What is Thunderbird?

Thunderbird is the mail client recommended by riseup.net. It is Free Software and is available for Linux, Windows, and Mac OS X. You can download Thunderbird from the thunderbird website. As Free Software, Thunderbird is part of the digital commons, a kind of common treasury for all. Outlook, on the other hand, is Microsoft’s tool for world domination.

Thunderbird has many features, including: IMAP and POP support, multiple accounts, quick search, spell as you type, advanced spam controls, RSS, virtual folder views, message filtering, addressbook, and support for OpenPGP encryption.

Setup Thunderbird

Start the Account Wizard

The first time you run Thunderbird, the account wizard will walk you through setting up an account. If the wizard does not open, you can do this:

1. Choose the menu item Edit > Account Settings…

2. Click the Add Account… button.

Step 1

You will see a prompt. Enter in your name, email address and password.

Click Continue

Step 2

Thunderbird will pull the settings from riseup’s servers.

Now you need to decide if you want to use IMAP or POP. It will by default pick IMAP, so if you want IMAP you can simply click continue. To switch to POP, click edit. Then click the dropdown menu that says IMAP and change it to POP. Now click Re-Test Configuration. It should show you using POP. If so, click Continue.

Step 3

If this does not work, you may have entered your username or password wrong. Click Start Over and try again. Otherwise…

You’re Done!

It should automatically check your mail now and every few minutes after. Have fun using Thunderbird!

What is next?

Hidden options that radically improve thunderbird speed

By default, thunderbird talks to the email server every time you open an email or change its state. This can feel really sluggish on a slower network connection or if the Riseup server is busy.

Happily, there is something you can do about it! Thunderbird has some hidden settings to make it sync entirely with the mail server when it connects. This will generally make your experience much more pleasant and snappy.

To set these options, go to Edit menu > Preferences item > Advanced tab > Config Editor button.

Enhance your email security

  1. Ideally, you should not use StartTLS. Instead, it is much better to use regular TLS. For added security, go to your account settings and change your connection type from StartTLS to TLS.
  2. There are many vulnerabilities with how secure connections work. If you need high security, you should always connect to Riseup services using the Riseup VPN. This will prevent a long list of potential attacks against your communication.
  3. For enhanced message security, consider setting up Enigmail with Thunderbird to get OpenPGP setup.

Add some extensions

We suggest these extensions for Thunderbird: