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Using AOL and AIM mail

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This article was written for Thunderbird but also applies to Mozilla Suite / SeaMonkey (though some menu sequences may differ).

AOL mail, AIM mail, LuckyMail and Compuserve mail all use AOL's IMAP server. Netscape mail accounts have been migrated to AIM mail. The main difference between the different versions of "AOL mail" is that a AOL account imposes the most restrictions on what you can do with the IMAP server and a AIM account the least. The IMAP server does not support AOL-only features such as AOL Return Receipts and checking a message's status. Mail.com (which also owns the email.com domain) uses AOL servers (which explains why it has the same restrictions as a AOL account) but its not clear that the AOL instructions apply to them. [1].

Create a new account using Tools -> Account Settings -> Add Account and choose IMAP as your server type. Then, use the following information to complete the fields:


Contents

AOL

Incoming server (IMAP) imap.aol.com
Port Leave it to be set automatically: 143 (993 for SSL)
Security Settings/connection Select either Never or SSL (AOL supports SSL, so you should probably use it)
Security Settings/Use secure authentication Do not check.
Username Your screen name
Outgoing Server (SMTP) smtp.aol.com
Username Your screen name
Security/connection AOL supports SSL, so you should probably use it; use port 465 in this case.
Port 587 ( 465 for SSL)
Description Name Whatever you wish

You will be asked for the password when you connect for the first time.

As of February 2, 2010 AOL no longer supports email clients using a Sent folder, though webmail will continue to use that folder. Instead you have to create a folder named after your email address and then configure Tools -> Account Settings -> Copies & Folders -> "when sending messages automatically" to use that folder. If you don't do this the only way to save a copy of the sent message is to use a different email provider's SMTP server.

You cannot manually add messages to the Inbox or Sent Items folders. Messages will be added to those folders after messages have been sent and received by the AOL server. AOL does not allow a email client to copy a message to Sent Items, but does not return an error message if the email client does that. This causes Thunderbird to keep waiting until it times out. Its recommended you use Local Folders if you want to store sent mail, email drafts, and templates. You can configure this using Tools -> Account Settings -> name of your AOL account -> Copies & Folders.

Normally unread messages remain in a IMAP folder indefinitely. However, AOL's standard policy is to delete unread messages if you haven't read them in 28 days. They also normally delete messages in the Sent folder after seven days.

See this article for information about the optional Unified Inbox.

LuckyMail appears to be a version of AOL Mail with a different namespace, to give people a better chance of using the username they want.

AOL anounced a beta version of AOL Webmail that supports sending attachments up to 5GB via Xdrive. It might be available for IMAP users later on but would probably cause problems for any recipients that don't use AOL.

AOL may add linked ads that are not clickable in Thunderbird because they're not marked up as HTML links. Install the Text2Link extension if you want to click on them.

AIM

Incoming server (IMAP) imap.aim.com
Port Leave it to be set automatically: 143 (993 for SSL)
Security Settings/connection Select either Never or SSL (AIM supports SSL, so you should probably use it)
Security Settings/Use secure authentication Do not check.
Username Your screen name
Outgoing Server (SMTP) smtp.aim.com
Username Your screen name
Security/connection AIM supports SSL, so you should probably use it; use port 465 in this case.
Port 587 ( 465 for SSL)
Description Name Whatever you wish

You will be asked for the password when you connect for the first time.

As of February 2, 2010 AIM no longer supports email clients using a Sent folder, though webmail will continue to use that folder. Instead you have to create a folder named after your email address and then configure Tools -> Account Settings -> Copies & Folders -> "when sending messages automatically" to use that folder. If you don't do this the only way to save a copy of the sent message is to use a different email provider's SMTP server.

AIM Mail doesn't have any of the AOL account restrictions, but is also offered by AOL. It will add a "Saved Mail" and "Spam" folder and any inbox child folders are displayed as peers rather than child folders. You can sign up for it using Start Using Your Free AIMĀ® Mail Account by selecting "Create a AIM screen name today". After logging in, logout and then create a AIM account in Thunderbird. If you want to convert from AOL to AIM, goto the same URL but login using your AOL email address and password instead of creating a AIM screen name.

The instructions on the AIM web site sometimes incorrectly state things that only apply to AOL accounts. AIM's help claims you can't create or delete folders in the root using a email client. This is incorrect. Normally in Thunderbird your inbox is the topmost folder and you can only create child folders in it. You should see a Drafts, INBOX, Saved Mail, Saved IMs, Sent, Spam, Trash and VOICEMAIL folder (as peers, not in a hierarchy) in your AIM IMAP account. You can't create child folders in any of them. You can create a new folder in the root, and create child folders in it (and any other folders you add to the root).

You can hide folders by unsubscribing them. This is a standard feature of IMAP. Right click on the Inbox folder, and select Subscribe in the context menu. Expand the folder listing, uncheck any folders you want to hide, and then press the OK button.

Migration from Netscape Mail

See Netscape Mail upgrade to AIM.

Import address book

  • Login to AOL or AIM mail using a browser
  • Open the address book
  • Tools -> Export
  • Select the file type as "CSV"
  • Download it.
  • Start Thunderbird
  • Tools -> Import -> Address Books -> Text Files
  • Browse to the downloaded .CSV file and select it. Press Open. Press Finish.

Restoring AOL-only functionality

The AOL mail extension adds several toolbar buttons that can be used to restore some functionality thats normally available only in AOL or AIM webmail.

  • Adds a Unsend button that can be used to recall mail sent to other AOL mailboxs if it hasn't been delivered but not read yet.
  • Adds a Status button which displays which recipients have read the message, and when. This only works with recipients who are using AOL/AIM.

That mail is not available

Several Thunderbird users have reported getting that error message with their AOL IMAP account.

  • some number (1032) that mail is not currently available"

It also occurred using Opera, SeaMonkey and Outlook. It only occurs with the inbox. In one case it was isolated to a specific message. It seems to be a temporary problem with the AOL/AIM IMAP servers that occurs occasionally, for some users. [2] [3] [4] [5]

This forum thread describes a way how to resolve the issue using AOL's web interface. The number in front of the "(1032)" apparently indicates the message number, thus helps to find the offending message and remove it.

Country server addresses

UK imap.uk.aol.com & smtp.uk.aol.com

Canada imap.ca.aol.com & smtp.ca.aol.com

Australia imap.au.aol.com & smtp.au.aol.com

Mexico imap.mx.aol.com & smtp.mx.aol.com

Argentina imap.ar.aol.com & smtp.ar.aol.com

Brazil imap.br.aol.com & smtp.br.aol.com

France imap.fr.aol.com & smtp.fr.aol.com

Germany imap.de.aol.com & smtp.de.aol.com

Japan imap.jp.aol.com & smtp.jp.aol.com

USA imap.aol.com & smtp.aol.com

See also

External Links