Because there are so many different types of email client, and even when you start to look at Microsoft Outlook there are several variants out there still in general use I am going to approach this from a generic level.
Based on the following you should be able to get email set up and running.
POP3 or IMAP
There are two types of email set up. One is POP3 the other is IMAP. Generally speaking IMAP is where mail is retained on the server and can be accessed from multiple locations. Because you are accessing it from multiple devices then you need to be looking at the same place. In this case all of your mail is kept on the server and the client calls down the content so you can view it.
In our case I do not recommend IMAP because it has a high demand on the mail storage at the hosting. It is very easy over time for mail boxes to get well beyond 1GB in space. I recommend that people use POP3 which is a protocol that downloads your mail to your local client PC or device. Technically copies can still be left on the server for a limited amount of time which I will come onto later.
If you really want an IMAP account then I recommend that you use GMAIL which allows up to 15GB of storage and is better suited to IMAP than the configurations I am using.
Secure or not secure?
There are two different settings for mail. Secure (encrypted) or not secure (unencrypted). The latter means that your email is sent as plain text over the internet or encrypted. Practically speaking someone needs to have tapped into the network with a listening device and be on the path for traffic that includes your unsecure email traffic in order to “listen in”, then they need to filter it from everything else that comes by.
Today we use mainly switched networks rather than hubs. The difference being traffic is directed out or into the port on a switched network to or from the devices attached to that port. So on a 4 port device that is part of or attached to a router which is attached to the internet, a client on port A that sends email traffic to the internet will not rebroadcast that traffic on ports B, C and D. Said another way, it is moderately difficult but not impossible to capture your email address and password by tapping into such a network. In much the same way it is moderately difficult to tap into a telephone.
Hubs used to be used years ago (also referred to as Repeaters), these copy traffic on all ports and are easier to tap into. Advances in traffic management and higher bandwidth devices and access speeds have led to low cost switches being the technology of choice. (A router is effectively a switch as well, but operates at layer 3 (Internet Protocol) and routes traffic to the appropriate IP address)
Public WiFi hotspots have been modified in some cases by people keen to demonstrate that they can capture user names and passwords of non encrypted traffic. If you are using a non branded WiFi hotspot, then I recommend being cautious.
If you want to be absolutely secure then use an encrypted set up.
Security and Ports
To be able to use a secure connection from an email application requires certain ports to be open on the mail server and the path to that email server across the internet also needs to provide access to those ports. I have come across some service providers (the organisations that provide your broadband connection) block some ports. It is not entirely clear why they might block some ports other than they are encouraging you to use their mail system rather than a third party one. So bear in mind as you work through the following it may not work, and it may be because your service provider is stopping it from working and not a problem with the configuration.
Depending where your website is hosted there are different settings. I use two hosting companies, one based which uses European servers (based in the UK), the other uses USA based servers. The settings for each are different. If you are not sure where you are based please contact me.
At the time I set your site up I will have directed to one or the other of the following two pages.
These pages are password protected.
- European hosted email configuration for Outlook 2010.
- European hosted email configuration for Mozilla Thunderbird
- USA hosted email configuration for Outlook 2010.
- USA hosted email configuration for Mozilla Thunderbird
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