Installing PhpBB3 forum in Workstation

Hi everyone,

I am very new in Whonix and I’d like to say it’s a very good work.
By now I am testing with the version 7.
I have an Ubuntu host with the two VMs inside (Gateway+Workstation), I have activated the hidden service and installed a forum (PhpBB3).
everything is working, I have access to the forum in the Tor network.
My problem is that I cannot send emails from the Workstation. I have reconfigured exim in the Workstation but when I send an email from the forum or from the command line I have a “host lookup did not complete” message in the exim’s log.
I don’t know if this is the right place for this question… I have searched and I have found out that the problem is in the /etc/resolv.conf and I have to change the resolvers.
so my question is, what do I have to do to resolve the host lookup of exim? what are the risks of changing the nameservers in the resolv.conf (Gateway)?
can I put opendns for example? or is it something else I am doing wrong??

I will appreciate any answer to clear my problem…


Whonix 7 is no longer supported. Please use Whonix 8 instead. Your problem however is likely (not impossible) not related to Whonix 7 vs Whonix 8.

Since it’s very Whonix specific, it’s ok to ask here.

Don’t make change to Whonix-Gateway’s /etc/resolv.conf. It does not affect hidden services. It also does not affect how Whonix-Workstation is resolving DNS. (System DNS from Whonix-Workstation, i.e. /etc/resolv.conf are redirected to Tor’s DnsPort running on Whonix-Gateway. Socksified Whonix-Workstation such as XChat are using a Tor SocksPort running on Whonix-Gateway, which also supports resolving DNS.)

Experimenting with /etc/resolv.conf on Whonix-Workstation is safer than the above, though.

I can’t give you step by step instructions on how to solve this. But outline a few approaches. Let us know if you succeeded.

Getting SMTP to work over Tor will be difficult anyway due to limitations in Tor. (No extra limitations by Whonix. If anything, Whonix makes it simpler to find a solution to such issues without IP leaks.)

  1. many Tor exit relays are blocking popular SMTP ports. I don’t know if there are any Tor exit relays supporting popular SMTP ports. Last time I checked there were. Finding this out is left as an exercise for the reader to find out, please tell us your results.
  2. Tor does not support MX DNS requests yet, which are required for e-mail over Tor. (Support all kinds of DNS over Tor (#7829) · Issues · Legacy / Trac · GitLab)


Hi Patrick, and thank you very much for your fast answer…

I have downloaded Whonix 8 and I am planning to migrate all my tests to the new version.
Thank you again for all the information, I have made a test with Mixmaster with the same message “host lookup did not complete” .
Any way, I tried changing to openDns in the Workstation and nothing.
I will read your suggestion “/wiki/Secondary_DNS_Resolver”.

I only want to send emails using php mail() (forum PhpBB3) and I’m not searching for complicated configurations.

I really appreciate the help and suggestions… I’ll give it a try…
So if anyone have made an installation of phpBB3 in Whonix-Workstation your suggestions are welcome either…


I tested using mixmaster using the standard way. (Just as documented in If that doesn’t work, please open a new topic. Probably will work. Currently testing and waiting for mail.

Clear to me. People want to get things done with computers. I wouldn’t know anyone looking for complicated configurations. What you’re asking for is a complicated plan, will probably require complicated implementation.

Well, getting phpBB running is probably not that difficult. Getting it’s mail function will be more difficult. Are there any existing .onion forums around that have a functional forum mailer? I guess you’ll be the first one.

thank you again !!!

:slight_smile: I think that this was the first question I had to make… phpBB is running… :-[ did’nt know of mailers in .onion forums…
so, I give up.

Like I said, I tested and got the same message… I don’t have error messages when I send, like in phpBB, it sends, but looking in the log of exim4 “host lookup did not complete” in real the email is not sended…

You’re right… no complications… I use the php mail() function in a normal forum or website and works… So I wanted to understand if I have to do a configuration in Whonix to get it working… So, like I said, I am very new… and didn’t know about the forum mailers in .onion.

Thank you again…