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Free email services like Hotmail don't have mail servers that you can plug into just any email client. They are typically web-only services.

On my Mac (OS 10.2.8), I am trying to reset my mail preferences on my launcher for my new Hotmail account. All I need is the incoming and outgoing mail server addresses to make this work. Can't get an answer from MSN.


Microsoft has apparently started to roll out true POP3/SMTP support.

Please read: What are Windows Live Hotmail's POP3 and SMTP settings? for the latest informaion.

Well, Hotmail's kinda special that way. Yahoo mail and GMail as well.

Free email services like Hotmail don't have mail servers that you can plug into just any email client. They are typically web-only services.

Why? Because they're free. They make money by presenting advertising, or links to other sites, along with your email. If they allowed access to any other email clients, that advertising would disappear. And so would their reason for providing the service.

Hotmail did have an approach that allowed Outlook Express on Windows to download email directly - but that's either being phased out, or has already been. Outlook XP and Outlook 2003 can also access Hotmail directly, but it's unclear if that will last.

My article Can I read web mail using a pop3 mail reader? includes a couple of pointers to third party applications that may allow more traditional POP3/SMTP access to Hotmail and Yahoo.

Article C2297 - March 2, 2005 « »

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.

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April 10, 2005 1:06 AM

Get First the DNS numbers (Domain numbers) of Whatever mail server you are using for example for outgoing e-mails you must give the number of SMTP number. Then POP3 for incoming mails. For hotmail you can use the default setting in Outlook express. If you are using yahoo than SMTP is and POP3 is , ok .bye

July 26, 2005 7:39 AM

download incredimail at - their software allows you to download your hotmail and it's very easy to set up the new account and automatically configure. i like it much better than outlook, too. :)

August 5, 2005 7:46 PM

That depends entirely on your ISP or what service you use for email. CHeck with them.

August 21, 2005 11:17 PM

I'm trying to set up my hotmail account on my new pocket pc the O2 Xda II mini, and I do not know what to put in the "server information" fields for:
incoming mail :
outgoung mail :
domain :

Please help

August 22, 2005 7:44 AM

If you're trying to do this with Hotmail, please read the article. The answer is that Hotmail doesn't support that, you'll need to use a web browser instead.

If this is a different email account, you'll need to copy the settings you're using on your PC-based mail program - or ask your ISP.

October 7, 2005 7:11 PM

Hotmail is no longer allowing free pop3 access. This is what I received while trying to set up Outlook 2003 to download mail from hotmail.

The server responded 'Access to Hotmail via Outlook and Outlook Express now requires a subscription. Please sign up at'. '

Pieter Blondeel
October 31, 2005 5:47 AM

Hotmail itselfs offers no pop3 or smtp services.
However there is Freepops, a program you can install on your computer and which lets you access different web-email accounts like hotmail of (and many others)
You just have to configure your email-client (i prefer The Bat, btw), to localhost and portnumber 2000, once Freepops is installed.
There is however no smtp server, which means you can only receive your mails in your mail-client, but not send email. (therefore you should install a smtp-server).

In short, if you want to circumvent this stuff, get yourself a Gmail-account, which offers free pop3 and smtp-acces; and which in my opinion, is way better, faster and easier to use than hotmail.

If you really want to keep your hotmailaddress and want to acces it through your mail-client, just install Freepops and adjust your settings in the mail-client.

November 29, 2005 9:36 AM

Hotmail Settings
As other web based email services, Hotmail is using the HTTP protocol for connecting you to your mailbox. If you want to send and receive Hotmail emails using an email client software, then your software must support Hotmail HTTP access for your email account. Some email clients, such as Outlook Express or Microsoft Outlook, offer builtin support for Hotmail accounts, so you only have to select HTTP when you are asked to select your email account type and select Hotmail as the HTTP Mail Service Provider

January 5, 2006 8:56 PM

You simply need to create a Passport account using your yahoo email adddress, and then use that account ot login to Messenger.

January 6, 2006 11:24 AM

Outlook 2003 has a setting to choose hotmail from a drop down bar, so you can access your hotmail mail no problemo :p

Type hotmail in the help section!

Leo A. Notenboom
January 8, 2006 10:00 AM

Please note that is NOT owned by HotMail or Microsoft - it's owned by a company in Belgium. This is a *subscription service* (you have to pay for it after a trial period), and you must give this third party you HotMail account information for it to work.

Use at your own risk.

Leo A. Notenboom
January 8, 2006 10:06 AM

Anne: follow the instructions here:

and follow the link "Use any e-mail address to sign up for a .NET Passport"

March 22, 2006 8:49 PM

Please note that "pop3hot" is NOT MSN. It is some third party (IzySoft). I have NO idea whether they are trustworthy. They are NOT free.

Caveat emptor.

March 23, 2006 9:03 AM

I did not say they are not trustworthy. I also did not say they are. I simply don't know.

Why is that an issue? a) I can't imagine that the service can work without your Hotmail password somewhere, but even if it does, b) it's putting itself between you and your email. These third party services have access to your email. Do you want that? Do you trust them?

Again, I'm not saying *this* service is good or bad. I don't know.

What I AM saying, is that if you're going to pay for a service such as this, why not get a "real" email account somewhere other than Hotmail that supports POP3/SMTP natively, and might even include some customer support?

What I am saying is think carefully before you do it.

douglas Valenzuela
April 28, 2006 9:53 AM

on my MAIL 2.0 program I use (rather than HOTMAIL), it keeps coming up "Please enter the password for user [Email Address Removed] on POP server even tho I've put in my password it won't let me retrieve my mail any longer...I can now only respond to mail already in this account. On my HOTMAIL account, I can get and respond...but the MAIL 2.0 program is what I really need to work.
Thank so much...

Leo A. Notenboom
June 5, 2006 9:04 AM

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: IS NOT OWNED BY HOTMAIL. You are giving your information to a third party. IS NOT FREE. Quoting from their page: "After the free registration, you can evaluate the service, its features, reliability and speed for 15 days. During that period, we pay for the traffic and all operational cost of our system. When you decide to stay with us, please proceed to the Subscription Pages to sign up for a permanent account."

As I write this, they're charging just under $11/year for yoru first account, plus a $5 setup fee.

Now, if that's all OK to you ... then by all means go for it. But be VERY VERY CLEAR: "" is NOT "the POP3 and SMTP setting for Hotmail" - it's an intermediary service not associated with Hotmail or Microsoft.

Leo A. Notenboom
June 5, 2006 10:14 AM

I'm closing comments on this article, because it's obviously not clear enough and people keep spreading missinformation in the comments.

I've written a new article to take it's place. Please read this article:

Comments on this entry are closed.

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