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How POP and IMAP work

POP and IMAP are two common ways to access email. Whereas an Exchange connection only works with MS Outlook or Entourage and generally can only connect from on-campus, virtually any email client (and many handheld devices) can be configured to connect to email using POP or IMAP, and the connection works anywhere in the world as long as you have internet access. However, POP and IMAP do not allow you access to the advanced features of our Exchange email server, such as the Calendar, Contacts, Notes, or Journal folders. These features are only available through Microsoft Outlook on a PC, or (to a lesser extent) Entourage or Webmail.

POP and IMAP handle email differently. In general, we recommend IMAP over POP. Here are the differences in a nutshell:

  • The POP protocol will download all mail from the server onto the user's computer, and the mails will be deleted from the server unless you specifically tell your email client to not delete them. It only downloads the inbox.
  • IMAP, on the other hand, keeps all mail on the server and accesses it remotely. IMAP also allows you to "subscribe" to folders other than the Inbox, such as a "Personal" or "Classes" folder you might have created.

Configuring POP and IMAP email access

Users of POP or IMAP account will need to adjust their setting as below:

Incoming Mail

  • Your Incoming mail server should be "mail.middlebury.edu".
  • Your Incoming mail DOES require SSL. Due to a security issue, changes have been made that now require ALL users of Middlebury email accounts to use a secure connection when sending or receiving mail. Make sure to change the port to 995 (for POP) or 993 (for IMAP).

Incoming Mail: Advanced port settings

This is complicated! Sorry. We'll try to make it simpler, I promise.

  • TLS can't be enabled for incoming mail using POP in outlook, but when using IMAP, TLS can be enabled and allows a connection to mail.middlebury.edu over the default port 143.
  • SSL can be enabled for incoming mail at mail.middlebury.edu, however it requires manually setting the port to 995 instead of 110 for POP, or the port to 993 instead of 143 for IMAP. At least gmail and outlook, and likely other clients allow the port to be set manually.
  • SSL cannot be used to connect to ssmtp.middlebury.edu over port 25 in Outlook. The error message in outlook is: "Send test e-mail message: Your server does not support the connection encryption type you have specified. Try changing the encryption method. Contact your mail server administrator or Internet service provider (ISP) for additional assistance."
  • SSL does appear to work to connect to ssmtp.middlebury.edu over port 25 using Macmail.

Our incoming mail server does requires authentication, which means that you need enter your middlebury username and password to receive mail. Your mail program will give you an option to save this username and password so you don't have to enter it every time you want to receive mail. We recommend that you do not choose this option, as you are required to change your Middlebury password every six months.

Outgoing Mail (SMTP)

  • Your Outgoing mail server should be "ssmtp.middlebury.edu"
  • Your Outgoing mail does require SSL (or TLS if available - use port 25 for this).
  • Your Outgoing mail server DOES require authentication, using the same credentials as the incoming server.
  • Do NOT use secure password authentication.
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