how to check and send

OK, so you're all signed up and ready to use your account. At this point, you may be wondering exactly how do you check and send e-mail? Here are the answers

Checking and downloading your e-mail
Note: this assumes that you have the type of account that includes e-mail. For example, an EconoWeb account does not...

In order to read your e-mail, you will need to have a POP3 client of some type. One of the most popular is Eudora, a free, full featured client. There are many others out there, including Microsoft Outlook, Pegasus, etc. Netscape can function as a POP3 e-mail client as well.

Once you have the software, you will need to configure it to download your mail. Somewhere in the settings will be a place to specify your usercode, password, and pop3 server. You should use the usercode that was assigned to you, and input your current password. If we are hosting a domain for you, just prepend "pop3." to your domain name for the pop3 server. (For example, if we are hosting yourdomain.com for you, your pop3 server would be pop3.yourdomain.com. If we are not hosting a domain for you, your pop3 server would be pop3.twistedbits.net).

An important note regarding pop3 and security:

It is technically possible for someone to set up what is known as a "sniffer" on a network. This is a program which looks at the content of the packets on the network as they float by. Generally, this is done to try and discover a user's password, which is often transmitted in plain text by many programs. Such a sniffer could be located anywhere on the path between you and our server. When you check your e-mail, POP3 transmits your password in plain text, so it can be easily "sniffed". For this reason, we support both POP3 and APOP authentication. If you use APOP authentication, your password is not sent to the server. Instead, your e-mail client sends a "fingerprint" to the server which is used to prove that your e-mail client knows your password. To make a long story short, using APOP makes it impossible for your password to be "sniffed". For this reason, we highly recommend that you use APOP instead of POP3 if your e-mail client supports it. (It will be listed in your e-mail client's settings somewhere if it does...)

Note that even if your e-mail client does not support APOP, it is still possible to encrypt your password by setting up an SSH tunnel. Click here for more details.

Sending e-mail (settings)
To send e-mail, you need to specify the proper SMTP server in your e-mail client settings. This may be called the "SMTP server" or the "outgoing mail server", something along those lines. If we are hosting a domain for you, just prepend "mail." to your domain name for the SMTP server. (For example, if we are hosting yourdomain.com for you, your SMTP server would be mail.yourdomain.com. If we are not hosting a domain for you, your SMTP server would be mail.twistedbits.net).

Sending e-mail (authentication)
We use an authentication method called "POP before SMTP". Essentially, this is a way for us to ensure that only Twisted Bits users can send e-mail through our server. This restriction is necessary to prevent unauthorized users such as spammers from being able to use our mail server to send spam, viruses and all the other junk that these idiots are constantly cluttering the 'net with.

Fortunately, it is very easy to authenticate yourself; you don't need a to input a usercode or password, all you need to do is to check your e-mail via POP3 or APOP. When our server sees that you are able to log in to check your e-mail, it will allow your IP address to send e-mail through our server. Many e-mail clients are set up with a single button that you press to both send your outgoing e-mail messages and check for new messages at the same time. When you hit that button for the first time, chances are you will get a "relaying denied" error because the system didn't have enough time to authenticate your IP address before your e-mail program tried to send your outgoing messages. In this case, just hit the button a second time and the outgoing messages will be sent.

Our system will remember the IP address that you authenticated from for approximately 1 month, so you won't actually need to authenticate again unless your IP address changes, or you don't check your e-mail in a very long time. Chances are once you get past the initial rejection and authenticate yourself, you will probably not have to worry about it ever again, but should you ever get a "relaying denied" error, just remember that all you need to do is to check your e-mail, then send your message again and it should go right through.

Note that some e-mail clients have this functionality built in, which makes the whole deal even easier. For example, in newer versions of Outlook, in the E-mail accounts dialog box, there is a "More Settings" button which brings up another dialog box. There is an "Outgoing Server" tab. You can select "My outgoing server (SMTP) requires authentication" and then select "Log on to incoming mail server before sending mail".