1. Scott

    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. Alan

    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. Gerrysea

    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?

    • bill

      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. JHStone

    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. Shirley A Jacobson

    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. Mark Jacobs

    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. Joshi

    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. Joshi

    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. Bill

    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. Scott

    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. Bob

    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. Neal

    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. Tom Whitacre

    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.

    • Connie

      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. Georgiana

    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!

    • Mark Jacobs

      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. Brian Dsouza

    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. Scott

    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. Justin

    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!

    • Mark Jacobs

      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. Matt K

    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. James S

    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.

    • Connie

      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. Skip Weisman

    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. Neil Ward

    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. Scott

    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. Mary Ann Fischer

    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.

    • Connie

      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. rock0012987

    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. Charlene Wild

    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. Dale P. Kelberman


    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. Niels Chr. Andersen

    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.

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