Frequently Asked Questions
UBC Mathematics: MathNet FAQ [Remote Email]

UBC Mathematics: MathNet FAQ [Remote Email]

Question: How do I read my Email from home or some other location outside our network?
Author: Joseph Tam
Date: Aug. 24, 2007

There are several ways you can get your Email when you are not physically here to read it.

  1. WebMail

    If you are in the hinterlands, with nothing other than a computer supplied by your host, that computer will most likely be some PC with a web browser installed. In this case, you can use our webmail facility by going to our home page
    After accepting our self-signed certificate, it will bring you to our webmail login page. You can use your MathNet login name and password to log in.

    This facility is handy for reading and sending the occasional Email, but it is a tad slow for regular use. You may want to use an Email reader if you intend to regularly read mail remotely.

  2. SSH Login

    If you have a SSH (secure shell) capable host, you can login to any of our blic unix hosts (e.g. and use the command line mail reader (e.g. pine).

    If you don't have SSH, but you do have network access and the ability to install software, you can download SSH from our FTP archives and install it. For example, to get the Windows SSH client, go to
  3. Remote Mail Client

    If you have a PC with network access, you can use an Email reader such

    • MaxOSX Mail
    • Outlook
    • PC-Pine
    • Thunderbird

    to connect to our remote mail service and retrieve your Email.

    You must configure your Email reader to use one of 2 remote Email protocols:

    1. The IMAP protocol is the preferred choice. IMAP will do operation on a remote mailbox, rather than trying to download your INBOX and doing local operations as POP3 would. Our IMAP installation is also set up to access your personal mailboxes (not just your INBOX as POP3 does), thus allowing you to access the same mail as you would with WebMail or pine.

      Here are the parameters you need to know:

      • Protocol: IMAP
      • Incoming mail server:
      • Port:
        • If using TLS: 143
        • If using SSL: 993
      • Mail prefix: mail/ (see this FAQ item)
    2. The POP3 protocol is good for downloading mail onto your computer provided it is the sole computer you use to read mail. If you read your mail from several location, you ought to configure your mail reader to leave your mail on the server, or you ought to use IMAP.

      Another handicap of POP3 is that it can only access your INBOX and not your personal mail folders.

      Here are the parameters you need to use POP3:

      • Protocol: POP or POP3
      • Incoming mail server:
      • Port:
        • If using TLS: 110
        • If using SSL: 995

      There is a nice web page for setting up popular remote mail clients using IMAP/SSL, POP3/SSL and authenticated SMTP, provided by the folks at UBC ITServices. It has step by step instructions complete with pictures. You can follow the same instruction but substitute their mail servers, etc. with ours:

    Outlook clients may require you to import our self-signed certificates (used to encrypt Email) using the Windows Certificate Manager.

    MacOSX's will work with self-signed certificates, but will ask you each and every time you start the Email reader to approve its use, which can get annoying. The users of this mail reader can also download these certificates and store it in the "X509 Anchor" database.

    You can download the IMAP and POP certificates from our certificate FAQ.

  4. Mail forwarding

    You can also forward your Email to a more convenient location. To do this, read the (what else?!) FAQ item on this:

    How do I forward Email to another Email address?
  5. Outgoing Mail

    See out other FAQ item on this subject:

    How do I set up outgoing mail?