Help connecting Gmail to an external POP3 account

Project Description

I need help connecting my Gmail to an external mail account for business. Gmail combines all our different email addresses. We don't want to learn a whole new email system.

Completion Notes

Gmail has a feature that allows you to fetch and send emails from additional email accounts hosted elsewhere. Apparently, it is convenient for users who got used to and are stuck with Gmail. The downside is, of course, that all these additional emails are scanned and used to learn more about a user. Whether or not someone should make all their emails available to an advertising company, we leave as a mental exercise on privacy. If you must do it no matter what, then read on...

Gmail Settings

First, we need to open Gmail Settings, for that we login to a Gmail account, and the use the button that looks like a cogwheel on top right:

Gmail settings button

Gmail settings button


Clicking on the button reveals a dropdown menu, we need to use the Settings option in it:

Gmail settings option in dropdown menu

Gmail settings option in dropdown menu



Adding a New Account to Gmail

Once in Settings, we go to the Accounts tab. There, to the right of Check mail from other accounts (using POP3): label, we click the Add a POP3 mail account you own link.

Add a POP3 mail account you own option

Add a POP3 mail account you own option


Which brings us to the following 2-step dialog:

Add a mail account you own - step 1

Add a mail account you own - step 1



Add a mail account you own - step 2

Add a mail account you own - step 2


In the first step we just enter the email address of the extra mailbox we are connecting to. But the second step may needed some clarification and actually needed a fix in the scope of this project.

Connection Properties

To connect an external mailbox, we need to know:

All of the above should be obtained from your mailbox provider. Once we have the info, enter the data and try connecting. Any errors are displayed in the top part of the dialog when you click the Add Account button. Here is an example of one such error:

There was a problem connecting to mail.example.com.
Server returned error: "We were unable to locate the other domain. Please contact your other provider."

Add a mail account you own error

Add a mail account you own error



We may also get:
There was a problem connecting to mail.example.com.
Server returned error: "Connection timed out. There may be a problem with the settings you added. Please contact your other email provider to verify the correct server name and port."

Both errors above are easily fixed if we enter correct data from your mailbox provider.

Certificate Error

What if we get the following error:

Unable to establish secure connection to mail.example.com
Server returned error: "SSL error: self signed certificate"

The above was actually the case for our client, which required a fix to install a proper certificate onto the mail server. We did not have to buy a new one, we re-used an existing certificate for an already running website. Below is an example of working settings, make sure to use your own Username, Password, POP Server, and Port values obtained from your provider.

Add a mail account you own - SSL mail server settings

Add a mail account you own - SSL mail server settings


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