How to Set Up E-mail Programs

Doc explains the basics of setting up your e-mail.
Published: Sep 19, 2005
Author: Michael E, Callahan
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This question submitted by James Brewer, Nicholas Dutton, Samuel Brooks, Linda Minch and numerous others

I've gotten this question a lot so I decided it was time to provide an answer. Since everyone that asked was asking about POP e-mail accounts, that's what we'll cover here. I'm also going to cover the most common setup parameters and mention some of the alternatives. I hope you'll find this useful.

Incoming Mail

POP stands for Post Office Protocol and it refers to incoming e-mail. In setting up a program to handle POP e-mail you'll need to know a few variables. Depending on the e-mail program the incoming e-mail parameters will either be called Incoming, POP or POP3. It's called POP3 because it's the third version of this protocol which is used as the Internet standard. Many e-mail program will try to guess what your POP server is based on your domain name and the like. In my experience they most often guess incorrectly, but that's okay, I don't blame the programs for trying. Information you'll need to know includes:

  • POP server name
  • User name
  • E-mail password

POP server names will vary slightly as far as format, but for the most part they will look something like this:

mail.mydomain.com or perhaps pop.mydomain.com

Your user name is most generally the name of your e-mail address, so for example, if your e-mail address is yourname@mydomain.com then your user name would be yourname. Lastly, your e-mail password is the password for accessing the POP account on the POP server. This can either be assigned by your ISP or by whoever manages your e-mail account. Most e-mail programs will offer to save or remember this e-mail password for you. If you don't want anyone else to be able to access your e-mail then do not tell your e-mail program to remember the password. It is much more convenient, however, to let the program do it. Your own situation will determine what you do with this.

Another variable you'll most likely need to fill in is the port and most POP accounts use port 110. Your e-mail program may also ask for a server delay. This will be the length of time the program will try to get e-mail from the server before timing out and quitting. I'd suggest using either 60 or 90 seconds for this.

Some e-mail accounts and some e-mail programs will require what is called authentication. There are several types of authentication including MSN (NTLM), MD5 APOP Challenge/Response and others. If you need this information it will be provided by your ISP or system administrator. Most POP accounts don't utilize authentication.

Outgoing Mail

SMTP stands for Simple Mail Transfer Protocol and it refers to outgoing e-mail. When you set up your SMTP outgoing e-mail you'll need to know the following:

  • SMTP server name
  • Port

In some cases you'll see that your SMTP server uses the same name as your POP server, but they may be something different. For the most part they will look something like this:

mail.mydomain.com or perhaps smtp.mydomain.com

The most common SMTP port is 25. Once again, depending on your circumstances, you may have authentication. If that's the case the type of authentication, and the information you'll need for it, will be provided by your ISP or network administrator.

Some programs that work with e-mail programs, like anti-spam programs, will ask you to change some of these settings. If you're reluctant to do this because you're afraid you'll forget what your settings are, you might want to taka screen capture of your existing settings. Save the capture to a file and put the file in a safe place on your computer. That way you'll have it if you need to change your e-mail settings back. For screen captures you can use programs like:

When it comes to e-mail programs, you can find a wide selection right here on Tucows. You might want to try:

I hope this article has cleared up most of the questions about setting up a POP e-mail client. It's relatively easy-to-do and once you've done it, you'll be all set.

I'd like to thank James Brewer, Nicholas Dutton, Samuel Brooks, Linda Minch and numerous others for asking this question.

If you have a question on how to do something on the computer you can submit it via e-mail by clicking HERE. You will not receive a reply, but all topics will be considered.

About Michael E, Callahan

Michael E. Callahan, known around the world by the trademarked name Dr. File Finder, is regarded as the world's leading expert on shareware. Dr. File Finder works with software programs and developers full-time, and in the average year he evaluates 10,000 programs. Since 1982 he has evaluated over 250,000 software and hardware products. Mr. Callahan began evaluating software online in 1982 and no one has been at it longer. He currently works doing online PR and marketing for software companies, and is the Senior Content Producer for Butterscotch.Com.

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