EarthLink IMAP Email Setup

EarthLink IMAP Email Setup

IMAP Email Is Now Live For all EarthLink Customers!

EarthLink is excited to announce that IMAP Email Service is now available to all EarthLink customers.  

What is IMAP?

Internet Message Access Protocol, IMAP for short, is a different way of checking your email that allows you to sync the same messages and folders across several devices at the same time. Additionally, using IMAP means folders you create in WebMail or on your PC’s email program will also be replicated on your smart phone or tablet. 

What is the difference between POP3 and IMAP?

POP3 is the type of email service that EarthLink has offered since it's foundation. POP3, Post Office Protocol, treats your email on the server as a single folder. When you check your email with an email client such as Outlook, all of your email is pulled off of the server and stored on your local machine unless you specifically tell it to leave a copy on the server. If you create any folders on in Web Mail or in your Email Client, they are not replicated on the server and are not passed on to other Email clients.

Here is an example of what you would see using POP3 (left) versus IMAP (right) on an iPhone.


IMAP stores your folder information on the server as long as you are using IMAP settings in your Email Client. Web Mail already operates on a form of IMAP. Using IMAP means you can create a custom folder in Outlook and see that same custom folder in Web Mail or on your iPhone as long as your iPhone is configured to use IMAP as well.

IMAP grants you improved security options using StartTLS security to protect your email when you are downloading it from the EarthLink Mail server. Use of StartTLS is optional.

Who should use IMAP?

If you are checking your email across multiple devices, you could benefit from using IMAP. By using IMAP settings, you remove the risk of accidentally downloading all of your email to a single device.  

If you use EarthLink's spamBlocker, you will find that using IMAP allows you to see your Suspect and Known Spam folders in your email program or on your mobile device. This means you will not have to go to Web Mail to review your spam flagged emails. You can move them from your Spam folders directly to your Inbox if you like.  

Note: Moving spam from the Known or Suspect Spam folders in an email client or mobile device using IMAP, will not give you the options to add the sender to your address book or to mark that message as not being spam. You will need to use Web Mail directly to access those functions.

What is the risk of using IMAP?

The only risk of using IMAP is the need to keep an eye on your email storage to make sure you don't go over your storage limit, because you are leaving all of your mail on the server. You can quickly check how much mail you have on the server by logging into Web Mail. If you would like to increase your Email storage space, we offer more email space in MyAccount.

When can I start using IMAP?

Right now!

An Important Note about Search, Folders and Indexing.

Indexing is the process used to make your various folders and emails on the server searchable by your email program, even if it has not previously downloaded those messages. This file is created when you check your email using IMAP for the very first time. As the Index file will need some time to build (how long depends on the number of messages and folders you have on the server), you may notice that you do not see your various folders immediately or that searches are only searching local content. Please allow up to 5 minutes (it may be much faster than that) to pass and check your mail again and you should see your folders show up. Once the Index file is created, it will be constantly updated, so you will not experience this delay again.


What are the IMAP settings?

EarthLink along with customers can use the following IMAP settings:
  1. Incoming Mail Server: 
  2. Incoming Port Number: 143
  3. Outgoing Mail
  4. Outgoing Port Number: 587

MindSpring Domain Customers can use the following IMAP settings: (Note:  The EarthLink settings will work for MindSpring domain names as well.)

  1. Incoming Mail Server: 
  2. Incoming Port Number: 143
  3. Outgoing Mail
  4. Outgoing Port Number: 587 


Can I edit my POP settings and change them to IMAP settings in my email client or do I have to create a new email setup in my software?

If you are currently using POP, most programs will require you to treat IMAP like a new email.  We recommend you add IMAP to your email program as a new setup rather than trying to edit an existing POP setup.  POP works differently from IMAP and trying to edit settings could result in lost or missing email.

In order to fully take advantage of IMAP, you need to make sure you are not checking your email with the same or another device using POP settings.  As POP removes emails from the server, by default, it is counter productive to run POP and IMAP at the same time.  

Make sure you make a backup of any email you have on your computer that you downloaded using POP before you remove your POP settings.  If you do want to run POP and IMAP at the same time, make sure your POP settings are set to Leave a Copy of your email on the server.

What kind of security does IMAP offer?

IMAP offers you the ability to use STARTTLS as a security option when downloading your email.  STARTTLS is a form of SSL encryption between your computer and the EarthLink mail server that helps prevent someone from being able to intercept and read your email content when you download it from the EarthLink Mail server.  You can enable STARTTLS by going into your email clients advanced Email Settings and selecting it as the type of security for the Incoming server when using IMAP.  

It is important to note that using encryption with IMAP only protects the data you are downloading from the EarthLink server.  To secure your outbound email you will need to enable TLS or StartTls depending on your email client.  Additionally, different email programs use different names for STARTTLS.  Depending on the device it may be labeled as TLS, STARTTLS or just SSL.


What Known Issues are there with Using IMAP?

Due to the unique nature of various Email Clients and software, there may be some unique behaviors that are not problems with IMAP, but are instead behaviors caused by the client. Here are a few examples of known issues and client behaviors that you might run into using IMAP.

  • Some email programs will try to guess the settings before they allow you to manually enter them.  If the program does not use the right settings, you may receive an initial error when it attempts to confirm your email settings.  You will have to manually configure these programs after the initial attempt by the software fails.  This is commonly seen in Thunderbird and iOS devices like iPhones and iPads.  
  • Some Email clients may display their own custom folders that are not replicated in Web Mail. Example: Thunderbird has a Quarantine folder that will not show up in Web Mail.
  • Emails can be viewed by not moved from the Virus Blocker folder to the Inbox when using IMAP.  This is done to prevent accidentally moving a virus infected email to your Inbox where it could be opened.
  • Emails cannot be moved from the Inbox to Spam folders.  The Suspect and Known Spam folders allow you to see what is in them, but you cannot move new messages to those folders.  However, you can move messages from the Suspect and Known Spam folders to your Inbox if you wish.
  • You cannot use a period as a part of a new folder name.  If you do, it will create two separate folders on the server rather than one.  This is blocked by most email programs.
  • Some Email programs treat deleted folders differently.  iOS devices may only store deleted messages on the local device.  You can change this in the devices advanced settings if it is an issue.

How do I setup Outlook 2013 for IMAP?

  1. In Outlook, click on File.
  2. Click on Account Settings.

  1. Click on Account Settings in the Drop Down Menu.
  2. Under the Email tab, click the New button.
  3. Select E-Mail Account and click Next.
  4. Select the" Manual Setup or additional server types" radial button and click Next.

  1. Select the POP or IMAP option and click Next.

  1. Fill out the information on the left side using your email address and server settings.  Check the Remember Password option if you want Outlook to remember your password.

  1. Click the More Settings button on the bottom right.
  2. Click the Outgoing Server tab and check the button next to My Outgoing Server requires Authentication and make sure “Use same settings as my incoming mail server” is checked.  The “Log on using” section should remain blank.

  1. Click the Advanced tab and change the "Outgoing Port" number to 587.

NOTE:  If you want to use TLS security on your incoming connections (optional), change the "Use the following type of encrypted connection" option to TLS under Incoming.  Leave the Outgoing option on None.

  1. Click OK.
  2. Click Next and Outlook will test your settings.  Click Close when the test is complete.

  1. Click Finish to close the window and then click Close to close out the Email Accounts window.

You have now setup Outlook 2013 to check your EarthLink email using IMAP.


How do I setup Thunderbird for IMAP?

Thunderbird is easy to setup for IMAP as it will default to attempting to use IMAP on the first try, though you will need to tweak some settings manually if you want to turn on encryption when downloading email.  

  1. If you just installed Thunderbird, click the Email option under Create a new account

*If you have used Thunderbird before, click OptionsAccount Settings, look to the bottom left of the page and click on Account Actions.  Select the Add Mail Account option.  

  1. On the Mail Account Setup page, enter in your name, email and password information.  Check the Remember Password box if you want Thunderbird to remember your password.  Then click Continue.

  1. Thunderbird will then automatically configure itself to use the EarthLink IMAP settings.   

  1. Click DONE to continue.  

NOTE:  By default, Thunderbird will not turn on STARTTLS security for your incoming IMAP mail server.  This means you will see a big red warning screen if you continue.  This is normal.  Just click the I understand the risks button and click DONE and then OK.  

  1. Thunderbird will now test your settings.  If there is nothing wrong, it will take you back to the main Thunderbird window.  Click the Inbox on the left under your email address to access your email.


Enabling encryption for Downloading Mail (Optional)

  1. Enabling encryption for downloading email is optional, but if you want to enable it for your Incoming email, go to your Account Settings again and click the Server Settings option on the left listed under your Email account name.   

  1. Then go to where it says Security Settings, click the drop down for Connection security and select STARTTLS.  Leave the rest of the settings as they are and click OK on the bottom of the screen.  

  1. It may take a moment for older versions of Thunderbird to confirm changes to settings.  If Thunderbird seems to hang during this time, just close it out and restart it.  Most newer versions will simply return you to your Inbox view.


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