How to use mutt to access your riseup mail

This page is old, use this official one instead.

mutt is a command line email client, mostly run on GNU/Linux or freebsd, but also available on windows and can be made to work on mac os x. This article shows you how to use mutt to access your riseup email on the riseup shell server.

You can also run mutt on your own machine, using IMAP, but the IMAP support in mutt is not very good. If you want to do that, you will want to use OfflineIMAP or fetchmail.

Using the Riseup Shell Server—NOTE, no longer possible, as riseup no longer offers shell.

Enable Shell Access

  1. Login to
  2. Click on Shell
  3. Make sure shell access is on, and the shell is not set to ‘disabled’ or ‘pine’
  4. Keep this page open, you will need to reference the ‘ssh key fingerprint’ when you first connect

Login to your shell account

In Mac OS or GNU/Linux, use a terminal window. In Windoze, use an ssh program such as putty.

  1. ssh

You will be presented with the ssh fingerprint. IMPORTANT: You need to verify that this fingerprint is correct. Accepting this fingerprint without verification is a security no-no! You will only need to do this once, so it needs to be done right the first time and then you wont have to do it again. Look at the fingerprint that you are presented with, and compare it to the fingerprint that is on the web page you kept open earlier (step #4 under “Enable Shell Access”). If it is correct, go ahead and accept it. If it is not, do not continue, and do not accept it!

  1. type in your nest password (the same password you use for and

mutt set up

mutt set up on the shell server

If you are using mutt on the riseup shell server, the default set up (defined by /etc/Muttrc) will be fine for you, though you will be asked for your password each time you start mutt. To start mutt, just type mutt into the command line and off you go.

mutt set up on your own machine using imap

The riseup specific settings you need to put into your .muttrc file are

set ssl_starttls=no
#set imap_force_ssl=no

set spoolfile='imap://'   # where my new mail is located

set imap_user = $USER
unset imap_pass
set imap_passive=yes
set imap_servernoise=no

# Save sent mail in appropriately dated folders (same way pine does it, except that
# mutt wont ask you every month if you want to move your mail and delete old saved
# mailboxes (irritating when you have a couple years worth...)
send-hook . "set record=imaps://"
set record ="imaps://"

# Exim does not remove Bcc headers
#unset write_bcc
# Postfix and qmail use Delivered-To for detecting loops
unset bounce_delivered

# don't add the hostname to the From header
unset use_domain
unset user_agent
# don't generate a From header
unset use_from

Saving your password

To save your password you can create a mutt config file and put your password in
it. To do that open .muttrc in a text editor such as nano.

$ nano .muttrc

and put in the following line

set imap_pass="YOUR_PASSWORD"

If you do put your password in your .muttrc file, particularly if it is on a multi user machine (such as you should make sure only you can see that file, make sure that this is what you want to do. To do that:

$ chmod go-rwx ~/.muttrc

Common settings you may want to change

The setting you are most likely to want to change (particularly on is the editor used to write emails in. On the default editor for mutt is jed.

As an example, to change it to nano, add the following line to .muttrc

set editor="nano"

More links on using mutt

This guide doesn’t tell you how to use mutt. If you don’t know already, then try reading the following links


Someone should double check the riseup specific settings above …


I made a couple changes, not many just a few formatting things and some specifics about checking the ssh fingerprint.

I also included a link to our help pages on OfflineIMAP, which is somewhat similar to fetchmail, except that it keeps copies of your mail on the server, as if you were doing imap, without the delay.

I think this looks really good, and would like to move it to the help documents section.

(actually, I’d like to move all of our help documents to Crabgrass, but we’d have to give up the hierarchy structure, which might not be so bad…)


Cool, the changes look good to me. And feel free to move it to the help documents section :)