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YPOPs!: Read Yahoo! Mail in any POP3-Compatible Email Client

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Published on February 17th, 2006
Category: Internet

When I signed up for a Yahoo! Email account, I had one purpose in mind: to obtain a POP3 email address. POP3 is an email protocol that messaging clients, such as Microsoft Outlook, Eudora, and Mozilla Thunderbird, employ to receive email. This method of retrieving email was the precursor to web-based email (like using Microsoft Internet Explorer to check Hotmail).

emailclient.jpg
Client-Based Mail
webmail.jpg
Web-based Mail

I for one, do not like the shift from client-based email to web-based email. Client-based email is faster, it will save login information (I know that you can save passwords in web-based email. But, the cookies expire or get deleted often!), and it is uncluttered since there are no advertisements.

The Problem

So , I was enjoying my Yahoo! POP3 email account for a couple of months until they suddenly pulled the plug and discontinued the free POP3 service and opted for the web-based email only. I wasn’t really surprised because the web-based version is the only one that displays ads mandatory. They have to make money somehow!

Don’t misunderstand this! POP3 Yahoo! mail is still available; its only available to paying subscribers (a whooping $20/year!).

The Solution

Luckily, some programmers saw this as an injustice and created a solution: Yahoo POPs! (its now called YPOPs! because of the trademark infringement or something). YPOPs! is essentially a hybrid browser server. As a browser, it checks Yahoo! mail at the request of a POP3-compatible client. That’s where the server aspect comes in. Take Microsoft Outlook Express for example. If using the now-for-pay Yahoo! POP3 service, the server address is mail.yahoo.com:110. But, when using YPOP!, the server address is 127.0.0.1 (localhost) which is the IP address of the local computer.

Steps to Retreive Mail

To simplify things, this is what happens with YPOPs!.

  1. YPOPs! automatically loads on the Microsoft Windows startup via the task tray.
  2. An email client checks 127.0.0.1 on port 110 for mail.
  3. YPOPs!, which is monitoring port 110 for any requests, is activated to do its “magic.”
  4. In the background, YPOPs! goes to the Yahoo! website masquerading as a normal browser like Microsoft Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox.
  5. It authenticates itself with your username and password.
  6. Then, YPOPs! checks your inbox for mail, stripping out everything (since the message is being rendered as web-based mail) but the raw mail headers and body.
  7. Taking that sanitized data, YPOPs! feeds it back into 127.0.0.1:110 using POP3 format and protocol.
  8. The email client recognizes this and displays new messages.

This whole process may seem complicated but it really isn’t. These steps are performed behind the scenes and they are almost undetectable!

If you regularly use a Yahoo! email address, I highly recommend that you try this piece of software. It’s so much faster and cleaner when using an email client instead of the default web-based interface.

Stay tuned for my next article on a “Hotmail POPs!”


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2 Responses to “YPOPs!: Read Yahoo! Mail in any POP3-Compatible Email Client”

  1. Grant Says:

    Gmail - Google’s answer to email with over 2 gigs of space and growing also offers free pop. Unfortunately, its available by invite only. I have 100 invites lying around. Email me at CivlDX@gmail.com with the email address you want your invite mailed to if you would like one.

  2. Scott Says:

    I agree with Grant.

    Gmail is now available without an invitation if you have a cell phone. I used to hate web-based e-mail, but now that I’m using Gmail, I actually prefer it over POP/IMAP.

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