Find the details of an incoming mail server

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Find the details of an incoming mail server
Find the details of an incoming mail server

To receive mail in an email client such as Outlook, Thunderbird, or your mobile device's email app, you need to know your incoming mail server information. This includes the address of the incoming mail server, the port the software is running on and what type of mail server (POP3 or IMAP) it is. While tracking down so much information can seem daunting, once you know where it's hidden, everything is readily available and easy to configure.


Method 1 of 5: Email hosted by your ISP

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Step 1. Visit the website of your ISP (Internet Service Provider)

This is the website of the company that offers you internet connectivity and email services. Note that this method works for people using the email address assigned by your ISP and is not useful for webmail (such as Hotmail or Gmail).

  • For example, if you use an email address provided by Comcast Xfinity (for example, [email protected]), go to Centurylink users can visit
  • There's a chance your ISP won't provide email addresses to its users. You can at least read that on the website of your ISP.
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Step 2. Click on the 'Support' or 'Help' link

Most ISP websites display these links prominently.

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Step 3. Search for 'email'



in the search field and press ↵ Enter. In the search results, look for links such as: 'Set up email software.'

  • If there is no generic 'email software' link, click on a more specific link, such as 'Set up Outlook' or 'Set up Mac Mail'. All help files explaining how to set up email will indicate the incoming mail server.
  • Xfinity users can click on the 'Internet' link and then on 'Email and Web Browsing'. In the search results, click "Use email client programs with Comcast Email."
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Step 4. Decide on POP3 or IMAP

your ISP may offer both POP3 and IMAP as options. If your mail arrives on multiple devices (such as a smartphone and a computer), use IMAP. If your mail only arrives on one computer or phone, use POP3.

  • While almost all ISPs offer POP3, many ISPs do not support IMAP. For example, Centurylink only supports POP3 for home users.
  • If your goal is to receive messages addressed to the email address provided by your ISP in an online email application such as Gmail or Outlook, then use POP3. Most ISPs set limits on how big your mailbox can be at any given time and POP3 keeps your mailbox free by deleting the copy on your ISP's server.
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Step 5. Enter the mail server address and port in your email client

Most ISPs use the standard POP3 port (110) for incoming mail. If your ISP supports secure POP, the port number is usually 995. For ISPs that support secure IMAP, the port is usually 993.

  • For example, Comcast Xfinity's POP3 server is

    , and the port is 110. If your mail software supports it, you can also use the secure POP protocol by changing the port to 995.
  • Comcast Xfinity also offers IMAP in both regular and secure form. The server is

    and the port is 143 (or 993 if you want to use secure IMAP).

Method 2 of 5: In Gmail

Find Incoming Mail Server Step 6

Step 1. Decide on POP or IMAP

Gmail offers POP and IMAP so you can check your Gmail in other apps.

  • IMAP is recommended for use with Gmail because you can check your email by visiting, and through your mail client.
  • You can use POP, but understand that once your mail software pops the message from Gmail, that message will be deleted from your Gmail account and you will not be able to view or reply to it online.
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Step 2. Enable POP or IMAP in Gmail

Log into Gmail (in your web browser) and open the Settings menu. Click the 'Forwarding & POP/IMAP' link and select 'Enable IMAP' or 'Enable POP', whichever you prefer. Click "Save Changes" when you're done.

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Step 3. Type the incoming mail server name and port into your email software

The IMAP server is

and the port is 993. The POP server is

and the port is 995.

  • The username and password for your email settings is the same as what you use to log in to Gmail.
  • Gmail only offers secure POP and IMAP.

Method 3 of 5: In Hotmail/Outlook, Yahoo! Mail or iCloud Mail

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Step 1. Decide whether you prefer POP3 or SMTP

Hotmail/Outlook and Yahoo! Mail offer both POP3 and IMAP incoming mail servers. iCloud only supports IMAP.

  • If you plan to check your email in only one place (such as in one app on your phone or computer), choose POP3.
  • If you want your email to be available in multiple apps (or if you have an app and also want to use the webmail version of your email (ie, to read and to reply to e-mail), then choose IMAP.
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Step 2. Configure POP3 settings for Hotmail/Outlook

(In Hotmail IMAP, iCloud, and Yahoo! Mail, you can skip this step). To use POP3, log into Hotmail/Outlook online, click the gear, and select 'Options' from the menu. Then go to 'Manage your account' and click on 'Connect devices and apps with POP'. Select 'Enable' under POP and click 'Save'.

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Step 3. Type the address and port of the mail server into your mail software

Outlook, iCloud and Yahoo! all use only secure POP3 and IMAP connections, for the safety of your data.

  • Hotmail/Outlook POP3:

    postage 995
  • Hotmail/Outlook IMAP:

    postage 993
  • Yahoo! POP3:

    postage 995
  • Yahoo! IMAP:

    postage 993
  • iCloud IMAP:

    postage 993

Method 4 of 5: For your personal domain

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Step 1. Visit the website of your web hosting service

If you have your own domain hosted by a web hosting provider, go to their website.

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Step 2. Click on the link for 'Help' or 'Support

The address of your hosting provider's incoming mail server can be easily found by searching their support site.

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Step 3. Search for 'incoming mail server'

Find a search result that says something like 'Set up your email software' and click on it – this is where you'll find your incoming and outgoing mail server settings.

  • If you're using Hostgator or Bluehost (and most other hosting providers), your incoming mail server will be (replace '' with your domain). The POP3 port is 110 and the IMAP port is 143.
  • To use Secure POP or IMAP with Hostgator, you need the name of the server hosting your site. Log in to Hostgator and launch Cpanel. Find the server name next to "Server Name" on the left side of the screen. If the server name


    your secure incoming mail server

    to be. For secure POP, use port 995. Secure IMAP uses port 993.
  • Bluehost uses for secure POP and IMAP. For secure POP use port 995. Secure IMAP uses port 993.

Method 5 of 5: Testing your incoming mail server

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Step 1. Send yourself a test message

Once you have entered the address and port of the incoming mail server, send a test message to your own email address. If your mail client has a button for testing your account settings (such as Outlook), clicking that button will produce the same result as this method.

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Step 2. Check your email

Wait a few moments after you send yourself the email and then check your messages.

  • If you use Gmail to receive POP or IMAP mail from another service, it will take longer to receive the message because Gmail only checks external mail once an hour. To speed up the process, open your Gmail settings and click on 'Accounts and Import'. Scroll down to the POP3 or IMAP settings and click "Check Email Now."
  • If you receive an error sending a message, there may be a problem with your outgoing mail server (SMTP) settings. Check the SMTP address and port by going back to where you found the incoming mail server address and comparing it to what you entered in your email application.

    • Gmail's SMTP address is

      , port 587 (port 465 for a secure connection).
    • The Hotmail/Outlook SMTP address is

      , port 25. No separate secure port is provided.
    • Yahoo's SMTP address is

      , port 465 or 587 (both are secure).
    • iCloud SMTP address is

      , port 587. There is no separate secure port.
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Step 3. Get support

If you get an error message when you try to send or receive email, it may be helpful to search the web for that error. There are many reasons why you may encounter an error, such as a misconfigured domain name or authentication issues. If you are having problems with your ISP or personal domain name, call their technical support departments or search their websites for any error messages you receive.


  • If you're using some sort of cloud or push email service or device, it's likely that your incoming mail server is IMAP.
  • Contact your ISP or web hosting provider if you are having trouble connecting to their mail server.

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