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What is SMTP?
SMTP stands for Simple Mail Transfer Protocol. It is the standard for transferring mail from computer to computer on the internet. (For more information, see SMTP on Wikipedia.) If you use email, you're using SMTP whether you know it or not. The only place you may notice that you are, though, is when setting up an email client on your own computer. Since your computer is not an email server (well... that may not exactly be true, but for our purposes that's what we'll assume), your email client has to connect to an SMTP server to push email out onto the internet.
How do I set it up?
Williams provides an SMTP server for use on campus, but this should, in theory, not work off campus.
- SMTP server (also called "outgoing mail server"): mail.williams.edu
- Port: 25 (this should be the default)
- Use SSL/TLS?: yes
- Your unix ID and password
There are reports of various behaviors of the Williams SMTP server off campus, but most likely (and especially if you're reading this section) you'll run into problems. Two common alternatives are to use your ISP's SMTP server (some ISPs require this if you are connected to the internet over their service) or to use Gmail's SMTP server, if you have a Gmail account.
Using Your ISP's SMTP Server
Configuration options vary from provider to provider, but instructions for setting up your email client to use your ISP's SMTP server are probably available on your ISP's website. If not contact them -- they should be able to help you out.
Using Gmail SMTP
If you have a Gmail account, you can use the Gmail SMTP server to send mail. Settings are as follows (each option may have a different name depending on client).
- SMTP server: smtp.gmail.com
- Port: 587 (note that this is not what your email client will default to)
- Use SSL/TLS?: yes
- Use your Gmail username and password.
For more help, see the Google documentation on POP Access for your email client. Note that you should not need to set up POP just to use SMTP. These instructions cover both. Start at the step that first mentions "Outgoing Mail Server" or "SMTP". (For Apple Mail: step 8; Thunderbird: step 15.)
The From Address
By default, mail sent through Gmail's SMTP server will appear to come from email@example.com, not your Williams address. To change this to your Williams address (or any address), see the following documentation from Google: How do I customize the 'From:' address on outgoing mail?