Categories: EmailGmailHow To

Send and Receive Non-Gmail Email from Gmail

If there’s one thing that perfectly illustrates how differently people respond to different technologies, I would submit that it is Gmail. I know so many people who think Gmail is the greatest thing that ever happened to email and would never use any other client. I, on the other hand, think it’s the worst email client in the world and would never consider using it as my primary client. (I do use it for a few narrow purposes, like logging into other Google services or when I’m working with clients who require it.) If you’d like to know exactly why I feel this way, go to the 6-minute mark of Episode 7 of The Luddite Lounge podcast. However, since it is so widely used, I decided to write this tutorial because I’ve known several people who have wanted to do this and (surprise, surprise) it’s not that clear within the program itself.

A lot of people have more than one email account using different services for different purposes and it can be a pain to have to keep switching between clients and websites to manage them all. This tutorial shows how you can use Gmail to manage all these accounts in one place.

Note: This won’t work with every email address account you have, e.g. your corporate work systems may not be able to be added this way. But most email addresses you own yourself are likely to work with it. Also worth nothing, a similar process can be used to manage all your accounts through other services like Yahoo Mail, Outlook.com and the desktop version of Outlook. You’ll just need to look for menu items with similar names to get started and then the steps should be very close to how it works with Gmail.

How to Use Gmail to Send and Receive Emails from Other Accounts

In Gmail, click the Gear icon and select Settings.

Click the Accounts and Import tab and then, in the Check Email from Other Accounts Section, click Add a POP3 Email Account You Own.

Follow the instructions in the pop-up wizard that appears.

Many of the options include a Learn More link if you need more information. For some email services, like Yahoo, some information will be prepopulated. If not, you may need to check with the company that hosts your email account (e.g. your domain registrar or website host) to get the settings you need for mail servers, port numbers, etc. You can usually find the settings in the support section of the company’s website.

IMPORTANT: If you still want to be able to access and send emails from the original service, make sure you check the box to Leave Messages on Server. Otherwise, after they’re downloaded to Gmail, they’ll be deleted from your mail server.

After you’ve finished the setup process, you’ll see this email account added to your Settings page.

If you click the Make Default link, this will be the email address that is automatically used to send emails when you click the Compose button. Otherwise, you can select this email from the down arrow in the From field.

At this point, it’s a good idea to test that both the Send and Receive settings have been set up successfully.

So where do you sit on the Gmail: Best Thing Ever/Devil’s Software question? 🙂 And if you’re already using it to send and receive from other email accounts, do you have any tips to add? Add your comments below!

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Elizabeth Kricfalusi

View Comments

  • I have reluctantly adopted Gmail as my email client. Being a true Luddite, I did not have a smartphone and was prepared to be happy with Outlook Express on Windows XP until they pried it from my cold dead hands.

    But reality intervened. I now have a smartphone. My ISP's email (Cox) is sometimes flaky for no reason. Outlook Express's "database" format was obsolete 10 years ago. Time to upgrade.

    Yes, I knew how to add external accounts into Gmail. But do they work as well as Gmail? Of course not. Gmail syncs them on its own mysterious unknowable schedule. Unlike Gmail itself which is polled almost continuously.

    My Android phone's default email program doesn't work on the Wi-Fi at work, where they've blocked the mail port numbers. Or something like that. But the Gmail client uses HTTP or some other port that isn't blocked.

    So I've gone over to the dark side. I hate the conversation management but I've learned to deal with it. Its uptime is 100%. It just works. And in the end, that's really all I want.

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