Stephen M. Webb stephen.webb at
Wed Mar 15 16:58:04 UTC 2017

On 2017-03-15 12:39 PM, Raymond House wrote:
> Hi Bob, thanks for the explanation, I have read this before and I like the idea but How do I go about setting this up?
> If I send an email using Thunderbird does it not go through gmail anyway?This is the part I don't understand.

If you're using Google as your email provider, yes, it will go through Google.

When you send mail, it goes through a mail transfer agent (MTA), usually using SMTP (simple mail transfer protocol). A
network of MTas talk to each other over the internet to send and receive mail just like the post office does.
Eventually your email wil end up on another machine somewhere designated as the mail deliver agent (MDA), where it waits
for you to retrieve it and read it.  MDAs usually provide either POP3 (post office protocol version 3) or IMAP (internet
mail access protocol) to let you pick up your messages.
Your mail user agent (MUA) is what lets you read your email, and that could be Thunderbird or an online webmail service
you use through a browser.

When you're using a gmail address, Google is providing three services for you.

(1) an identity (your gmail address), used to authentication and authorization

(2) an MTA used to send email

(3) an MDA, used to receive email

optionally, they provide a webmail MUA so you can read email.

If you want to set up Thunderbird [1] as your MUA instead, you need to configure your account to use your gmail
identity, use the google SMTP server as your MTA, and use the google POP3 or (preferably) IMAP server as your MDA.
Then, your mail starts appearing in the message pane and you can reply.


Stephen M. Webb  <stephen.webb at>

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