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Getting Zimbra to Work with Droid X

By steve - Posted on 16 August 2010

We just picked up a couple of Droid X phones and could not get them to sync with Zimbra 5.0.22. Every time we tried to set it up, we'd get "ERROR Could not connect to the server." no matter what we tried. We checked all the usual suspects such as DNS, internet connection, etc. Also, we tried about every combination of user ID, domain, password, etc.

We also spent a week working with Zimbra tech support trying to get the Mobile tab to show up on 5.0.22, to see if we could change some settings there, but after a week they finally figured out that we were on 5.0.22 and you have to be on 6.0.x to see the Mobile tab!

Well, I finally figured it out...

Here's what I did to allow Droid X to sync with Zimbra:

1. Upgrade to Zimbra 6. This may not be required, but that is the only way to get the "Zimbra Mobile" tab to appear in the Admin GUI. Even if the com_zimbra_mobilsync Admin GUI zimlet is installed in Zimbra 5, it won't ever show up. The mobile tab lets you set the security settings like you can in Exchange, specifically the "Allow non-provisionable devices" setting. I had to set this to get the Droid X to communicate with the server.

Be careful, though, because the default setting is to require a PIN code on all devices. This can be confusing to users and we had one set it to random numbers and we had to do a factory reset on their Windows Mobile device to allow access again.

Also, you have to restart the Zimbra server after the upgrade to get the mobile tab to show up. The other Admin GUI tabs showed up fine, but Mobile is "special".

2. You MUST have a way for the Droid X to communicate via SSL (https) with your server, even if you uncheck the box for SSL. It requires SSL on the initial connection and defaults it to require it, once it gets connected, regardless what you pick on the account setup window. After you get it set up, you can disable SSL on the phone, but you MUST have it to connect the first time.

If (or whatever your local IP address is for your zimbra server) doesn't work on your local network, https isn't working on your server and you have to enable https for your zimbra server. Here's what did it for me:

# su - zimbra
$ zmtlsctl both
$ zmcontrol restart

You can use "mixed", "both", "redirect", or "https", depending on your situation. Each of those will allow https:// to work. You'll want to pick one that fits your situation. There's more information here on this command:

3. You have to be able to access the Zimbra server using SSL through whatever firewall you have. This was OK on ours, once we did step 2, but it is possible that your firewall is only passing http to your Zimbra server.

Do the same test as above from a remote system to your zimbra server. Something like or should prove it works. If you try to test it this way from the same network that your Zimbra server is on and it works, but you still can't connect your Droid X, you could still have a problem with your firewall. Some firewalls detect that you are accessing a "firewalled" server from the same network and will go ahead and pass your packets to the server and it works, but will still be blocking your remote access. A great test would be to just use your Droid X's browser to get to your Zimbra server. If you can get to it from the Droid X's browser with https://, you are probably set to try setting up the account.

4. You should have a current self-signed or commercial SSL certificate. (There are directions other places to get that working.) If you get the warning about "there is a problem with this website's security certificate", that's OK, but https HAS to work.

We still have a problem with the Droid X where it requires a PIN to unlock, even if the option on the COS or user says it isn't required, but at least we are able to sync email, addresses, and calendar.

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