Mozilla Thunderbird overview

Mozilla Thunderbird is an open source mail client and RSS reader made by the organization who produces the Mozilla Firefox web browser. This is a free email client you can use with DreamHost. It can also be used as a backup client for testing purposes if you find your primary client is not functioning as it should.

For an overview on the different settings and protocols you can use to connect Thunderbird to your email, please review the following article:

Setting up Thunderbird

  1. Open Thunderbird.
  2. From the File menu, select New and then Existing Account.
    The Mail Account Setup page appears:
    Mail setup1.fw.png
  3. Enter the following settings:
    • Your name: Enter the name of the user you’re setting up. This shows in the message ‘From’ details.
    • Email address: Enter the full email address for your user here.
    • Password: Enter the user’s password here. (The password is case-sensitive so make sure you enter the password exactly as it was created.)
    • Remember password: You can check this box for so that the program doesn't prompt you to enter the password each time you open it up.
  4. Once you enter the information above, click Continue on the bottom right.
    The following settings now appear. You’ll notice the 'Username' field is just the part in your email before the @ sign:
    Mail setup2.fw.png
  5. To complete the setup, click the Manual config button.
    You can refer to the links below for details on the protocol, port, and secure email settings:
    Mail setup3.fw.png
  6. Enter the following settings:
    • Incoming: Enter your incoming mail settings, which should either be POP3 or IMAP depending on how you’d like to configure your user on that program. Use your mail cluster name for the server hostname field.
    • IMAP: The example above shows the user set up as an IMAP user with SSL enabled. Make sure that when setting up the user, the Port and SSL options are matching as the port number depends on whether SSL is enabled or not.
    • Outgoing: This will be set up through the SMTP protocol. The example above shows SMTP setup with SSL enabled as well. Use your mail cluster name for the server hostname field.
    • Username: This should be populated with your full email address as shown in the image above.
  7. Once you confirm the information above, click the Re-test button and then the Done button.

That loads your user on the left side panel for Thunderbird so you can manage the user and its folders.

'failed to find the settings' error

The follow error may appear after attempting to log in:

Thunderbird failed to find the settings for your email account.

This is an issue specific to Thunderbird which can be resolved by making a few changes to the server settings.

To resolve, change the incoming port to 143 (IMAP) on the manual config pop-up (see the example in the above section). Click 'retest' then 'done' to save changes.

If you receive a security warning pop-up, it's due to the DreamHost SSL certificate. Just click to accept the certificate and save its settings.

Once connected, click your email address in the left pane.

From the top menu choose 'Tools > Account Settings'. The Server Settings pop-up box opens. Choose the 'Server Settings' option in the left pane.

Server settings.fw.png
    You can make the following edits here:
    • Change the incoming port to 993,
    • Connection security to SSL/TLS, and
    • Authentication method to Normal password.

Viewing message headers

The Thunderbird mail program refers to the full message headers of a message as the “source”. In some cases, you may need to retrieve the full header (or “source”) details of a message.

To view the full header details of a message:

  1. Double-click the message from the mailbox.
  2. In the far right corner of the message, click the Other Actions menu.
  3. In the drop-down options that appear for this message, select the View Source option.

This opens a new window with the full header details of the message you choose.


Some of my IMAP folders don't show on Thunderbird. How do I fix this?

Make sure that you have subscribed to them!

  1. Right click on the account in the left panel and choose 'Subscribe'.
    The Subscribe box opens which shows you the default folders to which you are already subscribed. In this example, only the ‘Test’ folder is remaining to subscribe.
    Subscribe folders.fw.png
  2. Check the box for that folder and then click the Subscribe button to add that folder as an accessible folder through Thunderbird.
  3. Click OK when finished.

Alternatively, you can also do the following to make your IMAP folders appear in Thunderbird:

  1. Go back to the "Advanced Account Settings" panel (Tools or Edit -> Account Settings... -> Server Settings -> Advanced... button).
  2. Uncheck "Show only subscribed folders".
  3. Click OK on that pop-up box. Click OK on the 'Advanced Server Settings' box you originally opened.
  4. In the left pane of Thunderbird's main window, click the triangle icon to the left of the email address. Collapse and un-collapse the account you edited.

This makes Thunderbird re-read all of the folders on that account.

Troubleshooting certificate mismatch errors

View the following article for instructions on how to resolve any SSL certificate mismatch errors:

See also

Internal links

External links

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Article last updated PST.