Splash of Style...Macs, Photography, Design, and other Passions

Thunderbird Identities & Gmail Pop Mail

March 28, 2007 by debbie T | Thunderbird Email

I love Gmail’s excellent spam filters, so I have been slowly forwarding many of my domain email addresses through my Gmail accounts.

Over the last couple of months, it has been a challenge to keep my accounts straight in Thunderbird, but I think I have finally figured it out.

Let’s start with this example. I use gmail for my personal mail. I forward two of my domain emails to this account, one being the email I use exclusively for shopping online.

I set up a new account in Thunderbird to download all mail from the gmail account, using pop.gmail.com as the incoming and smtp.gmail.com as outgoing mail servers. Make sure to use the appropriate ports and settings. Additional info on configuring Thunderbird is available on the gmail help pages.

This is where it gets a little tricky. Since I sometimes have to reply to certain emails using my domain’s shopping address, I set up a new “identity” in Thunderbird. This way I can reply using my actual shopping email, and not my gmail email.

Adding New Identity for a Thunderbird Account

  1. While in your account settings, click the button link for “Manage Identities.”
  2. Type name and email address into appropriate fields
  3. Choose your domain outgoing server from the pull down list – for example, disdatdesigns.com is my specific outgoing domain server name. To configure more than one outgoing server, please refer to the Mozilla help pages.
    screen shot of new shopping identity in Thunderbird
  4. There will now be two identities for the account. Both identities will be available on the pull down menu to choose as the outgoing email address when sending mail.
    screen shot of Thunderbird identities

There is a reason I am using my domain name and not gmail as my outgoing server.

Originally, my shopping identity was set up using the gmail smtp.gmail.com outgoing server. When I replied to an email, it defaulted to the shopping identity as the sender. Problem was, once the recipient received the email, it no longer showed my shopping email as the sender; it showed my gmail account as the sender.

Once the outgoing smtp outgoing server was changed to my domain’s server, it displayed properly with my domain’s email address.

NOTE: Some ISPs make it difficult to send out mail using port 25 with any other outgoing server address but their own. I had a brief problem with Comcast, but quickly figured out that as long as I sign into my comcast email account using Thunderbird, it would allow me to use any outgoing server for my other email accounts.

Gmail uses alternative incoming and outgoing ports, so you should have no problems with your ISP. Configuring Thunderbird to use these alternative ports can be tricky, but again, there is a detailed tutorial on gmail’s help pages.

Bottom line, gmail offers great spam filters, and large storage (awesome for online mail backup.) Once your email client is set up to receive gmail, it can be quite powerful.

Please don’t hesitate to post a question if something in this tutorial was difficult to understand.

There are 2 comments

  1. I’ve been using Tbird since 2004 (version 0.6). I currently have it checking 13 email accounts (5 different domains), four of which are Gmail accounts. Not only can you set-up the new identity for a different account, you can set-up multiple identiies for the same account. For example besides the “DebbieT (shopping@—-.com)”, you can set up “Customer Service (shopping@—-.com)” and “Newsletter (shopping@—-.com)”. This is handy when the same person wears a number of hats. Just be careful when you forward or reply to a letter that is has the correct FROM name.

    Comment by iQon on April 11th, 2007
  2. Thanks for your comments, iQon!

    I think I understand what you are saying. Using different “names” or “titles” with the same email address, right?

    That is clever, and something I never really thought about!

    It would come in handy if you didn’t want a recipient to know your full name; you could set up a separate id with a nickname.

    I also have been using Thunderbird since 2004, but you have me beat. I have only a measly 8 email accounts. heehee. I used to have more, but I whittled it down some.

    I keep meaning to install the beta for version 2. I am really excited about those new labels/tags.

    Thanks again for your comments!

    Comment by debbieT on April 11th, 2007