How To Set Up Email on Thunderbird

In this article, we’ll go through how to set up a work email account in an email client such as Thunderbird. We will first explore the differences between IMAP and POP3, where both protocols can be used to set up. Then, the procedures to set up your email account in Thunderbird automatically and manually will also be discussed in this article.

Differences between IMAP and POP3

IMAP & POP3? Both are commonly used protocols known as Message Accessing Agents (MAA). However, are there differences between the two?

  • IMAP


IMAP stands for Internet Messaging Access Protocol. It is an email protocol that supports email message management and retrieval from the receiving server.


Since IMAP is used for message retrieval, it does not support sending mail, merely accessing it. Hence,you are unable to send email using the IMAP protocol as it is utilized to receive emails.

IMAP enables you to access, organize, read and sort your email messages without first downloading them. As a result, IMAP is extremely quick and efficient. The server also preserves a record of all of the messages that you send, allowing you to access them anywhere.


  • POP3


POP3 is another email receiving protocol that stands for “ for Post Office Protocol. The number three refers to “version 3,” the most recent and extensively employed version — hence the name “POP3.”

In short, POP3 downloads the email from a server to a single device for permanent local storage, then the emails can be accessed offline. However, it also deletes the email from the server.


On the other hand, IMAP receives emails, stores the message on a server and synchronizes the message across multiple devices. It only caches and stores the emails temporarily on local devices.


Then the question was raised, which one is better?


Go with POP3 or IMAP? It is influenced by how you choose to access your emails.


In general, IMAP is the more capable and preferred technique for getting email if you operate across numerous devices. Alternatively, if you wish to have all emails available offline and have a dedicated email device, POP3 may be a viable choice.


However, we encourage using POP3 when most email clients support POP3. It has several functions that IMAP does not. For instance, folders can be created on the server for email transfer. In addition, we can search for emails on the server, and read attached attachments without downloading the full email. Therefore, it is faster than IMAP because POP3 only downloads the headers of emails, not the entire message body. These features are powerful as they improve efficiency and save much time for our daily email communication tasks.

Then, POP3 uses less server resources than IMAP as it downloads and deletes the emails from the servers. As a result, it is good for usage on servers with limited resources. Finally, the security aspect. POP3 is more secure than IMAP since it defaults to SSL/TLS encryption. This means that your passwords and email data are secure from public networks.


In conclusion, we encourage the use of POP3 when it works with most email clients, easy to back up and set up as well. The sections below will show you the ways to set up email using Thunderbird, one of the useful email management tools.

Thunderbird Setup: Automatic Configuration

Thunderbird is a free email software that’s simple to set up and modify, and it’s loaded with useful features!

You can download thunderbird for free from this link and install it on your laptop.

Firstly, launch your Mozilla Thunderbird. The Set Up Your Existing Email Address screen will appear if it was your first access after installation. Fill in the details required such as your name, email address, and password.


Then, proceed by clicking Continue.

Then, Thunderbird will automatically search up and fill in the incoming and outgoing mail server data from your email provider. It will also allow you to select the available configurations between IMAP or POP3 as the incoming mail protocol.


Click the Done button after making your choice of  configuration.

Once you have successfully set up an email account in Thunderbird, the account successfully created page will appear and you can now start enjoying Thunderbird to manage emails!

At the home page, click on your email address on the left panel, you can now set up another email the same way as above.

Thunderbird Setup: Manual Configuration

Other than automatic configuration, manual setup is also available for those who want to set up a custom email. To begin, you would need to verify your email ports in order to manually set up.

Parameters that can be found from webmail are required to set them to thunderbird. 

  • Collecting Parameters in Webmail


Before proceeding with the Thunderbird manual setup, you need to collect some email configuration details.


To add a Gmail or similar major email hosting provider account to Thunderbird, you only need the full email address and password since the platform can automatically establish its mail server setup settings. These details will be necessary if you want to add a custom email address to Thunderbird.

First, login to your webmail account.

Then look for “Configure Mail Client” to check the settings. The client manual settings will be shown as the image below.

Attention to the incoming and outgoing server information; you will need them to manually set up the custom email account. After all the parameters are collected, you can now proceed to manual configuration of Thunderbird.

  • Start Setting Up

To manually configure a mail account in Thunderbird, launch the application and proceed to the email client setup page by selecting the hamburger menu button in the upper right corner of the window. Then, select New, and Existing Mail Account from the drop-down menu.

Fill up your name, complete email address, and mailbox password on the Thunderbird settings page. Then, choose Configure manually.


On the same page, the manual setup settings will be shown. Verify the server names, ports, and security settings based on the configuration data you acquired in the previous step shown in section above.


Start by setting up the incoming mail server. In this example, we’ll choose POP3 from the incoming protocol drop-down menu and type in as the incoming server hostname. We’ll also change the incoming port to 995. (Take note the data is obtained from the webmail client manual settings, which will vary for each account.)

Now, click on the Connection security drop-down menu and select SSL/TLS. A Normal password for the incoming server authentication method is recommended. Then, fill in the username field with your email username. For instance, if your email address is, the username will be xxx. 

Let’s continue to set up the outgoing mail server after setting the incoming port, hostname, username, and other incoming server parameters.


It is basically the same as setting up the incoming server. Start by filling in the Hostname and Port fields of your outgoing server. For example, we use as the outgoing server hostname and 465 as the outgoing port. 


Repeat the steps for connection security method and username same as the incoming server. Next, click the Re-test button to put your manual settings to the test after filling all the information. Thunderbird will respond quickly, as shown below if the settings are valid.

Finally, click Done and wait for Thunderbird to validate the email setup.

The account successfully created screen will be shown above indicating your account is now linked to Thunderbird successfully. To view the mailbox, click Finish and the newly added email account can be found in the application window’s left panel, ready to serve you!

Why Is Thunderbird Useful?

  • Tailored for all your needs

You can manage many accounts hosted on various providers while dealing with only a single interface, which is Thunderbird rather than multiple web clients. The filters are also simple to set up. In addition, the folders can be configured and forwarded to incoming mail and other appropriate folders easily.  As emails come in they get sorted to the respected folders.

  • Secure & Private

Multiple technologies, such as built-in Do Not Track and remote content blocking, work simultaneously to guarantee your safety and privacy.


  • Highly Customizable

To prevent having to load the mail services’ online web clients. When each one gets its own tab, it consumes more resources and runs slower than the entire Thunderbird software. Thunderbird is a native application that is open source and completely customisable.

For more information, visit Thunderbird to find out more features in detail! 

Contact Us

Any doubt? Feel free to contact us, Zoewebs, where we could provide MORE with detailed, organized, and professional ideas/advice on it. Let’s discuss how we can work together to reach your goals!

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