For years I’ve been dealing with Yahoo’s lack of support for any sort
of decent (free) POP3/IMAP/SMTP protocol support. Why do I need this?
So I can check my Yahoo mail in Mozilla Thunderbird of course!
At first I used YPOPS!, a program that read the HTML pages provided
by the Yahoo webmail client and served the emails on a local POP
server. Cool, right? Except it always broke whenever Yahoo changed
their pages around.
After a bit I moved onto using the WebMail extension for
Thunderbird. It essentially works the same way, but runs in the
Thunderbird process as an extension instead of as a separate service.
It’s a little complicated to set up and requires two extensions. The
general WebMail extension and a Yahoo specific one (there’s also ones
available for Hotmail, Gmail, Libero and AOL). You might wonder why
this exists for some services that have always had POP/IMAP access
(Gmail)? I was too, apparently some people cannot check those ports
because of firewall issues so this essentially allows them to check it
via port 80, over an HTTP connection.
A few months ago I came across post describing how a simple
(nonstandard) command could allow access to the Yahoo IMAP server, but
it required patching the Thunderbird source — not an option for me
since I’ve been running nightlies of either Thunderbird 3.1 or 3.2/3.3
for a while now. (I mean sure, I could do it…but WebMail extension was
working fine.) There was some discussion about it and a bug was
filed for Thunderbird.
So how did this lead to free IMAP support? I noticed in the Weekly
Status Meeting Notes (2010-11-16) for Thunderbird a mention of Free
Email Providers page. Checking it out it said “Y! Mail is a free
email service provided by Yahoo! It offers webmail supported by targeted
advertising as well as IMAP access.” Hmm…but I just said they don’t
have support this for free! A quick Bing search brought up a page with
IMAP server settings. I figured I’d check if they work, and sure
enough they did! The settings are copied below:
|User name:||firstname.lastname@example.org user
|IMAP server:||imap-ssl.mail.yahoo.com imap.mail.yahoo.com
Awesome! Anyway, I replied with this info in the aforementioned bug
and a patch was quickly added by Mozilla’s Ben Bucksch to support
this in Thunderbird, hopefully it’ll make it into the next version! It
was also brought to my attention that imap-ssl.mail.yahoo.com provides
an SSL certificate that is valid for imap.mail.yahoo.com only, I’d
suggest using that former.
Note that I’m currently suffering from another bug while using
Yahoo IMAP. Everything works, there’s just an annoying pop-up
occasionally about the error. Hopefully it will be fixed soon.