. For GSSAPI support you will need either MIT Kerberos 5, the Heimdal or CyberSafe.

Build Configuration

Once you have answered all the necessary questions and installed (and tested!) any required packages for your configuration, you are ready to build SASL. Building SASL is done with the aid of an autoconf configure script, which has a lot of options. Be sure to read the output of configure --help to be sure you aren’t missing any. Note that an --enable-foo option has a counterpart --disable-foo to not enable that feature.

Some of the most important configuration options are those which allow you to turn off the compilation of modules you do not need. This is often the easiest way to solve compilation problems with Cyrus SASL. If you’re not going to need a particular mechanism, don’t build it! Not building them can also add performance improvements as it does take system resources to load a given plugin, even if that plugin is otherwise unused (even when it is disabled via the mech_list option).

As of this writing, modules that are enabled by default but may not be applicable to all systems include SCRAM, OTP, GSSAPI, PLAIN, and ANONYMOUS. These can be disabled with:

``--disable-scram``, ``--disable-otp``,
``--disable-plain``, and ``--disable-anon`` respectively.

If you are using an SQL auxprop plugin, you may want to specify one or more of --enable-sql, --with-mysql=PATH, and --with-pgsql=PATH, note that PATH in the later two should be replaced with the path where you installed the necessary client libraries.

If you are using LDAPDB auxprop plugin, you will need to specify --enable-ldapdb and --with-ldap=PATH. Warning: LDAPDB auxprop plugin (and LDAP enabled saslauthd) introduces a circular dependency between OpenLDAP and SASL. I.e., you must have OpenLDAP already built when building LDAPDB in SASL. In order for LDAPDB to work at runtime, you must have OpenLDAP already built with SASL support. One way to solve this issue is to build Cyrus SASL first without ldap support, then build OpenLDAP, and then come back to SASL and build LDAPDB.

If you’re not planning on using SASLdb at all, it may be worth your time to disable its use entirely with the --with-dblib=none option.

If you are planning on using LDAP with saslauthd, be sure to specify the --with-ldap=PATH option to configure.

Building and Installation

After configure runs, you should be able to build SASL just by running make. If this runs into problems, be sure that you have disabled everything that your system doesn’t need, and that you have correctly specified paths to any dependencies you may have.

To install the library, run make install as root followed by ln -s /usr/local/lib/sasl2 /usr/lib/sasl2 (modified for your installation path as appropriate). Be sure to do this last step or SASL will not be able to locate your plugins!

Compilation Hints

You may need to play with your CPPFLAGS and LDFLAGS if you’re using vendor compilers. We use gcc extensively, but you’ll probably have more luck if you use the same compiler for the library as you do for your applications. You can see what compilers we use on our platforms by looking at the “SMakefile”.

Application Configuration

Please read about the SASL Options to learn what needs to be configured so that applications can successfully use the SASL library.

You will want to ensure that the settings of pwcheck_method and auxprop_plugin match the decisions you made about your authentication infrastructure. (For example, if you are using saslauthd as a password verifier, you’ll want to be sure to set pwcheck_method: saslauthd).

If you are using saslauthd, you will want to arrange for saslauthd -a pam (or ldap, etc) to be run at boot. If you are not going to be using saslauthd, then this is not necessary.

Many of these pieces are covered in more detail in the SASL System Administrator’s Guide.

Supported platforms

This has been tested under Linux 2.2, Linux 2.4, Solaris 2.7 and Solaris 2.8. It should work under any platform where dynamic objects can be linked against other dynamic objects, and where the dynamic library file extension is “.so”, or where libtool creates the .la files correctly. There is also documentation for Win32, MacOS X, and OS/390.