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These directions are written to use Mozilla Thunderbird. They have been written to allow you to add your mail account to your eMail program once your mail account has been created/moved to the "" server.

Install Mozilla Thunderbird

  • If Thunderbird is not already installed...
    • Download it from
    • Run the installer. When it ends, it will ask whether or not to start Thunderbird. You can if you like- if you don't, the next step is just going to be to run it anyway.
    • Run Thunderbird.

Initial setup

The first time you run it, it will try to walk through an automatic "transfer settings" procedure. When this happens (i.e. when it asks about importing settings from other programs, press Cancel.

  • Pull down the "Tools" menu and choose "Account Settings".
  • Click the Add Account... button at the lower left.
  • Choose "Email account" from the list.
  • Click Next.
  • For "Account Name", enter your full email address, ending with ""
  • For "Your Name", enter your name as you want it to appear on your outgoing email messages.
  • For "Email Address", enter your full email address, ending with "".
  • Click Next.

Server settings

Update Feb. 2021 -- these server settings seem to work:

  • Incoming server | IMAP | Port 143| STARTTLS
  • Outgoing server | SMTP | Port 587| STARTTLS

Follow the prompts and configure as follows:

Option Setting
Server type IMAP
Incoming Server
Outgoing Server
Incoming User Name
Account Name This is just a description for this account. It shows up in the folder viewer on the left side of the main window, as the name of the folder which contains everything relating to this email account. You can use whatever you like, it never gets sent to the server or anything. The only requirement is that if you configure Thunderbird to access multiple accounts, no other accounts can have the same name.

Click Finish. We will need to it did not ask about the security-related settings, so we will still need to go back into the new account's settings and fix a few things.

Incoming mail settings

  • Find the new account in the panel on the left (above the Add Account... button.) Below the new account, click Server Settings. You should see the right side of the window change to the Server Settings information.
  • Under Security Settings, click the STARTTLS selection.
  • There are other settings on this panel which you may wish to set, in particular the Check for new messages every X minutes option.
  • Find the new account in the panel on the left (above the "Add Account..." button.) Below the new account, click "Composition & Addressing". You should see the right side of the window change to the "Composition & Addressing" information.
  • Under "Composition", PLEASE TURN OFF the "Compose messages in HTML format" option. This will cause all of your outgoing mail to be sent as plain text, which is important because HTML email gets a higher spam score and your emails are less likely to be blocked as spam by the recipient's email service provider.
  • Click the OK button.

Outgoing Mail settings

  • The last item in the panel on the left is "Outgoing Server (SMTP)". Click this. You should see the right side of the window change to the "Outgoing Server (SMTP) Settings" information.
  • If the list on the right has more than one item, click on the item corresponding to the new account.
  • Click the Edit... button on the right.
  • Click the STARTTLS option at the bottom of the window, and change the Port number to 587.
  • Make sure the Use name and password checkbox is turned ON. If not, turn it on.
  • The User Name field should already contain your full email address, ending with If not, enter it.
  • You may wish to fill in the "Description" field at the top of this box, as I did here. It's not really necessary, it just makes the list of SMTP accounts look a little bit more orderly.
  • Click the OK button.
  • At this point, all of the necessary settings should be correct. You should be able to hit the OK button at the bottom of the window and return to Thunderbird's main screen.

Downloading Mail

  • When you get back to the main screen, in the panel on the left side of the window you should see the new account you just created, along with the Local Folders item.
  • If you turned on the Check for new messages every X minutes option, Thunderbird will start checking your mailbox every few minutes (whatever you set it to.) If not, you can click the Get Mail button at the top of the screen to make Thunderbird check your incoming mail now.
  • The first time you check the mail, you will be asked for the password. You should enter it.
  • You will also see the "Use Password Manager to remember this password" checkbox. Thunderbird's password manager is like a repository of stored passwords for different mailboxes. If you choose to use it, you will need to set a "master password" which protects all of the others, and enter that master password every time you run Thunderbird. Otherwise, you'll have to enter the mailbox password every time you run Thunderbird.
  • Personally, I have five different mailboxes, so it makes sense for me to enter just the one master password instead of entering the passwords for all five mailboxes individually.

Mailbox Folders

  • After Thunderbird has checked the mail in your mailbox for the first time, it will show you any folders which may exist on the server. The webmail interface automatically creates folders called Drafts, Sent, and Trash on the server. You can also create your own folders for storing messages- the one restriction is that they must be created as children of the Inbox folder, rather than siblings of the Inbox folder.
  • You can create folders as children of the "Inbox" folder in the new account. Those folders are physically stored on the mail server, which means they will be accessible through any other IMAP client, including the webmail interface. The contents of these folders will also be backed up on a regular basis.
  • You can also create folders as children of the Local Folders item. However, those folders are physically stored on your hard drive and will not be accessible from any computer other than the machine where you're running Thunderbird. Freecycle is unable to back up the contents of your local machine, so doing this may result in your stored items not being backed up anywhere, which means that if something happens to your desktop computer, anything in those folders will be gone.

Signature block

  1. Open Accounts > View settings for this account
  2. Set up your signature text. Remember to change the copyright date every year.

Junk settings

  1. Click on account name on left side.
  2. On the right side under Accounts, click "View settings for this account"
  3. Then on the left side click "Junk Settings" under your account name. None of the boxes need to be checked, but make sure that "Trust junk mail headers set by..." is NOT checked.
  4. At this point it's easy to repeat step 3 for all your accounts, because your settings are visible for all your accounts.

Changing your password

  1. You must change your email password in webmail before changing it in Thunderbird or any other email client.
  2. Click the TB Menu button (3 horizontal bars)
  3. Click Options > Security
  4. Click Saved Passwords
  5. Click Show Passwords
  6. Right-click the imap (incoming mail) account you want to change, click Edit Password and enter the new password
  7. Repeat previous step with smtp account (outgoing mail)
  8. Close options and restart TB.

Note: after a certain number of bad login attempts by Thunderbird or another email client, your IP address will get temporarily banned and the mail server will appear to be unreachable by your device. It will stay that way for one hour. If it’s urgent and you can’t wait an hour, the tech team can reset it manually.

Mail Server backups

Our mailserver is backed up each night, and backups are retained for 30 days. However, be careful with deleting messages and especially folders, because restoring backups is an involved and time-consuming procedure for Freecycle's already-overstretched IT team.

Problem solving

  1. Make sure the account is set up correctly
  2. Experiment with ports
  3. Google your error message for possible solutions
  4. Try using different devices and different ISPs (i.e. workplace, public WiFi or mobile device)
  5. Discuss it with your team members to see if they have any suggestions
  6. For consistent SMTP issues with one particular ISP, try changing your outgoing server settings. For example, with Comcast, try using for outgoing mail server rather than