Configuring your e-mail client

Now that you understand how e-mail works, it's time to learn to use it. The first thing I am going to explain is how to configure your e-mail client, software which will help you manage all the emails you send and receive from your account. They are usually friendly applications, prepared to manage a great number of messages.

Just in case, if you are using a web-based e-mail account, you may not need to configure an e-mail client. It might appear obvious, but, as a matter of fact, it is not. There are many e-mail accounts which work both with an e-mail client, and over the web as well.

A first choice to make: POP3 or IMAP

Before being able to configuring your e-mail client, you need to choose a connection method for the messages you receive. There are currently two methods available: POP or IMAP.

+ POP will download a full copy of the messages you have received from your e-mail server, and store them in your computer's e-mail client. You may opt to keep the message in the server for a few more days, or to delete them from the server once you have finished downloading them.

+ IMAP will work in a synchronized way. At first, it will only show you your list of messages, without downloading except the sender, subject, and other information you see on the screen. Whenever you choose to open a message, the IMAP protocol will download it in full, and offer it to you.

POP method will connect to the Internet, download the messages you have received, and disconnect. While IMAP method will require you to remain connected to the Internet to view your messages on demand. Choose the method you find comfortable for you. Either way, you will still use the unique SMTP [Simple Mail Transfer Protocol] to send them.

Word of warning: POP method has the advantage of using less Internet resources by downloading your message in full once. Its disadvantage is that once you remove the e-mails received from the server, the one in your e-mail client is your only copy left. IMAP may appear more secure in this regard, but keeping long databases of e-mails may easily saturate your e-mail server, or require long times to carry out a search. Use your best judgement.

Configuring your client

Once you have made up your mind for a protocol, time has come to configure your client, and use it. To be able to do it, your e-mail provider needs to inform you of your user name, your password, and in addition the names of the servers you are going to use to connect to, or retrieve your messages.

Usually e-mail clients have configuration assistants, so this should be easy. I'm posting below the general definitions you will need to know.

Name: The name which appears as sender name in every e-mail you send from a given account.
E-mail address: Your complete e-mail address
Password: The password you will use to connect, and send and retrieve your messages.

Next, it will present you with a second screen for you to configure your mail servers. Insert the one your e-mail provider gave you here. By means of example, I will provide below the mail server information of the most popular free e-mail providers:

Hotmail

+ SMTP server is smtp.live.com, using either port 25 or port 587 with a secure connection.
+ POP server is pop3.live.com, using port 995 with a secure connection.

Gmail

+ SMTP server is smtp.gmail.com, using port 587 with a secure connection.
+ POP server is pop.gmail.com, using port 995 with a secure connection.
+ IMAP server is imap.gmail.com, using port 993 with a secure connection.

AOL

+ SMTP server is smtp.aol.com, using port 587 with a secure connection.
+ POP server is pop.aol.com, using port 995 with a secure connection.
+ IMAP server is imap.aol.com, using port 993 with a secure connection.

It may sound complicated, but it is not. You should have your e-mail client up and running in less than five minutes. As for Yahoo!, another very popular e-mail provider, they do not provide POP or IMAP access for free, so you will need to pay them in order to get access to your messages with an e-mail client.

As for the rest, give them a try.


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