fetchmail is a full-featured IMAP and POP client. It allows users to automatically download mail from remote IMAP and POP servers and save it into local mailboxes where it can be accessed more easily. fetchmail can be installed using the mail/fetchmail port, and offers various features, including:
Support for the POP3, APOP, KPOP, IMAP, ETRN and ODMR protocols.
Ability to forward mail using SMTP, which allows filtering, forwarding, and aliasing to function normally.
May be run in daemon mode to check periodically for new messages.
Can retrieve multiple mailboxes and forward them, based on configuration, to different local users.
This section explains some of the basic features of
fetchmail. This utility requires a
.fetchmailrc configuration in the user's
home directory in order to run correctly. This file includes
server information as well as login credentials. Due to the
sensitive nature of the contents of this file, it is advisable
to make it readable only by the user, with the following
chmod 600 .fetchmailrc
.fetchmailrc serves as an
example for downloading a single user mailbox using
POP. It tells
fetchmail to connect to
a username of
and a password of
XXX. This example assumes
that the user
exists on the local system.
poll example.com protocol pop3 username "joesoap" password "XXX"
The next example connects to multiple POP and IMAP servers and redirects to different local usernames where applicable:
poll example.com proto pop3: user "joesoap", with password "XXX", is "jsoap" here; user "andrea", with password "XXXX"; poll example2.net proto imap: user "john", with password "XXXXX", is "myth" here;
fetchmail can be run in daemon
mode by running it with
-d, followed by the
interval (in seconds) that fetchmail
should poll servers listed in
The following example configures
fetchmail to poll every 600
fetchmail -d 600
More information on fetchmail can
be found at