Technology in terms you understand. Sign up for the Confident Computing newsletter for weekly solutions to make your life easier. Click here and get The Ask Leo! Guide to Staying Safe on the Internet — FREE Edition as my thank you for subscribing!

141 comments on “How Do I Route My Email through Gmail?”

  1. It seems to me, if you’re just going to use a desktop client, you only need to route the incoming (POP3, IMAP) through google’s servers. All the email programs I’ve encountered allow you to specify different incoming/outgoing servers. Thus, you leave the outgoing configured for your registrar but route incoming through gmail. This gives you spam filtering, but no “ on behalf of The only problems are that your “sent” email is not in gmail, and your registrar may not back up sent mail. However, there are solutions around this, such as using your registrar’s web interface to view sent mail, and enabling some type of Archive Sent option on your registrar’s configuration page.

    That does work (and is my personal configuration), but I left that out to keep an already lengthy and potentially confusing article as simple as possible. Recieving from one source but sending to another is another conceptual leap that I didn’t want to introduce.


  2. The only other minor down side to this is that in my email server the “account” column used to show the separate email accounts that it had retrieved the email from – now it all comes from my gmail account.

  3. Hi Leo,

    You say “Gmail’s a great spam filter. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that as I write this they are perhaps the best – a small amount of spam makes it through, and very few false positives are thrown”?

    My ISP is Virgin Media, and they have just recently migrated all our email to Google apps. The spam box certainly catches almost all of the spam messages but I’m finding that it also thows up quite a number of false positives and I’m frequently finding ‘good’ mail dumped in spam?

    Virgin Media’s answer to this is to be constantly white-listing contacts and setting up filters for individual contacts, which seems way of beam to me?

    Is this a common Google issue, or is it perculiar to this Virgin Media version?

    • Gmail learns what to do with messages that are questionable. If (using the web interface) you mark something as spam or not spam, it uses that to improve for your mail. In most cases no white or black lists are needed but it takes some time for it to get everything tuned in.

      Of your IP doesn’t give you the report spam and not spam buttons, to
      let it learn, you are stuck with just a white list. Black lists are not very effective.

  4. Hey, Leo! What a great service you provide to the computing masses … Thank you!

    Related to the topic, is your goal to do this free-of-charge? I mean, any commericial security suite today, such as McAfee or Norton, contain built-in spam filters. Are you suggesting that using what you have described related to using GMail as a spam filter is better than using a commercial spam filter?

    I’m not a big fan of the all-in-one suites in general, so I’d never rely on them for spam filtering. I get lots of reports of lost mail that boil down to those suites interfering in some way. Gmail’s spam filter is the best I’ve seen so far – commercial or otherwise.


  5. I am the association manager for all women bowlers in my area. How do I set up an account to send an e-mail blast of information to my lady bowlers. There are appx 1000 bowlers

  6. @Shirley
    First of all, the term email blast leaves a bad taste in many people’s mouths. You probably want to call it a newsletter or informational email.

    Now that we have the terminology straight, you can refer to these articles for advice:

    Another alternative is an email newsletter sending service like MailChimp which is free for non-commercial use and up to 2000 recipients.

  7. Thanks for this guide.

    I actually edited an existing (in Thunderbird) Pop account (with thousands of emails in it) to the gmail settings, and it worked perfectly :)


  8. I’m getting 550 550 Loop detected (state 18),

    and with State 17 with some emails, but not all.

    I have other gmail addresses that forward to this same email address, can that be the cause?

  9. If I have, say, 4 email addresses outside gmail, can I reroute them all through gmail?

    Certainly. Just have them all forward to the same Gmail account.

  10. Ugh…
    I’m lost, can I hire you? I’m sure you could resolve it in a half hour or less. I’ll pay!! Stopped receiving email yesterday and I cannot find or get it. Have my own server and an IT person who just can’t get me fixed. I have been using Thunderbird for years now and am tired of it, want to go web based. The issue is, when adding another email address through Google I cannot get my confirmation code for the email address because I am not able to see my email anymore!! How about it, do you work for money? No telling how much business I’m missing. Again, I will pay!

  11. This is a very nice article and provides insight into some of the Gmail settings that I wasn’t aware of. While this technique works well for sending critical emails. It does provide one big caveat. When Gmail sends the message, they include your gmail account email address (you {at} in message headers using the ‘sender’ item. This has an undesirable affect on many mail clients, such as outlook. The from address will read: you {at} on behalf of John Doe . Even with that said, this technique offers some value. Thanks :-)

  12. I have used this technique for friends and family who have email accounts with substandard web-based email UI’s or to consolidate multiple email accounts in one interface. The only downside I have seen is that email clients on the receiving side may not trust the configuration. Sometimes they display messages indicating that they have detected a setup that is frequently used by spammers. My sister does not want her friends to think they are spamming them! Also, the notification facility on some smartphones (iPhone definitely, I don’t know about Android phones) will not display the content of messages in pop-up notifications of these message as they do for messages that are not configured this way. I understand why this happens when I get a message from my sister (and know she’s not spamming me) but she worries that her friends and clients will distrust her messages because they are treated differently from the others.

    I don’t think these are show-stoppers and I will continue to use the technique, but it’s important to understand all the implications of the choice.

  13. Enjoyed reading your article and think it might be a solution for me. I have had a juno e-mail account for years and have used the “block sender” feature often but lately it seems like the block sender file might be full as I am getting a lot of unwanted mail, sometimes 40 a day. I think your article about using Gmail to forward email to would help me but I don’t think I am technical enough to implement it. Do you have a “trick” where I might expand the max in the block sender file in Juno or reset it to zero and start over again as I think some of the blocked senders may be duplicated.

    • Every email provider will have their own interface – so you’ll have to figure out Juno through their help systems. More than likely, if they have a way to add to the blocked senders list they also have a way to remove names from the list. Expanding the size of your list will also be something you have to either read through their help files or contact them about.

  14. One question,

    Can I put more than one email address through the same gmail email aact? I have two website addresses I would like to do this with but am unsure if I can put both through my gmail address.

    Thank you for the excellent post!

    • I believe a Gmail account allows you to route up to 5 accounts. To get around this limitation, I route my emails to 2 different Gmail accounts and route the second email account through my main account.

  15. Sir,
    I tried to configure my gmail account in outlook desktop email program.I did all the settings as you have mentioned in your article but when I Test Account Settings it gives me the error “Log onto incoming mail server (POP3): Your e-mail server rejected your login. Verify your user name and password in your account properties.”
    and it keeps asking me network password.So please help me to resolve this issue.
    Thank you.

  16. Thanks for this, Leo! One small issue resulted, though. I am using Outlook, and now after following your instructions, when I send/receive messages from Outlook, it not only downloads my email from Scott@somerandomservice (for example), it also downloads all of the other emails that were in the inbox for my standard gmail account, whichi I use for other purposes. Which I don’t necessarily want to download with Outlook. Any suggestions?

    • I’m confused – you have it configured to pull from two accounts? So configure it to pull from only one. I’m clearly missing something. :-)

  17. Thanks so much Leo! You’ve helped my hair pulling to stop. One question, I’m using AppleMail and its working with the way you’ve instructed on setting up. We’ve set this up as a POP and i wonder then if making changes on one computer through AppleMail will then be reflected on my other mac the way that an IMAP account would. If not is there a way to make that happen? Thanks so much!

    • You can make it work by switching to IMAP. You can set an email program to access your emails using IMAP and it will begin synchronizing your folders. I’m not sure if you have to activate IMAP with you email provider, most simply allow it by default. GMail makes you go to their website to activate it.

  18. Thanks for the tutorial. I have a question similar to the above Apple Mail/IMAP. I do use IMAP instead of POP3 for my emails because I want them to sync. Is it necessary to select the POP (as well as IMAP) method in Gmail and the POP3 email retrieval if I am using IMAP only in both Apple Mail and Gmail? I didn’t know if this was an ‘either or’ instance or if POP3 is required to retrieve the emails to the Gmail account. Your instructions say ‘and/or’ which could mean if you are choosing to setup an IMAP and a POP3 account or one or the other. Please clarify. Thank you!

    • I think there might be some confusion.

      Use POP3 (in Gmail) to pick up your email into Gmail. Then use IMAP to access your Gmail account.

  19. Our company recently applied new rules on our email filters to block messages where the from address doesn’t match the domain that sent the message to prevent email spoofing attacks. This had effectively blocks messages from people who use Gmail in the manner described above.

    • There are a number of legitimate reasons why an email may have the from and domain address not matching. So that points out how tricky spam filtering can be.

  20. to do this do you have to pay to subscribe to Google Apps or can you just do this through my regular Gmail account?
    My main domain is {url removed} and I want the two emails I use from that domain to go through this way?
    I also use Apple Mail on my MacBook and would need to configure that as well.


  21. Hi Leo,
    Great article! I followed the instructions and in Gmail all my messages have loaded. However I keep getting this error message: POP3: Unable to Fetch Email.

    Did I miss a step? Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

  22. Leo, does the configuration you’ve outlined function like an IMAP or Microsoft Exchange account. I have a verizon pop3 account and i’m tired of deleting emails on my phone only to have to delete the same ones on my home computer. Also, does the outlook calendar also become synced or interface with the gmail calendar. Thanks . . . . Scott

  23. Leo it sounds good but complicated for me. I was in CA and used 2 different computers to go on my gmail and now everyone in CA has my address and send hundreds of e mails that go to spam but I am scared is my e mail address still on my friends in CA how to get rid of this problem.

    • You can prevent this from ever happening again by remembering to log out of Gmail when ever you use someone else’s computer. Meanwhile your cure right now is very simple – just change your password and all security information associated with your account. This article will help with that:

      It’s probably good to be aware that the people who have been using your computer could have downloaded, and even sold, your entire contact list. So you may not be able to stop the spam.

    • I’m afraid I don’t understand the problem you’re describing. Everyone gets spam…. If you logged in from someone else’s computer and that scares you – change your password is all you need to do.

  24. Hello Leo, great article, and thanks for posting it. I have a related but somewhat more complicated issue, and wonder if you could give me advice. I have an email address at a state university. It’s actually powered by gmail, but the address doesn’t include any reference to gmail. Because the university system was hacked, I’m now getting 50-100 spam emails every day. I’ve contacted the university IT office, and they have been absolutely no help. I would have assumed since the incoming mail is brought in via gmail, the spam would have been filtered out, but such is not the case. Would it be possible to route my incoming mail (to the university) through a new gmail account I set up, and then have it forwarded again to my Outlook for mac 2011 client? BTW, I’ve tried the junk mail options in Outlook, and they have had no effect, given that my mail is also routed through my department’s exchange server. Thanks! David

  25. Every flippin time I click on Receive mail using Outlook express on my PC and it says 308 messages as I usually just view on my blackberry phone. Then it does not give this month’s messages on PC
    …so I click on receive messages again through outlook express and reloads the 308 messages excluding this month!!!????

  26. Leo:

    I have been plagued with spam in my Verizon email account for a couple of years on my smartphone, and I tried all sorts of ways to minimize it, with no success. Outlook did a good job of catching spam on my pc, but I was never able to fix the problem on email on my phone. I tried your suggestion of running my email account through Gmail to take advantage of the Gmail spam filter, and it’s working great! Just wanted to thank you for your advice, and I will be checking your site for other helpful hints.

  27. Great article. But one clarification, please.
    If I set this up routing 4 POP3 accounts through my gmail account I would also like to reply each mail with a sender-/account name equal to the acclunt name I received the mail in. As I read the instructions I set up one and only one sender account name. Or have I misunderstood. In Outlook I just press reply, and the communication goes via the same account of mine.

  28. Thank you for your help but I have an iPad right now and they do not remember my and my E-mail address, but when I try to sign up for a new one they keep telling me it is in use. God Bless.
    Bonnie K. Harmon

    • The email address is probably in use by you already! You don’t sign up for it again since it already exists, you simply need to access it. You can use the mail app on your iPad to get your email from Gmail. Simple click on settings, and then find “Mail, Contacts, Calendars” and you can set it up there. You will need your username and password.

      If you are wanting to route another email address through your Gmail, you can do that from the regular Gmail interface using a browser. You’ll then be able to access it easily with your iPad.

  29. I have 15 emails for my Business and brought hosting service from non goole, and wanted to use gmail for email as explain by you.

    pls. guide me how i can achieve this.

    • The article you’re commenting on explains the basics of how to do it. With 15 email accounts, you might see if you can set your account up to forward the emails to your GMail account, as I believe you can only have your GMail retrieve from up to 5 accounts. That’s how I do it.

  30. Dear Leo: I thought I had followed your instructions above. I wanted to send my Harvard Medical School email through Gmail while giving the appearance of Harvard email in all my messages. When I was done, Gmail retrieved thousands of Harvard Med School messages. I am successfully receiving new email from people sending with my Harvard email address. But I am seeing that all my outgoing messages are simply Gmail messages with my Gmail address with no Harvard signature. It is confusing because folks send to my Harvard address and get back Gmail messages.

    Do you know what I did wrong? I would appreciate any advice. Thanks.

    P.S. At one point I got a message that something wasn’t saved in settings if that is a help. Best, Steve

    • The solution is simple. You need to set emails to send as the Harvard account. Exactly how to do that will depend on if you are using the Gmail interface to send and receive, or if you are using an email client such as Thunderbird. If you are using the Gmail online interface, then click on Tools > Settings > Accounts and import > and “Send mail as.” There are a number of steps you will need to do there, so please read the online instructions carefully.

  31. Own a domain and created an alias for my existing gmail account but after too many hours wasted…. Gmail will still not allow me to “ADD another email address” when I go under settings.

    All I keep getting is an error message (below) every time I enter the user name and password (for gmail acct, then even tried password for domain registry)… so something is causing this because I was able to do this so EASILY for all the older domains I owned…

    >>>Does Gmail have a glitch because I am following the right steps… it let me add the email to the “reply as fiend” but I was unsuccessful in going the “Add another email address” option

    >>>If not, what am I missing?

    [Server response: DNS Error: 103343527 DNS type ‘aaaa’ lookup of responded with code NXDOMAIN 103343527 DNS type ‘a’ lookup responded with code NXDOMAIN code(0) ]

  32. Ok, so I did all this and when logged in to gmail from a pc, it works flawlessly.

    However, one flaw maybe you have an answer for. When I add gmail account to my iphone 6s, it won’t reply from the original account even though I chose “When replying to a message: Reply from the same address the message was sent to” in the gmail settings. Which means any emails sent from my phone will now use/expose my new gmail email address. When I go into iphone settings my only option is icloud or gmail for default email address.

    My accounts: linked a yahoo and live account to new gmail. Would like the live account to be the default on my phone without having to add it to the email accounts. It is inundated with spam which is why I liked your work around to use gmail spam filer as server.

    • That’s not a Gmail setting – it’s a setting somewhere in your iPhone. IT chooses what email address to reply as. If there’s no setting, then there’s no setting. (It also depends on what app you’re using – the Gmail app – at least for Android phones – does the right thing).

      • I am using Apple’s Mail App. If I use the Gmail App, Safari and iPhotos does not recognize it for emailing photos or links. Thanks for the help!

  33. I access Gmail through my web browser as well as through Thunderbird. When I create mail filters:

    – Do I create one on the web?
    – One in Thunderbird?
    – Or duplicate them in both?

  34. Hi Leo, your article has been very helpful, I would like to thank you for solving a big problem I was facing.

    I have now re – routed my (for example) through a gmail account, and it works perfectly to send and receive email through the designated email address I own.

    The issue I am having now is to now use this email address on Macbook Mail, iPhone and iPad. How do I use these programs to send a receive emails from my through the gmail server?

    Please could you help!

    Many Thanks

    • In short:
      Email address is your address.
      Account name is your gmail address.
      Account password is yoru gmail password.
      Email servers are those used by Gmail.

      So it’s as if you’re setting up to connect to yoru gmail account – which you are – except that you just set the “email address” to be something else. This Ask Leo! article actually walks through it:

  35. Hi Leo. This is a great article and I appreciate the questions and answers as well. I’m still a little confused about the ideal set-up for multiple accounts, so I’m going to describe my current email set-up and maybe you or someone else can suggest the best way to route my accounts through gmail.

    My wife and I each have individual gmail accounts for our personal mail. We run a small business and have a business email account on our domain hosting service and we have a “household” email account on a domain hosting service. We both access these two accounts from multiple devices: a pc laptop, mac desktop, 2 iPhones and a shared iPad. We also already have a gmail email account set up for the business, primarily for the business google plus account, it’s used very rarely for email.

    Ideally, I’d like the two domain hosted emails to run through gmail for spam filtering and to be accessible to both my wife and I and synced on our various devices. I think I can follow your steps to set up the business email to pass through the existing business gmail address. And access it from our devices using IMAP, so they are synced. Would it be easier to set up another gmail account to run the “household” domain-based email through, or can I also run it through the business gmail, as a second “sending” account?

    My biggest question is, how do I distinguish which individual emails are coming from which email account if they are all coming through one gmail account?

    Thanks for any help you can provide.


  36. I am presently using gmail… I previously used Outlook Express/Windows 10 … I am having a difficult time in trying to forward messages that I have received without revealing the previous sender…. With OE all I had to do was click “forward” which afforded me the opportunity of editing the original message before onforwarding to recipents… It also provided the option of removing any reference to previous sender … Can you please provide some guidance of the steps that I have to take in order to accomplish this in gmail …. Tks in advance

    • You can do the same in Gmail. Gmail hides the message for you when you forward – click on the three little dots in a box at the bottom of the message after you hit forward – that should expose the message you’re forwarding, and allow you to edit it.

  37. Hey there Leo,

    Thanks for this,

    Is there a way to accept google calendar invitations sent to your POP 3 e-mail address,

    I am having troble with this

  38. Hi!
    Is it possible to do this between web mail services?
    For example, if I have Office365 through godaddy but find the user interface for gmail to be more user freindly, and would prefer to use it as my business email interface. Can I pop3 my {email address removed} emails over to a purpose- set gmail inbox?

    Also- what is the difference between “imap” and “Exchange” email?
    The people trying to sell me office365 were trying to convince me that POP and IMAP were some archaic neanderthal versions, where an “EXCHANGE” email (lik Office 365) was the only way to go for synching data, calendars, etc. There was no mention of pop3.
    Can you help shed some light on this?


    • Exchange is a paid service, and works very well. If your email is important, and you don’t mind the small charge, it does have a lot of services – including syncing calendars, which regular email does not. I wouldn’t say the difference is between “archaic” or not. It’s more along the lines that you get what you pay for.

      It sounds like your server is Godaddy. The way email works is that it goes first through your server, and can then be picked up via POP3 or IMAP using any interface that you wish. You can use one, and then later use another. If you pick it up via POP3 the email can be copied and deleted from the server. If you pick up with IMAP it is synced with the server and the main copy stays on the server.

      If you use Gmail as your interface, then Gmail will grab your email from your server (Godaddy) and keep the main copy on the Gmail servers. Gmail then can operate as your IMAP server.

      Exchange, on the other hand, re-routes the entire system, so that all email is pointed, via DNS, through the Exchange servers. As you can see, in the end that is a bit easier for syncing because the middle server is left out of the mix.

      Here is a good article on IMAP that may help sort it all out.

    • Connie answered most of your question, but here ae a couple of extra points. When people refer to POP the are actually referring to POP3. IMAP is not archaic (use of that term was probably just aggressive marketing). Although POP3 is probably somewhat archaic, it is still preferable in some situations. I use GMail to handle several webmail email addresses.

  39. Leo, will that map the contacts and calendar as weill without a calDav or CardDav? Can I then set it up on an iPhone as a gmail account?

  40. Hello! I’ve also done this to my domain’s email. However, I found out that the emails that I send using my domain email address through Gmail is tagged as spam in other email platforms (e.g. Yahoo). Also, it says that “Google can’t verify if actually sent this message , and not a spammer” when I send to other Gmail accounts. What could be the problem, and is there a workaround for this? Thank you.

    • It sounds like those email services consider an email sent from an account with a different return address potential spam. Since the spam filtering is done by the recipients email program or email service provider, they would have to white list those emails or mark then as not spam..

    • The solution I use is to send my domain’s email from Gmail VIA my email server. That’s the “Send mail through your SMTP server” discussed above. Then, in a very real sense, Gmail’s not sending your mail, but your email server at your domain is.

  41. Two things, Leo, please:
    1- The Mail desktop on my iMac first autofilled the account as imap and I changed to POP. There is no POP3 offered. Problem?

    2- Perhaps related, once I configured the new mail account to Gmail, I received an email from Gmail saying that that my “Google account is no longer protected by modern security standards; that it’s now easier for an attacker to break into your account.” I have Mail 6.6 (1510) dated til 2013 on my iMac…Problem?

    THANKS!!! :)

  42. Hi, thank you for the great guide! I would like to do this because the webmail provided through my domain host lets in so much spam. Unfortunately, it also rejects useful mail from people I know (my host’s answer is the white list, but of course, I don’t always know a person is going to write me. I give out a business card!). I find out later that email is sent back to people because it “matches a spam profile” and I never see it.

    My question is…does following the above guide still route the email through my host before routing through gmail? In other words, are those useful emails from people I know still going to be rejected by my host before gmail even sees them, do you know? Having trouble finding the best solution here! Thank you!

    • Unfortunately, the mail is first received by your email service provider’s (ESP’s) server before it is forwarded to Gmail or picked up by Gmail. Isn’t there any way to turn off filtering at your ESP?

      • Thank you for the response. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like my ESP can offer a better suggestion than to add all potential emailers to a safe list, so I don’t think I can turn off the filtering that is rejecting some senders. Do you know if the new Gmail for business service (“Get custom email ( and more”) is still routing through my ESP, or if it could solve my problem by routing straight through gmail, using my alias somehow?

    • Yes, incoming email goes to your domain’s email server first, where Google picks it up. Outgoing email is sent by Google through your domain’s outgoing server.

  43. Thank you for this excellent article. I used it to route my personal BT mail and work mail through Gmail as I was getting far too much spam getting through to my personal BT mail address.
    However, recently I’ve been having problems with sending mails from my personal BT email address. After sending an email, 24hrs later I would receive another email with an error message as below:

    This is an automatically generated Delivery Status Notification

    Delivery to the following recipient has been delayed:
    Message will be retried for 1 more day(s)

    Technical details of temporary failure:
    Google tried to deliver your message, but it was rejected by the relay [xx.xx.x.xx].

    The error that the other server returned was:
    421 Too many messages ( from

    I’ve removed IP/addresses for security reasons. Just to be clear I am receiving emails fine on the problem address, its only sending I have a problem. If I use the default BT webmail service (without being routed through Gmail) I can send emails fine.

    Sending and Receiving is also working perfectly for the other email account I’m routing through Gmail (my own domain).

    Any help would be appreciated.


  44. Hi Leo…Great Work…this solved quite a few issues for me….started with one email identity….but since I added the second identity, I am having trouble seeing which email identity the incoming email is from. I also have not yet found how to send mail from either identity….Can you help me…..

    Many Thanks again….Bill

    • The easiest way to answer this question is to plow through settings in your main gmail account. Look for > Settings > Accounts and Import > and Send mail as. What you need to do is work slowly through the section, reading the instructions as you go. You will need SMTP information for your accounts, and will need to verify that you own the account. Make sure you do all the steps.

      • Yes…Good suggestion….Made a minor change in “Send Mail As” and that allowed me to see which mail account was coming into the Inbox….Also found drop downs in reply and forward which provides a a choice from which account to send……Thanks for helping me…..Bill

  45. I definitely see the advantage to using Gmail as a spam filter for incoming mail (POP3). What is the advantage of using Gmail as my SMTP server? As opposed to continue to send directly through my hosted email SMTP server?

    Thanks very much!

    • Maybe its outgoing reputation (GMail may have a better reputation than your domain, and thus your mail may be less likely to be marked as spam). But there’s not a lot.

      • I’ve been using as my outgoing server for a couple of years. Since their business is sending email, they are very concerned about their reputation and I’ve had no issues with having my sent emails bounced because of RBLs or other reasons. They offer 1,000 sent emails/month for free – over that you have to pay. I’ve also have a account which offers a similar service with 2,000 emails/month for free.

        As far as running my incoming email through GMail, after only 2 days I am so sold on this, it’s great. I do notice a delay but if I really need to I can access my email via Webmail.

        I’m also going to turn off SPAMAssassin at my web host – it never really did a great job.

        Thanks again for a very good and helpful article.

      • I just created an IMAP account for my host based email in my email client, Thunderbird. This account is set to manual, i.e., it will not check for new email unless I force it to. So now if I’m expecting an email and want it as fast as possible I’ll use the IMAP account. The POP3 account that uses GMAIL will still get the email in the normal course of events.

        • Hi Leo, how does this process differ from the “Gmailify” option that Gmail offers. I have just successfully used this feature to route my old hotmail address, now inundated with spam, through Gmail. It seams to work seamlessly.

  46. I had gmail to process my pop mail account for some time, successfully. However the emails stopped coming in and I couldn’t locate the problem, so I removed the pop mail set up from my gmail account, then re-added it. I’m assuming that in order to get the gmail processed, outside email account mail to the correct or associated inbox on my desktop client I would need to create a filter to do so in that client, correct? I mean I obviously had to disable the auto check and download from this account in my email client as gmail was now doing it for me. It really is a great option, as I located thousands of SPAM messages to this added account in gmail online that I had not seen on my desktop.

  47. Help! I’m using gmail to backup ISP emails which have historically been IMAP accessed via Outlook 2003. We are transfering our domain to a new ISP on Friday of this week, so last week I setup gmail accounts for each user and then set them up to access the ISP email accounts via POP3 and download into gmail. I also set gmail up to leave a copy of the msg on the server so as not to interrupt the IMAP to Outlook that comes in this week until the switch over. The problem is that now when Outlook goes out to sync to the ISP account, it brings down the email as already read which I can see presenting problems this week as far as emails being overlooked.

    Once the domain transfer takes place we will be setting up IMAP accounts with the new ISP and will be using Outlook to access and will no longer have a need to backup through gmail, however, if I can trouble shoot away this issue where emails come into Outlook as read I’d like to continue to use gmail to back up the accounts as gmail provides plenty of storage as well as an easy and convenient access when away from the office… I may even follow your suggestion and use gmail as spam filter and storage and set Outlook up to download from gmail (which may eliminate the issue since the emails will be coming from gmail and not the ISP server which is marking emails as read.

    I hope my message isn’t confusing, any input is much appreciated. I know there are likely better fixes to our problem but this particular fix has the benefit of being free which is always appreciated :)

  48. If you have a few non gmail based email addreses – and you want a mail app like Thunderbird to keep each of them separated, then you would need to set up intermediary gmail addresses/account for each of them, correct?

  49. Leo,
    I could really use some of your expert knowledge. (my situation at the moment has me a little overwhelmed)
    Apologies up front… this might get long winded – sorry)
    To clarify:
    My email client is Win Live mail.
    My ISP & email server is
    I also have a pay-as-you-go dial acc with which I haven’t connected to for years but I use the email service, actually I’ve used that as my primary email address for many years.
    I also have a Gmail acc & a yahoo acc. I have mail from these forwarded to my WLM inbox.
    In WLM I have my incoming mail set to and outgoing set to That works just fine and I receive all my mail no problem. But (problem) I’ve received notice that my ISP ( is shutting down its email service on 31 May 2017 so I will lose my EE email addresses and also the webmail page will be gone. In light of that info I’ve made some experimental changes. I changed my outgoing mail to I made a few port changes and added SSL & Authentication. Sent some test mails and I seem to have things working. However, each time I start WLM I get a Internet Security Warning pop up, I click the Yes button and it goes away and all works fine. (I can live with that)
    BTW, the message reads “The server you are connected to is using a security certificate that could not be verified”

    OK, When my EE server pulls the plug will I still be able to retrieve my mail from supanet,Gmail & Yahoo as normal using my settings outlined above? I hope that’s a ‘Yes’.
    Also if my supanet server goes south would I be able to substitute in the SMTP/POP3 fields and apply the correct Ports etc and still be able to send/receive email?
    This is the first time in 20yrs I’ve ever had a need to did into the workings of smtp/pop & port settings. So I appreciate any help on offer. Phew!

    • Yes and yes. :-) (Though the Gmail change, should you ever need it, may take a few additional steps, as outlined in the article you just commented on.)

  50. Hi Leo,
    Sorry I can’t see an edit button.
    ***In WLM I have my incoming mail set to and outgoing set to***
    The above should read –

  51. Hi Leo,
    I have a @gmail and trying to make an alias where my email appears as coming from It was fine for years, until I wanted to change how my name was displayed and had to start over. No matter how many times I try (on my 3rd hour now) I can’t get my alias gmail to look as if it is coming from and I get this kick back email every time I send a test.

    Message not delivered
    You’re sending this from another Google account using the ‘Send mail as’ feature. To send this message, please log in:–af3gK5_tijaSt4O41yCuJ46z8ObQTi95hwnEWZo_8an7sfpymfhjmPQ4-f1Q_AO9QGOy41i_4FXzeRRIbHikjykyDc

    Please help! Thanks Leah

  52. I just wanted to thank you for your article on using Gmail as a spam filter. I was receiving up to 900,000 spam emails a day through Outlook. I don’t know if someone was trying to ebomb my inbox but it was working. I was getting emails from domains like .men, .gdn, .top, etc. I would go to Whois to find out who owned these sites, but it ended up the addresses, names, phone numbers, email addresses were all fake. I found your article and directed everything through Gmail and things are much better now. Thank you!! Do you have any thoughts on how to track down these people so they can be reported to their servers as spammers??

    Sidney Jeffrey

  53. Hello Leo:
    I have the spam problem and have read all your previous articles. My problem is that all of a sudden every day, I get about 120 emails that are gross. I’m 84 years old and can’t remember the name of a mail program that checked using a filter, that I could build. It went something like checking each address in my contact list and if the incoming email address was not there, then it dumped it. (I think it was an email [Outlook maybe? from early Microsoft.) It was really good in stopping spam. Have you heard of this email program ?

    • Several email programs have options like that. My recommendation, though, would be to simply mark those emails as spam and eventually they should automatically get filtered as spam. (I assume you’re using Gmail since you’re commenting on a Gmail article.)

  54. I work in a very small office with no server and our email provider does not provide an “out of office” message option on their webmail end. Could I temporarily route my work email address through my gmail account as you’ve stated above and then use Gmail’s “out of office” message option for a vacation message on my work (non-gmail) email address?

    Thank you!

    • Yes you could… but don’t. Out of office notifications fail miserably for a number of reasons. Not only do you run the risk of seriously alienating clients, but you may come back home to a huge mess that takes hours to work through… including Gmail marking you as a spammer. More in this article:

  55. Hi Leo

    I just wanted to thank you for a fantastic article. I worked through it in an attempt to overcome chronic spam and I have got it working in the gmail web interface as well as in Outlook on my desktop both as POP3 andIMAP4.

    However like Jessica of April 2, 2016 the issue I am having is how to use this email address on my Windows Phone Lumia. I can read email fine but when I reply from the gmail view of my “” address, it shows that I am sending from my gmail address, not from my “” address. By contrast this works perfectly in Outlook on my desktop).

    On the Windows Phone Lumia I tried going into Sync settings, Advanced and unticking ‘Use the same username and password for sending email” but it kept saying there was a problem with the password.

    Have you any suggestions please?

    Thanks again!



  56. Hello, I had a number of issues with my Gmail account that feeds my Outlook 13 mail system. My IT fellow, suggested a private email address, shown below. It has virtually stopped my issues, but for 18 months now ,He has a monthly reoccurring fee of $11 for this solution. Does this sound fair and right?

    Thank you

    • Sounds on the expensive side. I pay $11 a year for my domain registration, and $30 a year for a website which is also my mail server. There are even cheaper solutions. The $11 a year for domain registration is standard.

  57. Hi Leo, I believe I understand that there is a Gmail limit of retrieval from no more than 5 non-Gmail addresses and likewise these 5 are the only ones to be used as sent from addresses. I have a Yahoo account, say but Yahoo also allows a nifty feature associated with this email address that lets one choose alternative email alias? addresses (400 of them) that have a fixed root portion, a hyphen, and a variable portion. So 2 examples could be and I can send/receive from the “real” address and from either of these root-variable addresses, all seemingly independently. Since mail to/from appears together in a single inbox or outbox is it likely gmail would receive only from whichever 5 I set up or might they all flow through as associated with the “real” address. I feel more confident in saying I think the only addresses of outgoing mail would be those 5 I set up. I have literally dozens of these root-variable addresses I use with various online accounts and memberships and for logins using unique passwords. So, any suggestions for incorporating these addresses into the Gmail structure or do I just have to bail out on these dozens and consolidate them into 5? Could one set up 5 Gmail addresses each collecting mail from say 25 of these aliases then have a 6th Gmail collecting from the other 5 Gmail addresses. Sort of a “pyramid scheme” distribution? Or is that just as ridiculous as it now sounds? As always, great to have your wisdom shared so willingly.

    • If you have 5 aliases with your Yahoo account, Gmail would import from all of those accounts, and they would not count against Gmail’s limit of 5 emails, because the 5 account limit is the number of addresses registered with Gmail to download from. I don’t believe Gmail has any way of seeing the aliases Yahoo uses. I use 2 Gmail accounts to download email from other accounts to get around the 5 accounts Gmail limit. I then use my main Gmail account to download from my secondary email account so I can get all my emails in one Gmail account.

  58. Can I download just the emails that Gmail has picked up from my external account, or do I have to download all my gmail since it puts it all into one Inbox on gmail? I monitor various email addresses on my phone, and would like to keep the inboxes (on the phone) separate. If I pull the email from several accounts into gmail, how will my phone know which emails to download from gmail? I just want to pick up, say, mail to and put it in one inbox on my phone, and into a separate inbox on the phone and not pick up anything else from the gmail account. Currently the phone’s email client picks up mail from the accounts directly, but some of them are getting too much spam. My previous solution to this was to delete the accounts and create new ones every year or two (once the spammers have found them). I’m hoping gmail may provide a more permanent solution – updating email addresses is not terribly practical.

    • I’m not aware of a way to download only a subset of your mails. I suppose you could use labels & filters, then use IMAP to access your Gmail, and only make some of those labels visible to IMAP. But that’s a tad complex.

  59. Leo, I have two i7 laptops and two i7 desktops Windows 10 running happily using Outlook in Office professional 2010 processing business and personal emails all using Norton Security premium which extracts 60+ spam emails every day without any problems. I have a rarely used emergency Gmail account which is also on my windows phone. Before Christmas I bought an Amazon Fire 10 HD and installed the emergency Gmail account which worked perfectly, I then installed a personal Pop 3 account and was inundated with all with all the spam emails.
    With your solution is it possible to set it up on the Fire only? I shall be 83 shortly and do not wish to mess about on the Windows PCs which are running as smoothly as a Gates system can, I started with CPM and progressed to Xenix with VPIX loaded on top which in many ways was superior to the current offerings on much more powerful computers.
    If it is not possible to just use your solution on the Fire HD I shall have to cut my losses and return it.
    Many thanks.

    • I’m not sure what you mean by “a persnal pop3”. You should be able to access your gmail account via pop3 or imap from the fire device, and that will be spam filtered by gmail.

  60. Great instructions and it works good too! Only thing that confuses me is setting this up in Thunderbird I can successfully send from my domain email address through Google, but my domain email still seems to come through to my default gmail account desktop account. Why did I configure a pop mail account just for those emails? Is Google sending them before my desktop client has a chance to check for them and download to the correct inbox?

  61. Hi Leo
    I have always wondered if it would be possible to do this, as I LOVE Outlook and would not think of changing to a different client. But the issue when on a trip and working through someone else’s Wifi is “What the H SMTP do I use”. Now with your article I can still use Outlook, but not worry about what SMTP address to use, no matter where in the world I am.
    Thanks so so much for the article
    Dave Kloot. Cape Town S Africa

  62. Trouble with doing this is that some email servers / spam filtering services (that you’re sending to) will see that the email address you’re sending from does not match the sender – in this case gmail (the info to determine this is all in the email header) and greylist your email before the recipent sees it, possibly sending you a 451 Please try later error bounce back. A lot of spam emails are sent this way espeically those ones where it appear to have come from you’re email address. Consquently a lot of spam filters will block these type of messages – at least initally until it has established you’re genuine.

  63. Hi Leo,

    I have been using gmail to rid my own email account of spam (using live mail) for ?years now.

    Recently, gmail has not allowed this process to go forward.

    I like Live Mail, I am used to it and don’t want to change that but can’t find a way around it.

    I looked at some other desktop programs (thunderbird, and some others) but there is too much clutter on those programs for me.

    I liked Eudora before I went to Live Mail and even tried the last version I could find but it has the same problem as Live Mail.

    Any help would be appreciated.


    • I haven’t experimented with it for a while but OE Classic looks promising. It’s a program which is functionally very similar to the old Outlook Express which for many was the easiest and most practical email program to use. Unless you need identities, the ability to have a different set of mailboxes and address book for each user login, the free version is sufficient.

  64. Mark,
    I did download OEClassic and it looks good.

    But I finally fixed my problem which was gmail not accepting the login user name and password from my client mail program. This although its the same as my account login and has always been so

    I went to my google account – security – and turned ‘ON’ ‘accept less secure apps’.
    This was set to ‘OFF’ and I suppose it has always been since I have never fooled with that setting.

    But after doing that, both my ‘live mail’ and the ‘OEclassic’ mail clients started working again.

  65. I have a concern that I haven’t seen addressed here: how does linking email accounts increase vulnerability to having all linked accounts hacked once the gmail account is hacked? Methinks keeping things separate has its advantages, no? Or are my concerns not valid? Please enlighten : ).

    • I actually don’t see a great increase in vulnerability here as long as all the accounts have different passwords and up to date recovery info. If anything it’s more protection — if your gmail account ever does get hacked you can immediately UNlink the original account and carry on while you get Gmail figured out.

    • As long as the accounts use different passwords, linking them like that shouldn’t add and more vulnerability unless Google is doing security wrong. And if you don’t trust Google’s security, you can forward the email from your other account to Gmail instead of having Gmail import it if that Email Service Provider allows it.

  66. Thanks Leo.
    This is awesome and solves a junk mail issue that I have had with my ISP for the last 2 years. I was almost about to go through scrapping them and a well established email address but now I don’t have to. I am just a little curious though about what is now going to happen with the horrendous amounts of spam that accrues on the webmail service for that particular company (Optus). It’s a little early to tell but the practice I have gotten into is to check it out and dump them out before the mountain of junk which finds it’s way through their useless filter system, clogs up my limited space on the server.
    Long winded approach but the question is will gmail take care of that?. I didn’t check the box to say leave it on the server
    Thanks again anyway. for a well explained and detailed article
    Cheers Jack

  67. I have forgotten my gmail account ({email removed}) password. Trying for password recovery, but lastly, a letter is coming from Google- “Google can’t verify this account is yours”, so please tell me what I have to give to verify the account Or what to do. My gmailaccount – ({email removed}) contains very important documents and files. I have tried many times, but the only answer coming from Google -google cannot verify that this account is yours. Please correct my gmail and recover my account as soon as possible my no {phone removed}

  68. Leo, Yahoo! now requires something called “OATH” authentication. Does this change anything in the instructions you give here???

    • It’s possible you may need to set an “application password” on Yahoo! to use here, but it’s unclear how they’re handling this overall. Honestly, I’d just give it a try.

  69. This recently stopped working for me as in last week or two sometime. Outlook can’t connect to the gmail server anymore. It worked for years with no problem and I double checked the settings were correct.

    Anyone else have this issue and figure out the reason? I wonder if Google requires some additional authorization.


Leave a reply:

Before commenting please:

  • Read the article.
  • Comment on the article.
  • No personal information.
  • No spam.

Comments violating those rules will be removed. Comments that don't add value will be removed, including off-topic or content-free comments, or comments that look even a little bit like spam. All comments containing links and certain keywords will be moderated before publication.

I want comments to be valuable for everyone, including those who come later and take the time to read.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.