Webmail with Thunderbird

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This page is made to serve as a guide to Arch (and possibly other) Linux users who wish to use the Mozilla Thunderbird email client to access their webmail service. These services would be ones like Hotmail, Yahoo Mail, AOL, Lycos, GMail, Libero, Tiscali, etc.

The page consists of two major parts: one which specifically addresses Mozilla thunderbird and it's Webmail extension, and one which lists out and attempts to explain the installation and configuration of stand-alone programs that allow other email clients to achieve the same functionality.

Using thunderbird and it's Webmail extension

Where to find it

First of all, the webmail extension can be found at this site. It contains most of the information required to properly install the extension in the FAQ and Account Setting pages.

Installing the extension

Remember, you must also install the component extensions, or you will not be able accesss your mail. The Webmail extension is only a 'wrapper' of sorts. For example, if you wish to access your GMail account, you first have to download and install the Webmail extension, restart Thunderbird, then install the GMail extension, restart Thunderbird again, then configure the extensions as your computer setup requires.

Other useful information

After installing the Webmail extension, you can access the preferences for it by clicking Tools->Extensions.

If the Webmail extension says "Server status is ERROR", this means that it could not use the ports 110, 25, and/or 143 for setting up a POP, SMTP, or IMAP gateway, respectively. This happens because you will (and should) be running Thunderbird as a normal user. However, ArchLinux reserves ports below 1024 for the root user only. Allowing normal users to access these ports is not recommended. As the FAQ answer on the Webmail website says, change the preferences on the Webmail extension to use a port higher than 1024 (1025 and above work for normal users). Don't forget to change your email account settings to access localhost at whatever ports you set the Webmail extension to use.

Stand-alone applications (Use webmail through any email client)

  • Hotwayd - runs through xinetd - can be used transparently through any email client
  • YoSucker - runs through a script that has to be manually activated.
  • MrPostman - Java program that has to be manually activated.

Sources of information

  • Most of the information was derived from webpages that were sourced from the

MozillaZine Knowledge Base Wiki for Thunderbird.