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

MSN HotMail POP3 and SMTP settings are a common request. MSN HotMail provides no POP3 and SMTP servers for free accounts, but third party services might.

I'd like to access my MSN HotMail account through Outlook Express. What do I put in for the "Incoming mail (POP3)" and "Outgoing mail (SMTP)" server settings?

Please note that this article has been replaced with:
How do I download my Windows Live Hotmail to my machine?

I've actually written about this before, but I keep getting the question so often that it's clear that my previous articles are not clear enough.

So let me be extra clear:

There are no POP3 and SMTP servers provided by HotMail. None. There is no configuration for Outlook Express, or Outlook, or any other mail program that will let you download your email directly from HotMail for free.

There are alternatives that people seem to get all wrapped up about, but they are not what you think. Let me explain why ...

Outlook used to work.

"You can not download directly from Hotmail into Outlook Express for free."

You used to be able to configure Outlook and Outlook Express to download HotMail, but even then it wasn't using POP3. You could tell Outlook that "Mail incoming mail server is an HTTP server", instead of POP3, and HotMail would work.

That doesn't work anymore for free HotMail accounts. You cannot download directly from Hotmail into Outlook Express for free.


Because it's free. HotMail makes money by showing ads along with your email. If you download your mail, you don't see the ads. If no one sees the ads, then advertisers wouldn't pay (or pay as much). HotMail would have no reason to provide their service.

Like it or not, HotMail is a business.

So one way is to upgrade to a paid HotMail account. HotMail makes money, as they should, and you get to download your email.

In my other articles on this topic, people keep mentioning "" as "the setting" for HotMail. Just put that in as your POP3 or SMTP and "it just works".

And so it does. But...

There are some things you really need to know about

  • It's not HotMail - is a service run by a company called IzySoft in Belgium. IzySoft is not related in any way to HotMail, MSN or Microsoft.

  • It's not free - yes, you can plug in "" as your POP3 server, and it'll work. For a while, as a free trial. Once the trial is over, you will have to pay to continue to use the service.

  • It's probably against HotMail's rules - remember I talked about how HotMail makes money? Pop3hot gets in the way, and I'd be surprised if HotMail was OK with that. If I'm right, the worst case is that you could lose your HotMail account.

"But keep in mind what it is not: it's not run by HotMail and it's not free."

I have nothing against It looks like a useful and cool service. I just tried it myself and downloaded email from one of my HotMail accounts into Thunderbird. A little slow, but very cool.

But keep in mind what it is not: it's not run by HotMail and it's not free. And it might be against the rules.

If you're OK with that, then by all means, give it a try.

Other Services seems the most popular, since many people keep recommending it here on my other articles, but there are other services that do the same thing. The "problem" is that nothing is free. One way or another these services are in it for a reason. The legitimate services will be up front and charge you some fee. Others may not be as safe, and might just be collecting your account information - you do have to give it to them for the service to work, right?


If you can walk away from HotMail, I have two suggestions for you:

Get a "real" POP3 account. Usually from your ISP or other email provider. Not only will you be able to download email, but you'll get customer support when things go wrong. Something seriously lacking in most all of the free email services.

Get GMail. GMail is probably the best of the free services right now. Among other things ,it provides POP3 support as part of the free service.

Article C2679 - June 5, 2006 « »

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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?

Greg Bulmash
June 5, 2006 10:27 PM

One thing you didn't mention about pop3hot: I'm assuming that to access your hotmail through them, you have to give them your hotmail login and password. In many cases these are the same as your "microsoft passport" login and password.

Basically, for the privilege of getting your Hotmail by POP3, you're giving some unknown company in Belgium the ability to impersonate you, which they are then doing to be able to download your mail from hotmail and provide it through a POP server.

Forget Microsoft catching them and killing your account. Think about an unscrupulous employee there or a hacker who gains access to their servers using your account for nefarious purposes, using information you freely provided.

Yahoo used to have POP access too, but they moved that over to their paid service. Currently the two big-boys who offer non-web access with free accounts are AOL's AIM mail, which I access by IMAP (I'm not sure if POP is available) and Google Gmail, which offers POP access.

Dik Heikoop
June 6, 2006 3:16 AM

Please take a look at the Hotmailpopper program.
Can I use that without problems in OE ?

Dik Heikoop

June 6, 2006 11:58 AM

One correction - all the above only applies if your Hotmail account is relatively new (created at some point more recent than something like a year before they blocked access from Outlook). If you have an older one, you got an email from Hotmail Member Services saying that as a "long-time user of Hotmail" you get to retain downloading priveleges. I have a couple of Hotmail accounts from 2002 which I never use for anything important any more, but still work in Outlook. So if you've had the account for a while, it's worth a try.

June 6, 2006 4:25 PM

I swear I have read this article (as well as many of the related posts.) I must be an idiot because I am still confused!! :) Are you saying there is nothing I can enter into my "mail server" for incoming mail for my hotmail account?

I have tried every combination of ",,, etc you get the picture... )

I also tried to figure out where I can see on my hotmail account, or actual computer I have it set up now.

(I need to set up my hotmail address as the reciever of daily email from a website, but so far everything I have tried has failed.)

Thanks!! Denise

June 6, 2006 5:01 PM

"Are you saying there is nothing I can enter into my "mail server" for incoming mail for my hotmail account?"

Correct. There is nothing FREE that you can enter. You can upgrade to the paid version of hotmail and use Outlook Express. Or, there are third party services that you can use, but they also cost money, and you must give your account information over to them.

HotMail is a *web based* mail server. It's not designed for downloadable mail.

Leo A. Notenboom
June 9, 2006 10:52 AM

Using Outlook Express or Outlook you should be able to configure an account using "http" protocol instead of pop3.

June 9, 2006 7:31 PM

Perhaps I have a unique situation. I had a pop3 account with MSN... when I went to DSL I had to close it and move to QWEST, and with their cheapest account there is no email account. My @msn account turned into a hotmail account but I retained my @msn address. For a while I couldn't use either Outlook 2000 or 2003, just hotmail online, then one of msn's nice techs slipped while helping me with another problem and told me how to configure my email account and now I can download to both Outlooks on my laptop and desktop. My notes say that my settings are as follows:
GENERAL:name, email address,, check the "include this account when receiving mail or syncronizing" box.
ADDVANCED: SERVER PORT: outgoing stmp [25], incoming pop3 [110]
LOG ON USING my name and password, check LOG ON USING SPA

Depending on your service provider something similar to this 'might' work for you. It may work because I did have an account with MSN for a long time before I got DSL, but the tech said, "Oops, I'm not sure I was supposed to tell you that." It has been over a year and I have had no problems after I set Outlook as my email program in IE, and told WORD to edit my email. Good luck... Sue

June 10, 2006 5:42 AM

I can confirm the "long-time user of Hotmail" Simon mentions - I still download my email for free into Outlook (not Outlook Express).

I don't think you do need to pay Yahoo for POP access (again, I use it and I don't pay).

In the UK at least you have to agree to receive marketing emails (as a Yahoo! Delivers member) and then you just deselect all the different marketing categories!

June 12, 2006 12:42 AM

Hi all, I have been trying this topic for long time but now I came to know one thing... I had a hotmail account before which was working with Outlook and O Express without any extra setting just with http://... mail. But for some password reasons my account was blocked and I dont remember my secret question and answer and I was forced to sign in for a new hotmail account and this account doesnt work with any of the mail clients.

So I came to a point where I understood only old hotmail accounts workin with email clients and not the new ones...

If I am wrong please correct me ... in case this piece of information brings you some new ideas please let me know... thank you all...

June 12, 2006 6:27 AM

Lady's and Gentlemen, i think you'll find this comment one of the most interesting. All the above information about you not being able to get access to your email accounts at all (or if its a new account is a load of rubish.

I have managed to find all the sever settings to recive and send E-mail through the hotmail servers.

the details i use are as follows

Incoming Mail Server (pop3) ---

Outgoing Mail Server (SMTP ---

I hope the above settings will help those in need, if not check out the following link.

This lists the majority of known email servers ans there are a couple of options to chose from with regards to your hotmail accounts..

Leo A. Notenboom
June 12, 2006 9:51 AM

Please read the article. It talks about pop3hot specifically.

June 13, 2006 8:24 PM

No offense Leo, but you don't know what you are talking about. If you have a hotmail account, outlook will fill the server info for you ( But, here's how you set up with outlook:

In Outlook Express, click Accounts on the Tools menu.

In the Internet Accounts dialog box, click Add, and then click Mail.

On the first page of the Internet Connection Wizard, type your full name, and then click Next.

On the Internet E-mail Address page, type your full Hotmail/MSN address (

On the E-mail server Name page, click HTTP in the My incoming mail server is box.

In the box My HTTP service provider is, click Hotmail or Other.

If the box Incoming mail server is displayed, type

On the Internet Mail Logon page, type your account name and password in the respective boxes. Your account name needs to be the full email address (e.g.,
Click Finish to add your MSN/Hotmail account to Outlook Express.

June 13, 2006 8:29 PM

Microsoft has been very clear that it is phasing out Outlook support for *free* Hotmail accounts. Your instructions may well work for paid accounts, but new *free* accounts will not, and old *free* accounts are being phased out.

June 18, 2006 4:14 AM

Leo is correct. Outlook express is called "Windows Mail" in vista, and only allows adding POP3 or SMTP servers, and NOT HTTP servers.

June 22, 2006 5:16 PM

Gmail sucks ass. Don't use it. They will disable your account for no reason and without notice. Also, when you try to contact them to ask why they disabled your account, they'll ignore you. You get an automated response, which means nothing. Don't use gmail. I repeat, don't use gmail.

July 11, 2006 8:59 AM

I just had to reinstall outlook express and it let me set up my hotmail to dump into it.

July 11, 2006 10:48 AM

I agree with Leo other than the fact that you do have another option. You can add extra storage for 30 bucks a year. I use to support the MSN software. Often we had MSN accounts changed from webmail to pop3. You can request your account be setup pop3 as opposed to webmail. This does however require a paid account. If your carrier is verizon they offer the MSN software free which comes with 9 email accounts I believe. You also can request these accounts be pop3 as opposed to webmail. Isaac could use pop3 he just needs to contact technical support and they in turn will contact tierIII. Only tier III would be able to complete this request. If the technical support rep has no idea make sure to request tierIII.

July 11, 2006 10:55 AM

I need to clear up a misconception. Hotmail is not "blocking" POP3 rather they are turning them into webmail as opposed to pop3. They can change the accounts but would not change them on a free acount. However, if you have a paid account even extra storage or even software supplied by Verizon you could request your account be changed from webmail to pop3 as I stated earlier.

July 11, 2006 11:04 AM

Here is the FINAL answer :) Right from the horses mouth

Customer Cannot Access Hotmail's POP Mail Retrieval Feature

A recent change to MSN Hotmail means users with a standard free Hotmail account are no longer able to use the POP Mail Retrieval feature. This means users of free Hotmail are not able to combine e-mail from other accounts into a single Hotmail account. However, MSN Extra Storage subscribers and MSN Internet Access subscribers with Web-based e-mail can continue to aggregate e-mail from other accounts into a single Hotmail account.
To see if you have Web-based or POP3 e-mail with your MSN Internet Access subscription:

You have Web-based e-mail if you:

• Use MSN Explorer to retrieve your e-mail
• Can access your MSN mail from:
• Have set up Microsoft Outlook 2002 or Microsoft Outlook Express to view your MSN mail
You have POP3 e-mail if you:• Have configured Outlook or Outlook Express to receive POP3 e-mail (and use SMTP to send mail)
• Cannot access your account through
To switch from POP3 to Web-based e-mail if you are an MSN Internet Access subscriber:1. Install MSN Explorer from: (
2. Log in to MSN Explorer.
3. Follow the onscreen instructions to convert your e-mail from POP3 to Web-based.
For more assistance, please go to: (

IMPORTANT: If you are switching to Web-based e-mail, note:
• You must use Microsoft Outlook 2002 to view Web-based mail for MSN and Hotmail accounts. Earlier versions of Outlook do not support Web-based mail.
• If you are using Outlook Express 5 or 5.5, you can get more assistance in configuring your account from: (

NOTE: If you are an MSN Internet Access subscriber using a free or free account to access your paid POP3 e-mail, you are now no longer able to access your POP3 e-mail from your free account.

If you would like to keep your MSN Internet Access account configured for POP3 e-mail and use Hotmail to aggregate your POP accounts, consider signing up for MSN Extra Storage. In addition to POP Mail Retrieval, you will also receive:
• 10MB of MSN Hotmail storage - five times what you're getting today.
• The ability to send and receive larger attachments - up to 1.5MB per message.
• 30MB of MSN Communities storage - the perfect place to store photos.
• Exemption from account expiration policy - you'll never have to worry about losing your account.
Check your Hotmail Home Page for the "Get Extra Storage" link to see what is available in your market and for your local pricing.

If the "Get Extra Storage" link does not appear on your Hotmail Home Page, MSN Extra Storage is not currently available in your market.

July 11, 2006 1:28 PM

"So let me be extra clear:
There are no POP3 and SMTP servers provided by HotMail. None. There is no configuration for Outlook Express, or Outlook, or any other mail program that will let you download your email directly from HotMail for free."

Dude, you're wrong.

I've been using Outlook Express 6 (XP SP2 & XP Pro SP2) for Free HotMail for years! Whenever I have to set it up Outlook's Wizard even uses the reference for "". Under the account the server type is listed as http - with this address:

You're right about not being able to use it with Vista which sucks.

July 11, 2006 7:53 PM

Here is the PROOF that LEO is 100% CORRECT as far as outlook express
However there is a workaround as per MICROSOFT

But then microsoft officially states the following
This article describes how to connect to MSN, the Microsoft Network, e-mail accounts. Currently, MSN offers the following three types of e-mail accounts: • MSN Post Office Protocol version 3 (POP3) account. This is a fee-based account that also provides access to the Internet and many other member benefits.
• MSN Web-based account. This is a fee-based account that is available to MSN 9 Dial-up, MSN Premium, and MSN Hotmail Plus subscribers.
• Microsoft Outlook Connector for MSN. This is a subscription-based product that is currently available to MSN 9.0 Premium customers. Outlook Connector for MSN works in the background. With this product, users can use Microsoft Outlook to manage one set of communication tools such as their contact list, task list, e-mail inbox, and calendar in the office or at home. Outlook Connector for MSN is compatible with Microsoft Outlook 2002 and Microsoft Office Outlook 2003 and has the following features: • 25-megabyte (MB) inbox
• 10 MB attachment
• 39 MB group storage

Basically you may have a free account that works from past, however they are not currently avaliable and eventually you will not be able to download email for free.

July 20, 2006 6:42 AM


Just to clarify Leo said "There are no POP3 and SMTP servers provided by HotMail. None."

You are refering to settingup outlook as a webbased email account which is different from pop3. There is a difference. However, I would amend his statement to There are no POP3 and SMTP servers provided by FREE HotMail accounts. Clearly, they are provided for paid accounts as per the above posts.

August 19, 2006 12:54 PM

I have had a msn pop email acount for years. Suddenly after installing vista I can no longer connect to the SPA server to download my msn mail to outlook. This still works on my xp machines so it is a security issue in vista that is disallowing the SP Ato connect to the msn servers. Any idea when / if this will be corrected?

August 27, 2006 4:10 AM

You can use outlook, you have to set it to 'hotmail' in the settings and it works. It is not pop3/smtp but they do have a system.

September 8, 2006 5:28 PM

how can I remove hotmail from my outlook express 6 I now understand that I can't set up hotmail in outlook express but how do I get rid of it plus it give me these error measages each time I try to use it
Your server has unexpectedly terminated the connection. Possible causes for this include server problems, network problems, or a long period of inactivity. Account: ' (2)', Server: '', Protocol: SMTP, Port: 25, Secure(SSL): No, Error Number: 0x800CCC0F

The service is currently unavailable. Try again later. Account: 'MSN', Server: '', Protocol: HTTPMail, Server Response: 'Service Unavailable', Port: 0, Secure(SSL): No, Error Number: 0x800CCCF0

Unable to poll for new messages on your HTTP server. Account: 'MSN', Server: '', Protocol: HTTPMail, Server Response: 'Service Unavailable', Port: 0, Secure(SSL): No, Error Number: 0x800CCCF0

Your server has unexpectedly terminated the connection. Possible causes for this include server problems, network problems, or a long period of inactivity. Account: '', Server: '', Protocol: POP3, Port: 110, Secure(SSL): No, Error Number: 0x800CCC0F

Your server has unexpectedly terminated the connection. Possible causes for this include server problems, network problems, or a long period of inactivity. Account: ' ', Server: '', Protocol: SMTP, Port: 25, Secure(SSL): No, Error Number: 0x800CCC0F

can you help me.

Leo Notenboom
September 10, 2006 7:58 PM

Mona: in OE, hit the Tools menu, Accounts item, Mail tab, and click on the line that represents your hotmail account and then click on the Remove button.

September 30, 2006 9:18 AM

Dear Leo,

Apparently you shouldn’t be posting if you don’t know what you are talking about. If you are actually an MSN member you have a email account with pop3 and SMTP servers. They are and What the person was referring to is there is a change in windows Vista that prevents the secure login to the pop3 server that works with previous versions of windows, which I my self am trying to find an answer to fix this.

Thanks for reading carefully

October 1, 2006 6:40 AM

Leo, I really think you should correct the information in this post. I was looking for the settings to fix an outlook express hotmail account that used to work. Your informatin led me to think that msn had withdrawn the service. In fact the status quo continues. The Criteria is simple: IF you have a account, you can download to outlook, if your account is the newer etc type account then you can no longer download to outlook.

Setting up the account again, I discover the correct setting as already given in an earlier comment is:


October 7, 2006 3:34 AM

Theres this new program called windows live mail desktop (beta) and it can be used to check mn hotmail, gmail, and it also imports (i think) existing accounts from outlook express. you need to sign up @
(it sucks but works on a celeron)

October 8, 2006 7:21 PM

Mona, I plugged in that pop3hot before reading far enough. After reading a little further I removed it. Does this 3rd party now have my info? Will I owe anything since I only had it plugged in for 30 seconds?

Alex Orbell
October 14, 2006 4:42 AM

There is a free way to get hotmail on any version of outlook! when you set up an account go to HTTP account, fill in all you details but before you select "next" select from the drop down box "Other" server type. Type in:

and click next. and thats it!

October 25, 2006 11:43 AM

The new Outlook 12 (in beta 2) auto cofigs when you enter an account and allows you to get your mail thru HTTP, also as mentioned above Windows Live Mail Desktop also allows hotmail thry HTTP easliy as youentering your email address alone. not a single value or bit of configuration is needed.

November 10, 2006 8:59 AM

in the past i worked with hotmail since one week ago when stop working in fact microsft want to stop outlook express to migrate to windows live mail desktop the new generation for vista but it still beta and not working so why they cut off the old server of hotmail untill this new one work and i think we are obliged to work with wen interface but i will sont work with hotmail coz outolokk express still support yahoo and gmail so microsoft u can do what u do like for ie7 is bery bad ie6 is better and mozilla is the best so stop doing this thing for marketin

November 28, 2006 10:21 PM

Well, Why bother with hotmail.. I use gmail, In gmail you can enable pop3 retrieval and with a few simple settings you can download your gmail in outlook express, outlook, mozilla thunderbird, whatever you want..

November 29, 2006 10:12 AM

FYI everyone. I was one of those persons who decided to help MS out by using their Desktop Live and after two weeks, things going good for the most part, they uploaded security patches and upgrades, it crashed my entire explorer.exe program. I could not open up anything except through the Task manager. We tried everything under the sun, it did not work. No 'Start' button, no nothing. I had to purchase a backup, because it crashed my backup, too. I used the Apricorn from Aegis which worked very well to save all my important stuff and then had to re-install. FUN FUN FUN for all people who are so busy.

Bob Thompson
December 2, 2006 7:50 AM

I read your article about Hotmail and POP/SMTP, and everything you say makes sense. I also noticed your recommendation to use Gmail for online SMTP. Just to let you know, I've had horrible results with this. I cannot currently configure Outlook or Express to use it, and there is no tech support. There is a forum, but good luck getting answers to questions.

So my next question is this. Like you said, you get what you pay for. How do I get a paid Hotmail account, is there detailed instructions on how to set it up, and is there support if I have issues with it? I think as we approach the second decade of the 21st century, I should be able to acccess email from a desktop email program (Outlook, etc.) from anywhere on the internet. Work or home. I'm willing to pay for it. Just tell me how/where to sign up.

December 3, 2006 12:43 AM

Gmail works fine for me with Outlook Express. I followed these instructions explicitly and was able to receive and send messages without difficulty.
I hope this helps.

December 10, 2006 9:27 PM

Just wanted to let you know that there IS a way to use Outlook Express. By using HTTP and the incoming server of: it works for me!

Good Luck!

December 13, 2006 3:57 AM

There is a Hotfix that Microsoft has posted in order to correct the known issue with Outlook Express when one upgrades to IE7. I have installed it and Outlook Express is working properly once again; no more failing authentication.

December 15, 2006 10:27 AM

Look, Leo... you need to change your article!

Accounts, called 'Valued accts' that are and are free, and have been around forever, all use POP3 & SMTP. They WORK!

The servers are and They WORK -- I use them everyday and I don't pay one cent for my MSN acct.

Now, as to Vista. Vista breaks the SPA connection required for SMTP to MSN Hotmail servers. WIndows Mail (replaces OE) does not support POP3 for MSN or Hotmail accts. Right now it also does not support Canadian accts, which are also run on HOTMAIL SERVERS AS POP3 Accts! There is supposed to be a fix in the works for Sympatico by Jan 30th public RTM, but who knows.

Vista's SPA implememtation also breaks POP3/SMTP MSN access in Outlook 2003, 2000, etc. THOUSANDS and thousands are waiting for that to be fixed. Including me.

XP/MSN POP3/Outlook 2003 still works -- Vista breaks it.

Now, please update your article.

December 28, 2006 9:14 AM

YES you CAN send MSN email from other domains -- you use

I've been doing it forever.

December 28, 2006 2:57 PM

Just select http instead of pop3 when you are adding your hotmail account to outlook, it only asks for your email, user name and password, it then works.

Kirt E. Stockwell
January 17, 2007 5:19 PM

Have had my laptop configured with the msn http since day one and it still works just fine. settings are
could be that this only works for those who have an account that was set up prior to some unknown cutoff date. These settings by the way work where-ever I happen to connect.

January 29, 2007 9:28 AM

The change took place about 6 months ago. If you had an account setup prior to that, it will still work. If you are just setting up your account, it will not work

Leo Notenboom
February 1, 2007 11:53 AM

I'm closing comments on this article because people are simply repeating over and over again the question that is in fact answered by the article.

Comments on this entry are closed.

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