How to set up OTRS on Ubuntu

First, little info about OTRS taken from Wikipedia:
OTRS, an initialism for Open-source Ticket Request System, is a free and open-source trouble ticket system software package that a company, organization, or other entity can use to assign tickets to incoming queries and track further communications about them. It is a means of managing incoming inquiries, complaints, support requests, defect reports, and other communications.

So my interest in OTRS started couple of months ago. We had been using a very outdated ticketing system in my workplace for years and were thinking of changing to a better one. So as I was working during the summer holidays, I had time to look for an alternative. Found OTRS, set it up on my test server, tested for a few weeks and then migrated it to our production environment. Now we’ve been using OTRS for a month. Works like a charm. Usually if something is not working right in OTRS, it’s only a misconfiguration and easily fixed with the web GUI. Now we were also able to replace an old Windows server with an Ubuntu server. Slowly migrating from Windows to Linux… 😉

On thing that we didn’t do is moving all old tickets from the old system to OTRS. We did consider it but decided not to do it. We actually have the old ticket database table on an excel sheet now. 😀

Easy to install with apt.
Used by NASA! 🙂

Installation guide

Here’s the guide if you want to set up OTRS Ticketing System. I won’t go into too much detail here but this guide will get you started.

Ubuntu Server 12.10
Ubuntu Server 13.04
PostgreSQL 9.1.9
OTRS 3.1.7

OTRS 3.1.7 is the version that you get at the moment when installing from apt. It’s not the latest but it’s not too old either.

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install otrs

You’ll have to configure postfix mail server during the installation if you don’t have one already.

You’ll also have to choose which database to use: MySQL or PostgreSQL.

I chose PostgreSQL but I’ve noticed that most of the OTRS tutorials are usually only for MySQL so you might want to use that. Rest of my OTRS tutorials will be for PostgreSQL though. Next tutorial (if I make one) will be about OTRS backup/restore/migration on Ubuntu.

firefox http://localhost/otrs

Login with default credentials:
user: root@localhost
pw: root

Change the root password first and then create a new agent for the rest of the configuration.

You should to go through the settings in the the order that i’ve marked on this screenshot:

The most important are those that i’ve marked red. You might want to look at the yellow ones as well but the rest is not so important at this point.

So what configuration changes should you at least do:

1. SysConfig
Group: Framework
Subgroup: Core

CheckMXRecord (keep this setting in mind and if you have trouble later with emails set this to No)
NotificationSenderName (Not necessary to change this but maybe you’ll want to)

Group: Framework
Subgroup: Core::Sendmail


There’s many more settings in SysConfig you might want to go through eventually but those are the most important ones at this point.

2. PostMaster Mail Accounts
This is the email account which will access the mailbox that receives tickets from customers. We have a Microsoft Exchange server on our network so I used these settings:

Type: IMAP
Username: domain\user (the username of the otrs mailbox)
Password: ******************

Use default settings for the rest.

3. Email Addresses

Set up your email addresses (at least one) and the queues for them. These are the addresses for sending email from OTRS.

4. Agent Management

Just go through all of these settings one by one.
Groups and roles can be used in queue management so they’re quite useful.

5. Queue Settings

Start with Queues, Salutations and Signatures and then go through the rest of the settings

Since there’s no proper categories for tickets in default OTRS installation, you can use different queues to categorize the tickets.

Ticket Settings

Notice that if you use types with tickets, you’ll also want to enable Type in SysConfig – Group: Ticket, SubGroup: Core::Ticket

Postmaster Filters

Here it’s possible to create filters for incoming emails. I have used this to sort emails automatically to different queues based on their email subject.

Changing the mail fetching interval

OTRS fetches emails in 10 minute intervals. If this is too slow for you (or too fast), you can change the interval in /etc/otrs/cron

# fetch emails every 10 minutes
*/10 * * * * otrs $HOME/bin/ > /dev/null

To change interval to 3 minutes:
*/3 * * * * otrs $HOME/bin/ > /dev/null


To see if your OTRS is working correctly, send email to the OTRS email account that you defined in PostMaster Mail Accounts.
You should see the email in OTRS Dashboard when OTRS fetches it.

When you get the email, try answering it from OTRS. If you get the answer, your OTRS is working as it should.

4 responses to “How to set up OTRS on Ubuntu

  1. Swati June 19, 2015 at 10:03 am

    I am using OTRS 3.5
    I having a problem in Auto Fetch Mail.Auto Fecth mail is working Automatically.I have to click the FetchMail button to Fetch the mails.
    I have set the cron job also ,But still its not woring.
    Please suggest !!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Jonathan August 6, 2015 at 4:28 pm

    excelent how-to. Thank you

    Greetings from Argentina, i want to know if OTRS can autoresponse an email with the ticket number to the original sender…

    Sorry for my bad english!!

  3. Derek October 13, 2016 at 8:18 am

    Hi All

    Thank you for the great instructions. Can you please let me know how I now make otrs my default page. Currently to access OTRS I key in my browser localhost/otrs and I can then sign in, but how do I make it so I can just key in locathost and OTRS

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