Using FastMail with Outlook Express for Mac

Note: If you already know how to set up your client, and you already understand the information below, see this help page for the server information you need to set up your e-mail client. The Troubleshooting Issues section at the bottom of this page may be helpful if you have problems.

In order to use Outlook Express for Mac with FastMail, you'll need to enter the following information:

  • username - When you signed up for FastMail, you chose a username which is also your e-mail address. You must use the full username, including the name and the domain part, which is the part after the '@' symbol. For example, a user named John Doe might have chosen a username of "". Make sure that you specify your username in lowercase only.
  • password - When you signed up for FastMail, you chose a password to go along with your username. You will need the password to access your account. The password also keeps others from being able to access your e-mail. Your password is case sensitive, so be sure that you type it in correctly. "PASS123" is different to  "pass123". Often, users forget about the CapsLock button and mistype their password.
  • incoming mail server (IMAP or POP) - This is the server that you get your e-mail from. Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP) and Post Office Protocol (POP) are retrieval methods used to move e-mail messages from the server to your e-mail client so that you can read your messages. POP access is not available for all service levels, please check the pricing table for details. Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is required for your protection as well. SSL keeps people from reading your e-mail as it is transmitted between the e-mail server and your computer.
  • outgoing mail server (SMTP) - This is the server that sends your e-mail. Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) is the method that your client uses to move e-mail messages from your client to the server so that it can send your messages. The FastMail SMTP server is not available for all service levels, please check the pricing table for details. If your service level does not allow use of the FastMail SMTP server, you must use the SMTP server provided by your Internet Service Provider (ISP).

    The FastMail SMTP server requires SMTP Authentication. This keeps people who are not users of the FastMail service from using the SMTP server to send spam messages on the Internet. SSL is required for the FastMail SMTP server. If you don't use the FastMail SMTP server, you may have different options or requirements. You will need to get that information from your ISP.

Many thanks to Joao Carlos de Pinho for these instructions.

Incoming/Outgoing Server Setup

  1. Launch Outlook Express and select 'Accounts' from the 'Tools' menu.

  2. In the 'Accounts' window, click and hold the 'New' button and select 'Mail...'.

  3. If you're presented with the window below, click the 'Configure account manually' button and go to next step.

  4. In the 'New Account' window, select 'IMAP' and click 'OK'.

  5. In the 'Edit Account' window, for the field 'Account name:', enter a name for this account. This is the name that will be displayed in the main folder list. Choose something easy to identify, like 'FastMail Account'. In the 'Name:' field, enter your full name and in the 'E-mail address:' field in the yellow box, enter your FastMail e-mail address, which again should be entered into the 'Account ID:' field in another yellow box. For the 'IMAP server' field in the green box, enter '' and enter your password at FastMail in the 'Save password:' field, and make sure that you check the box to the left of the field. It's easiest to let Outlook Express remember your password so you don't have to enter it every time.In the 'SMTP server:' field in the red box, enter  ''.

    Note: Guest users do not have access to the '' SMTP server. Member, Full and Enhanced users do have access to the '' SMTP server, so the following does not apply. Guest users should instead set the 'SMTP server:' field to your ISP's SMTP server. You should be able to find this information in your ISP's documentation; we don't have the information, so please don't email us asking what it is. Also, depending on the strictness of your ISP, you may also need to set the 'E-mail Address:' field to your ISP's email address. The only way to be sure of if this is required or not is to try and send an email, and if you get an error, try again after changing to your ISP's email address. Finally, you should make sure that the 'SMTP server requires authentication' checkbox displayed in step 7 below is NOT checked.

  6. To enable sending e-mail via FastMail, you need to configure the authentication options. To do this, click the 'Click here for advanced sending options' button at the bottom of the window. Note that authenticated SMTP is available only in versions since 5.02. If your Outlook Express is of a lower version, you will have to upgrade your client.

  7. Select the 'SMTP server requires authentication' checkbox and the 'Use same settings as incoming mail server' radio button. Then click the little square at the top left to close this window.

    Guest users using their ISP's SMTP server should make sure that the 'SMTP server requires authentication' checkbox displayed below is NOT checked.

  8. Now select the 'Options' tab of the Edit Account window.Make sure the 'Root folder' field is blank. You don't need to specify the root folder in Outlook Express for the Macintosh.

  9. The last step is to configure the special folders of the IMAP server. But first you have to retrieve the server's folder list. Click the 'OK' button of the 'Edit Account' window to apply all these settings you've just configured.

  10. In the main window, you should now have the 'FastMail Account' showing in the folders pane. To retrieve its folders list, just click in the 'FastMail Account' and wait a few seconds. If the list doesn't appear, click the 'Update list' button at the top of the main window.

    In case your folders (left) pane still does not show the three subfolders 'Drafts', 'Sent Items', and 'Trash', you may need to do one more step to have them show up. Notice that you will probably see that while they are not in the Folders pane as we want, they ARE showing up in the larger pane on the right section of the window (if you have clicked on 'FastMail Account' in the left Folders pane). In this larger right pane, double-click on Drafts, then on Sent items, then on Trash. This will get the software to check with the server and update those three folders -- and the result should cause those three folders to NOW show up in the left pane as well.

  11. You should have four folders by default: your Inbox, Sent Items, Drafts and Trash.

  12. Now that you've downloaded the folders list, you can perform the special folders configuration. To do this, open again the 'Edit Account' window (menu 'Tools' --> 'Account') and select the 'Advanced' tab. Then check the 'Store special folders on IMAP server' checkbox and click the topmost 'Choose' button.

  13. Select 'Sent Items' and click the 'Choose' button.

  14. Now click the second 'Choose' button.

  15. Select 'Drafts' and click the 'Choose' button.

  16. Next you can choose how you want to delete messages from the IMAP server. To move a message to the Trash folder on the IMAP server when you delete it using Outlook Express, select the 'Move messages to the "Deleted Items" folder' radio button and click the third 'Choose' button.

  17. Select 'Trash' and click the 'Choose' button.

  18. Click 'OK' to close the 'Edit Account' window.

  19. Your IMAP setup is now complete. You can now use Outlook Express to access all your e-mails in your FastMail account. You can read messages, and save downloads. You can move or copy messages, either between FastMail folders, or between FastMail and local folders on your home/work machine.

  20. Outlook Express will use Inbox, Sent Items and Drafts in the same way as FastMail. When you delete items however, they will not be moved to the Trash. Instead, they will be crossed out with a horizontal line until you purge the folder. You can purge a folder by going to the 'Edit' menu and selecting 'Purge Deleted Items'.

Learning more about IMAP

IMAP is a powerful protocol that allows you keep to your email synchronised, whether you're at home, at work, at a friends place or an internet cafe. You don't have to worry about what computer the email is on, because all the email is kept on the server and each client sees the same 'view' of the email. See this FAQ page to learn more about IMAP

Troubleshooting Issues

Authenticated SMTP is available only in versions since 5.02. If your Outlook Express is of a lower version, you will have to upgrade your client.

Last modified on: Tue Jun 21 04:30:00 UTC 2005