Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.

Web based email is handy but limited. Most do not allow direct access using a normal email program.

I use a web-based email service like Yahoo or Hotmail - is there a way to read that email in a 'regular' pop3 email program like outlook?

The answer not surprisingly is: it depends. But first, a quick definition.

POP3, which stands for "Post Office Protocol version 3", is the defacto standard for email retrieval by stand-alone email clients. When your email program, for example Outlook Express, downloads your email from your ISP, chances are it's using the POP3 protocol. Web based services skip this step because your email is never downloaded to a separate client. It's simply displayed via a web page you access.

Web based email has long been used as a way to check email while you're away from the computer. For example many ISPs offer a web interface to your email in addition to a POP3 interface. Even if your ISP does not offer such an interface, many of the independent web based email services such as Yahoo or Hotmail allow you to view your POP3 based email in their web interfaces.

But what if you have the reverse situation? You have all of your email in a Web-only service and would like to download it into a off-line mail client?

That's where the "it depends" comes in. And even then the news isn't really all that good.

With most services you are unfortunately out of luck. Most services, Yahoo included, do not have a separate interface to download email into an offline client.

"Web based email has long been used as a way to check email while you're away from the computer."

In fact, Hotmail is the only web based service I'm aware of that supports a downloading client. And even then the only client it supports is Outlook Express. Periodically there are rumors that Hotmail will be dropping Outlook Express support but they have yet to pan out. And much like dropping support for Outlook Express completely, which Microsoft announced earlier this year and then reversed, this feature of Outlook Express is so popular that I'd expect a similar public backlash.

Note that Outlook (not Outlook Express - see here if that confuses you) claims support for Hotmail as well - however it simply amounts to viewing the Hotmail web page within Outlook and is not a true download. Microsoft has this article in the Knowledgebase that discusses how to set up this feature in Outlook.

Update: Since this article was published I've become aware of a couple of tools that can make Hotmail and Yahoo mail available via any pop3/smtp mail application. They require a little bit of configuration on your part and run as background processes on your machine, but they provide a layer that translates between the normal POP3 and SMTP protocols and the Hotmail or Yahoo web or proprietary interfaces. These said tools are Hotpop for Hotmail accounts and Yahoo Pops, an open source project for Yahoo mail. These are definitely not endorsed by Hotmail or Yahoo.

I've also become aware of the fact that while Outlook 2000 functions as described above, Outlook 2002/XP and Outlook 2003 do support Hotmail directly.

Article C1859 - November 8, 2003 « »

Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

Not what you needed?

Liam Gilmartin
April 11, 2004 9:36 AM


I use this great program called Pop Peeper to monitor my Yahoo inbox, and YahooPops to manage my Bulk mail.

I only use it for yahoo but it also supports many other web mail brands.


Liam Gilmartin

July 18, 2004 11:43 PM

You can now access your Hotmail with Outlook Express using HTTPmail.

In Outlook Express, go to Tools > Accounts > Add > Mail. Type in your full Hotmail email, including For server type, select HTTP. Under Server Information, ensure Hotmail is selected from the drop down menu. Enter all the other details. Click next, and you are done.

If you need to email me, click on my name and remove (nospam) in "To" box

September 3, 2004 8:09 AM

hi i'm sorry my english is not good
i have a problem i use yahoomail not that pop3
how can i setting that if i use ms outlook, what how about the server URL ? thanks for your help

September 3, 2004 9:23 AM

There is no official way to read Yahoo mail in anything other than the Yahoo web interface. So there's no Yahoo-approved way to use Outlook for this.

Previous comments on this article (above where you posted) have suggeted a third-party application that may work, but I have no experience with it.

October 9, 2004 8:57 AM


If you are still having trouble with getting Yahoo POP3 to work,

incoming server name is

outgoing server name is

Check the box next to My outgoing server requires authentication.

You need to enable POP3 in your Mail Options menu.


International Yahoo accounts still have POP3 by enabling Yahoo Delivers. For example, if you are sign up in, you have POP3 access. Same with Yahoo Australia, China, Brazil, etc.

November 5, 2004 2:17 PM

Ok here's an update, apparently MSN won't allow you to download your Hotmail account with Outlook Express unless you upgrade to a paid account. This is another shamefull example of how they wish to perpetuate an already exhoborant monopoly, not only do we have to buy their software but have to pay to redeem our own mail now, its riddiculous! If anyone knows anyway around this I'd be glad to hear it

November 13, 2004 10:54 PM

for hotmail you can use for both the incoming and outgoing server name, I think you might have to pay for after the trial is up though, I'm not sure on that I just started using it my self.

December 2, 2004 11:35 AM

In order to use Yahoo's pop3 in the UK you will need to sign up for a Subscription to Yahoo! Delivers. This service is free:

This is not available in the US. You will have to pay for Yahoo plus in order to have pop3 access in the US.


February 7, 2005 4:02 PM

Yahoo! disabled their free access to its POP3 service as of 24th April, 2002!! (read: no free access unless you're a Yahoo! Mail Plus member). Hence, you need to use YahooPops! ( and the like to have POP3 access.

February 8, 2005 7:33 AM

I am still using POP3 access on one of yahoo's free accounts. but as for a regular account you can't unless you updrade to a plus account.

Kre J. Strmme
March 6, 2005 1:54 AM

Many of the international Yahoo Mail providers still offer free POP3 access through their Yahoo Delivers program. (E.g. Canada:, UK:

March 23, 2005 11:07 AM

If i use my POP3 to view an e-mail sent to my outlook account when i return to work will that e-mail be in my outlook inbox?

March 23, 2005 8:53 PM

Probably not. Most pop3 email clients are configured to download the mail, which brings the mail to the machine that the mail program is on, removing it from the pop3 server. SOme clients (Outlook and OE for example) allow you to specify that the email should be left on the server, but that's an additional step you'd need to take on all email programs that access your mail. Even then, there's additional work as it would leave all your email on the server, possibly running into out of space or mailbox full issues. It really depends on the specifics of your situation.

May 24, 2005 8:01 PM

I've been using the Foxmail 5.0 email client to access all my Yahoo! and Hotmail webmail accounts as well as all my other POP3 emails. It works great! Previously, I had to use YahooPOPs and HotPOP. But with Foxmail, it's all built-in. The web to POP3 layer runs as a service but is only loaded whenever it is needed. In the past, I had to use scripts with other email clients to start and stop YahooPOP and HotPOP. Furthermore, Foxmail also has a built-in bayesian spam filter.
I find this email client a blessing and I think it's an excellent client that answers the needs addressed in this article. It can also easily import and export from Outlook Express.
It's quite stable and email viruses don't seem to bother it. I can also turn off HTML email in specific accounts. Find out for yourself from their website here:
By the way, it's totally FREE!

suman mukherjee
July 2, 2005 9:07 PM

Dear sir/ madam,
Please suggest me an email website where i creat mt free a/c and configure my a/c into OE. where i send and received my mail.
urs faithfully

July 2, 2005 9:29 PM

I *think* Google's GMail allows you to do that.

Most free services do not because if you use Outlook, they cannot present you with the advertising that pays for the service.
July 14, 2005 4:05 AM

if the pop3 is open for access then you can configure your mail client to pull mails from the pop3 address


Ryan Ewen
August 3, 2005 12:10 PM

If you are going to post a comment with a question like 'WHAT ARE THE POP3 SERVERS FOR SUCH AND SUCH' or 'GIVE ME THIS AND GIVE ME THAT', or pretty much any QUESTION, then here's what you should do (IMHO):

Open Notepad. Type the comment that you would have typed on this page. Save it on the desktop. Drag the file from your desktop to your RECYCLE BIN. Right click on the recycle bin and select 'Empty Recycle Bin'.


October 3, 2005 9:11 PM

Hi Leo,
I've just bought myself a shiny new 3G phone and have stayed up all night playing about with it and setting up all the bits and bobs. I was hoping to set up a pop3 account so that I could read my Hotmails via my phone, but I couldn't find their pop3 details on their website. Their help page wasn't helpfull, and a search using their homepage ('pop3 settings hotmail') sent me to your site - which at least explained why I couldn't find what I was after.
Since reading that most of your focus was for Outlook Express, and since typing my comment, it has occured to me that I had had a set-up via Hotmail to send emails to an older phone (which I promptly cut-off as I couldn't effectively filter out all the junk mail). This had been set-up via their site, so surely I should be able to do this again...ahha! Yes, there's a handy link on the left of the page - but! a) it contains the delightfully cheery message "You only pay for the messages you send and receive" - note the last, key word there, and b) they don't have the 3 network available for this service - probably just as well, then.
So, sorry to waste your time - and indeed, mine - I could just click the little red cross in the top right hand corner right now, but I've made the effort to find, read and reply to your site, so I feel the least I could do is to leave a rambling comment on it at 5:09am!
Morning Leo, thanks for your help, Alex.

January 17, 2006 10:40 AM

I don't know about hotmail pop mail, I like Leo's idea of keeping it for a disposable address. Since I was on dialup "in the sticks" I opted to purchase the yearly package from Yahoo for 19 bucks so I could download mail and hang up. You get all kinds of extras with that package and you never have to look at an ad. I've only had one website refuse to accept the yahoo address as my default mailbox. I send mail from my yahoo address(through outlook) even though my port 25 is restricted to my ISP. When you purchase Yahoo, they give you the port # to use to send your mail from outlook. Nope, it won't work after you cancel the upgrade pkg.!

May 24, 2006 3:31 PM

I use a program called "webmail retriever"
It works great for sending and downloading mail using my hotmail account.
Check it out at:

P.S. There is also a version for MSN mail.

June 25, 2006 12:56 AM

what is smtp in e-mail

Leo A. Notenboom
June 25, 2006 10:59 AM

This article:

November 13, 2006 3:10 AM

Google has an smtp server for gmail it like so:

Mary Salsa
February 4, 2007 8:44 PM

Hi Leo,

OK, I understand what you said about Hotmail & Yahoo mails getting downloaded using Outlook Express. What about other free e-mails in the www ? Can I use OE to download them too ? Or do I need a site-specific software (i.e. YahooPops, HotPops, etc.). The site I'm talking about is Help me out, will ya ?

Tks from Mary.

Leo Notenboom
February 4, 2007 8:48 PM

It's all specific to the service in question.

Van Pistine
February 5, 2007 12:10 PM


Leo Notenboom
February 5, 2007 1:41 PM

It is. Until you lose it.

Jeff Smith
February 16, 2007 4:56 AM

try eprompter supports hotmail, yahoo, gmail, tons and tons of webmails. it's text only no pictures. but it's script and virus safe. I use it to view my messages safely before I risk infection.

June 15, 2007 12:57 PM

if you want to access web based mail, using a free web mail interface to POP3 program, on any platfor just use mr postman -

Joshua Lee
May 6, 2008 3:34 AM

Since this article was written, support was dropped from hotmail to outlook. But, if you're using outlook 2007, you can get the outlook connector. It's a plugin from microsoft which lets you download webmail into outlook properly.

July 7, 2008 12:36 PM

I found this article. I hope it helps.
"Use Yahoo email with Outlook Express (free)?"

Paul Bruce
August 25, 2008 3:23 PM

Hi Leo,
gmail seems to work okay with Outlook, are there any pop3 and smtp settings for hotmail? There are numerous articles but no definitive answers.

I have several articles on this site that answer that. The short version is this:

NO - Hotmail does not provide POP3 and SMTP servers to access your mail. Period.

YES - You can use some specific email programs like Windows Live Mail or an add-on to Microsoft Outlook to access your Hotmail.

NO - Outlook Express Hotmail access is being phased out and is no longer supported.

YES - There are third-party add-ons for Thunderbird that, while not officially supported by Hotmail or Microsoft, do allow you to download your Hotmail into Thunderbird.

Hope that helps clarify things. :-)


September 2, 2008 12:53 PM

I`ve been using the Thunderbird add-on, Webmail, for some time now to retrieve mail from both my Hotmail and Yahoo accounts and it works well. It seems to be the only one which is consistently reliable. The author is pretty quick to update when either of the services alter their methods. Why bother with Outlook Express, I say!

Koen Hardy
September 8, 2008 4:16 AM

Hi, just wanted ti let you know, that you can acces your hotmail account in outlook using a small program called "Outlook Connector", google it!!! :-)

September 10, 2008 1:15 PM

Can you please sent me the
pop3 and smtp info? I would like to setup my hotmail on my Microsoft Outlook?

Hope you can help me!!!

Coly Moore
November 18, 2008 8:15 AM

Gmail supports POP3 clients and gives full instructions about how to set up the account in Outlook. There are a variety of options, such as whether to leave a copy of the mail oon the server after retrieval by Outlook.

I definitely don't share your views on free email accounts, Leo. I have found Gmail to be great. True, the account gets a lot of spam, but they have a really excellent filter and put 99.99% of it in a special spam folder.

physics geek
May 12, 2009 5:04 PM

You mentioned YahooPops and HotPops. However, there is another piece of software that covers a variety of email accounts: FreePOPS. It works well with Yahoo, Hotmail and Netzero. At least those are all that I've tried it on. It purports to handle AOL and Juno, as well as a variety of others.

June 20, 2009 5:49 AM

I use Thunderbird to send/receive Hotmail messages. I have 2 questions:
a) Messages "RECEIVED" are kept on both Thundebird & Hotmail (cause I chose "Leave mesages on the server" option), but it is NOT the case for "SENT" messages. Any sugestion as to how to do the latter?
b) Do I still have to pay the annual $20 a year for "Windows Live Hotmail PLus"? - I only use the mail, and non of the other features...
Thanks for your advice.

a) I'm not aware of a way to save sent mail on both desktop client and server.

b) I don't see why you'd need to. POP3 is available to all accounts. Not sure what else you're getting with your subscription.
- Leo

Keith Thomas
March 6, 2010 6:24 AM

My query is that I cant use windows mail included in most/all windows programmes because of the way I connect to the internet.I have a laptop and I use a plug-in dongle (like a flash drive) which connects via a radio signal exactly the same way as a mobile phone. Because of this 02 who supplied me with the dongle cant give me the pop3 and smtp configurations which includes email address etc, and this is why I have to use hotmail.It seems I could only use w.mail if I connected to internet using a phone line like the old dial-up, or a router. Any help on this would be appreciated.

August 31, 2010 6:39 AM

LEO, an update of this VERY IMPORTANT article of yours is badly needed: it's 5 years old. I have never been able to find a satisfactory method to manage a Yahoo! Mail account using Office Outlook: I've tried FreePops, Ypops, you name it. Results have been mostly awkward, or outright disastrous: mail is never read, outgoing mails are never sent (or sending mail is plainly unsupported), the whole of Outlook hangs up, etc., or (about the most annoying bug) the same piece of e-mail gets downloaded dozens of times. Just imagine receiving a bunch of 33 e-mails on a given morning, with each one having a dozen replicas! I hope you feel there's a need to do some research and (hopefully) find fresh solutions to this old problem (please!). Thanks a lot!

Even after all this time I'm not aware of a viable solution for Yahoo. Both Gmail and Hotmail support direct POP3 access.

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