Miscellaneous Ramblings

Latest Developments in Free POP3 Email

Charles Moore - 2003.04.07 - Tip Jar

New Free POP3 Email Services

Older Free POP3 Email Services

Low Cost POP3 Email Services

We just reviewed the free POP3 email scene a month ago, but the landscape has shifted enough to warrant an update already.

Back in early March, we introduced eOrders, a promising new free email service with POP3 and SMTP support plus Web-based access and 5 MB of storage space.

Unhappily, the spammers descended, and eOrders quickly lost heart, explaining:

"We regret to inform you that we have discontinued our Free Email Account Service. Much of our time, money and effort has been directed to the prevention of reoccurring abuse. We would love to keep our free system running for everyone to use, unfortunately the majority of new email accounts registered daily abuse our system. We are sorry for any inconvenience this has caused."

Another of the services I reviewed last time, subDimension, has also bitten the dust in the past month. The termination notice on their Website read:

Our ISP (DSL.net) cut our line on 3/3/03 due to a "violation of contract" or more to the point a violation of their "acceptable use policy."

There were too many spam complaints about the subDimension.com domain for them to handle. We were not the originating party in any of the spam complaints (aside from a brief open relay problem), but I gather we are still ultimately responsible for your behavior with the email accounts that you obtain from us. How the hell do people like Yahoo, Hotmail, and any other free email provider deal with spammer complaints from their ISP's? Do they own their own ISP? How do they govern their user community? How deep do your pockets have to be to offer a free-email service?

subDimension will be reborn somewhere else in the near future . . . as soon as we can find a place to put it . . . please stay tuned . . . and check back often . . . we hope to have something available shortly.

subDimension will NOT be offering FREE or PAY email accounts anymore . . . thanks to the spammers who brought us to this point . . . and our apologies to anyone that has mail still residing on our servers . . . BUT . . . the mail servers have been TURNED OFF as an attempt to be in compliance with the "acceptable use policy."

subDimension will be offering a prorated refund to our premium pay and pro-hosting users.

Make sure you read your contracts . . . and then read them sideways.

Happily, two more free email services offering POP3 access have come to my attention, so we're breaking even. The newcomers are:

New Free POP3 Email Services

21box.com

This new email service, which has a very slick, simple, and instantly activated signup procedure, offers (note that many of the features outlined below apply only to the Web access interface):

  • 10 MB of storage space
  • IMAP & POP3 access
  • Web-based access
  • Available in 30 different languages
  • More than 30 different themes
  • NO banner ads
  • Personal address books
  • Multiple email attachments
  • Priority setting
  • SPAM Filters - Detect junk email in your INBOX
  • Easy to remember email address
  • Fast & simple web interface
  • Message filtering - removes unwanted messages
  • Message Highlighting - Incoming messages can have different background colors in the message list
  • POP3 retrieval from other email accounts
  • Spell Checker
  • NewMail Alert - playing sounds and/or showing popup windows when new mail arrives.
  • Calendar - Set your event

There is also SMTP access from POP3 clients

21box say their prime aim is providing a top quality, yet free email service. Let's hope they have staying power and can successfully battle the spammers. I found the 21box account simple to configure in Eudora, and so far it's been working well.

Note that the 21box system will delete accounts as inactive if you have not logged into the webmail at least once in 45 days. That means you must log in the webmail every 45 days,even if you access your mail box through POP3 every day.

Each subscriber can only hold 1 account. The system will delete extra accounts from the same user.

Instructions on how to configure POP3 clients for 21box email can be found at <http://www.21box.com/outlook.html>

bonnag.com

Another new free email service is bonnag.com email. bonnag.com features include:

  • no quota (within reason)
  • no advertisements in a footer
  • email can be accessed online
  • email can be retrieved using POP3
  • email can forward to another account if you choose

Note that there is a 24 to 48 hour interval after you sign up on the bonnag.com website while your application is processed.

There are, of course, dozens of free email services on the Internet - the vast majority of them Web-based, which means that you must access your mail with a browser. Web-based email can be convenient if you travel a lot or need to access your mail from computers you don't own, because you can use any computer, anywhere in the world that has Internet access.

However, for regular home or office purposes, POP3 email is more convenient, especially if you are among the three-quarters plus proportion of Internet users who don't have broadband service.

POP3 email is the type of email account you access with client software like Eudora or OS X Mail app. or Netscape Mail or a wide selection of others. For a roundup of what's available in POP3 email clients for the Mac, see Moore's Omnibus Mac Email Client Roundup.

Incoming messages are received by a remote server, and stay there until you download them to your own computer. With POP3, you can do all your email work offline except for actual sending and downloading of messages, which cuts down immensely on online time used, and since both outgoing and incoming messages are stored on your own hard drive, it's always easy and convenient to access your archives.

Older Free POP3 Email Services

Besides the new services outlined above, free POP3 email services include:

GMX

This is a German-based free email service, and like most things technical and German, it is very well done.

You can get free POP3 and Webmail access (GMX FreeMail Classic), with 10 MB of server storage space, anti-SPAM protection.

Features:

  • 2 email addresses within an account
  • 10 MB mailbox storage capacity
  • POP3/SMTP (SMTP after POP)
  • Attachments to 5 MB
  • 30 days retention time for your emails
  • directory
  • anti-Spam protection
  • numerous files and filter functions

GMX is an excellent email service - fast and reliable. Unfortunately, GMX has recently restricted new user signups to a handful of German-speaking countries in Europe. :-(

HotPOP

HotPOP LLC is a privately held company based in Newton, Massachusetts. Founded in 1998, HotPOP offers email accounts, from various domains, with a combination of features not found with other providers.

  • Features:
  • POP Access - Use almost any mail client you wish
  • SMTP Access - Send mail through the HotPOP server (you have to check your email first). You may include up to 50 recipients on a single message.
  • Mail Forwarding - Have your mail resent to up to three addresses.
  • 10 MB Quota - Store thousands of messages
  • Server-Side Filtering - Block mail and spam before it hits your inbox
  • For fee ad-free opt-out option.

There is also Web access to your HotPOP account. There is a limit of 500 KB per message, and a maximum of 1,000 incoming email messages per day.

Signup is easy. Just fill out the form and survey and you are ready to go. An email will be sent to your old address with your password and some helpful information. If you are using a POP account, you can log in right after you configure your client.

HotPOP currently has seven domains to choose from and says they constantly searching for new ones. Memo: keep looking, guys - most of these are pretty lame.

  • HotPOP.com
  • ToughGuy.net
  • PunkAss.com
  • BonBon.net
  • Phreaker.net
  • SexMagnet.com
  • GameBox.net

I've had a HotPOP account for well over a year now, and I've been impressed with the service. Once in a while the server is a bit sluggish about answering, but it always comes up, There is SMTP support for outgoing mail, which requires checking your inbox before sending, and I've found that aspect to be a bit cranky at times, requiring two or three checks before the SMTP server will respond.

HotPOP offers a combined POP3/forwarding and web-based email service. At the free level, HotPOP includes 10 MB of storage for email messages, and the ability to specify up to 3 destination addresses to forward messages to.

Another one that has proved to have staying power, and it's been reliable.

HowlerMonkey

This one is a bit different, in that you are required to provide your valid home address and wait for HowlerMonkey to send you your login and password info by snail mail. This is an anti-SPAM strategy, and I suspect it works well. I've never received any SPAM I can recall from the howlermonkey domain.

Both POP3 and outgoing SMTP services are offered (POP before SMTP authentication) and you get 3 MB of disk space for storing messages. The service places a text ad on the bottom of every message passing through the system. If it's interesting, read it, there is usually a link in it to click on if you want to visit a web page to learn more. No interest? Drive on. Beats paying bills. Only 10 recipients per email.

HowlerMonkey SPAM policy:

"We AGGRESSIVELY fight spam, and will do anything in our power to make a spammer's life unhappy. if you are looking for someone to help you to spam, you best look someplace else, we crave your gonads as a neck tie. You are a parasite, and a public nuisance, and usually refuse to pay the fees of a 'legitimate' mass mailing firm."

Inbox.lv

Inbox.lv is the largest provider of free Web-based email in Latvia, and also supports POP3 access with 8 MB of storage space. The service also includes Kapersky antivirus scanning, which scans all incoming and outgoing emails. There is a limit of 1 MB of attachments per message.

If you do not sign in to your @inbox.lv account for 60 days, or if you do not sign-in within the first 10 days, your account will b e marked "inactive." Stored email and addresses will be deleted, and inbound mail will be refused. If your account stays "inactive" for over a period of 90 days, it may be permanently deleted.

Inbox.lv can be viewed in a variety of languages. You can make the language of a Inbox.lv session match the language of the Sign In page used to begin that session. You currently have your choice of: English, Latvian and Russian.

I've been using Inbox/lv for about a year now, and while I've occasionally had trouble getting the server to answer (crowded phone lines between North America and Latvia?) I've found it generally good. No SMTP support, though. You have to send mail through your ISP's server.

MacMail

Apple has discontinued their erstwhile free mac.com email service, but you can still have a free POP3 email account with "mac" in it - to wit: xxxxxxx@macmail.com.

Alex Summersby of UK -based MacMail.com says:

"Thought your readers might like to know about another alternative to Apple's .Mac if all you need is a Mac-friendly email service that gives you an address that proclaims your allegiances: MacMail.com.

"MacMail offers free-of-charge POP3 email accounts which you can access via a Web browser or your preferred email client software. It's based in the UK but offers a worldwide service. I should mention also that the system is not based on an off-the-shelf engine but has been custom-programmed to deliver a range of features that most other such services won't match, including:

  • customizable filters and user-defined spam blocking
  • online mail management, custom folders and Address Book
  • powerful search functions

I've had a MacMail account for about six months, and it's proved a good service - fast and reliable. The signup procedure was painless and configuration a breeze. The downside is that there is no SMTP support, so you have to use your ISPs' outgoing email server.

I'm an almost total POP3 user, and MacMail works fine with Eudora and Nisus Email - the two email clients I use most, but the MacMail Webmail interface is about as slick as I've seen - clean, intuitive, and fast, and it's nice to have as a backup.

As with all Webmail services, you can access your MacMail account, send and receive messages and attachments, from any computer, anywhere in the world, so long as it has a working connection to the Internet and browser software. All you need is your MacMail User name and password.

MacMail basic services are free of charge. Additional MacMail services or "Premium Services" cost a small monthly fee. You get 5 MB total server space with the free service, and if you need more you can increase this by subscribing to the MacMail Premium Services.

MyRealBox

I've been using MyRealBox for several years, and except for a few timeouts (Novell offers this service as a product testbed, and warns that this will happen from time to time) it has proved quite dependable and fast. MyRealBox also offers SMTP support for outgoing mail.

MyRealBox does not allow advertising and supports any standards based email client. Novell hosts this service to showcase its NIMS product, and to test NIMS in a real world environment. There are currently over 150,000 users despite the fact that Novell has never advertised the existence of the site. MRB currently runs on three NetWare servers. NIMS also supports the Linux and Solaris operating systems. However, MyRealBox will not accept any Yahoo! Groups email messages.

MyRealBox offers free email with 10 MB of storage space and both POP3 and IMAP-based access. Outgoing SMTP is also available, with a maximum of 15 recipients per outgoing email sent through the MyRealBox system. You can set up the service so that it automatically forwards all email to an external email account. Note that the service is ad-free since it is in permanent beta test (see below), but it comes with certain restrictions. For example, MyRealBox automatically refuses to accept any Yahoo! Groups email messages.

Not much else to say about this one. It works well, but there is that occasional downtime. MyRealBox has been around for a while and is likely to stick around.

SoftHome

SoftHome is a dedicated email service. I've had an account with them for about five years. This one works well. There is also an upgraded for-fee Professional service available.

SoftHome pledges:

"You'll get a free email address you can use for the rest of your life. It won't go away when you change jobs; it won't go away when you graduate; it won't go away when you change Internet Service Providers. No matter what happens in your life, your family and friends will always be able to reach you at your SoftHome address."

Let's hope they are more sincere about this than Apple was.

Note that SoftHome recently downgraded their free Personal Email accounts from 15 MB and 500 messages to 6 MB and 150 messages. Likewise, the transfer limit was decreased from 45 MB/month to 10 MB/month. Since the downgrade, I've found that the server is frequently slow to respond when you're checking mail, but the SMTP server continues to work well. Messages stored in the system for a period of time may also expire and be deleted. Messages can be sent via SoftHome's SMTP service to a maximum of 10 recipients per email. Web access is also available.

Low Cost POP3 Email Services

Two other services available at reasonable prices

TheMail.com

TheMail.com offers free Webmail, but for 5¢ a day you can add an additional 10 MB of email space and POP3 access, merge mail, file manager, filters, and an autoresponder.

Features:

  • Autoresponder
  • Address Book
  • WebMail CheckIt! (check and send email right from your desktop)
  • Mail Filters (unlimited filters)
  • Auto Forward (forward your mail)
  • Extra 10 Meg disk space
  • File Manager (store files)
  • Calendar/Reminder Service
  • POP3 access (for use with Outlook, Netscape Mail, etc.)
  • Vacation Messages
  • POP3 retrieval (to get your email from other server(s))
  • WAP access (access your email from your cell phone)
  • Merge Mail (send personalized email to a list)

Select Mail

Select Mail offers free email with features that Yahoo! and Hotmail charge extra for, plus you can choose your own custom email address (e.g., you@yourchoice.com) so long as you select one special offer (e.g., a $6.95 Video Professor trial).

Features include:

  • Free custom email address (e.g. you@yourchoice.com)
  • Free Web Mail interface with no annoying advertising
  • Free POP3 and SMTP access that works with Eudora, Netscape, etc.
  • Free 6 MB of storage space with large file attachment support
  • Free SpamShield that filters out junk email
  • Free support

Select Mail says that by selecting just one special offer, you generate enough support for an entire year of ad-free Select Mail. They also claim that Select Mail is more reliable than AOL, Hotmail or Yahoo! Mail because it's powered by the email experts at Everyone.net, a reputable email service provider incorporated in the State of California.

Regarding the custom domain name, you will be what is known as the domain registrant, the possessor of the domain name. Additional fees apply to transfer your domain name to a different registrar and/or modify your domain name record. Your own custom .com, .net, or .org email address. .biz and .info are available for an additional $9.99. You can use Select Mail with a domain name that you already own.

To renew your account after the first year, you'll receive a reminder before your anniversary to select another special offer (if available). At that time, you will also have the option to pay for Select Mail ($24.99 a year). Failure to renew Select Mail either way will result in the loss of your domain name and email service interruption. If you would subscribe to Select Mail without fulfilling a special offer, Everyone.net has premium email services starting at $34.99 a year.

Select Mail includes a single email address (e.g. you@yourchoice.com). Additional email addresses (with 6 MB of storage each) can be purchased in groups of 5 for $19.99 (US) a year.

You can receive any size file attachment (up to 6 MB) so long as it does not exceed the amount of unused space available. You may upgrade to 25 MB of total storage space and 10 MB file attachment handling for $19.99 (US) a year.

Join us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter or Google+, or subscribe to our RSS news feed

Charles Moore has been a freelance journalist since 1987 and began writing for Mac websites in May 1998. His The Road Warrior column was a regular feature on MacOpinion, he is news editor at Applelinks.com and a columnist at MacPrices.net. If you find his articles helpful, please consider making a donation to his tip jar.

Links for the Day

Recent Content

About LEM Support Usage Privacy Contact

Custom Search

Follow Low End Mac on Twitter
Join Low End Mac on Facebook

Favorite Sites

MacSurfer
Cult of Mac
Shrine of Apple
MacInTouch
MyAppleMenu
InfoMac
The Mac Observer
Accelerate Your Mac
RetroMacCast
The Vintage Mac Museum
Deal Brothers
DealMac
Mac2Sell
Mac Driver Museum
JAG's House
System 6 Heaven
System 7 Today
the pickle's Low-End Mac FAQ

Affiliates

Amazon.com
The iTunes Store
PC Connection Express
Macgo Blu-ray Player
Parallels Desktop for Mac
eBay

Low End Mac's Amazon.com store

Advertise

Open Link