Keeping things aggregated
April 6, 2009 3:00 PM   Subscribe

Is there a website that will allow me to aggregate all my different email accounts and access them from one place?

I know that Gmail can import mail from other accounts, but I'd like to have all my accounts separate and use some kind of web service that will interface with all of them. So far I've been using Thunderbird on my desktop at home to do this, but I travel frequently and instead I want to remotely access one site that links all my accounts.

I tried Zenbe but they've since started charging for it and it doesn't even support IMAP. What other options are there?
posted by Aanidaani to Computers & Internet (21 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I'm not sure I understand why you don't want to use gmail--you can even set it up so that you can reply to a message to a different account from that account via gmail, and use labels to keep the separate accounts distinct.
posted by tjenks at 3:07 PM on April 6, 2009

Seconding tjenks. I'm not sure why you don't want to use gmail. Could you clarify? It even handles IMAP and POP access. I use it for exactly the reasons and use you are describing.
posted by strixus at 3:09 PM on April 6, 2009

I have all of my email accounts automatically forward themselves to gmail (gmail used to pull them in with pop3, but it didn't always work). Thunderbird then downloads the messages from gmail, which are archived after download. Both gmail and Thunderbird are set up to send as if from my main (non-gmail) address. Whenever I have internet access away from home, I can pull up gmail, and if I don't have internet but do have my laptop, I can use Thunderbird.
posted by niles at 3:16 PM on April 6, 2009

Gmail can seperate your accounts into diffrent inboxes on the same page, and I think there is a way to even get it to send the messages as if they were from the diffrent accounts. Gmail is the way to go for what you're looking for, sorry if I can't be more helpful.
posted by Stirdog at 3:16 PM on April 6, 2009

Stirdog is right . . you can use multiple inboxes by logging into gmail, send from any address you like using a drop down menu. Plus gmail is great for a lot of reasons. I run 6 email addresses through my master gmail . . . works like a dream
posted by nameless.k at 3:26 PM on April 6, 2009

The paid version of Yahoo! Mail also does the same thing and actually gets the headers a bit better than Gmail when sending from a different email address. But you can configure Yahoo Main to do exactly what Thunderbird is doing for you now. Gmail too.
posted by GuyZero at 3:35 PM on April 6, 2009

Joining the Gmail pile-on. The most reliable way I know to set this up is to have Gmail pull mails from your other accounts via POP3. When you're setting this up, choose the option to label the collected mail with a new label, bypass your Gmail inbox (archive the mail) and don't leave it on the original server. What you end up with is a Gmail inbox where all the stuff addressed directly to your Gmail account goes, and a bunch of labels (each with its own independent unread count) that function pretty much exactly like inboxes for your other accounts.

Turning on the Google Labs "right side labels" feature makes labels easier to get at. Also, using a short label name (e.g. "school" instead of the default "") for the one applied during POP3 pull will mean that the unread count doesn't get truncated from the labels box.

Using Gmail's POP3 fetcher works better for separating multiple accounts than setting all of those up to push (forward or redirect) mails to your Gmail account, because if Gmail is fetching mails via POP3 it can reliably label them regardless of how they're addressed. If you're pushing mails into Gmail from outside, then the only way Gmail can distinguish which accounts they're coming from is if you set up filters, and these don't work for e.g. bulk mails received via bcc.

After you've told Gmail to pull mails from another account via POP3, it will offer you the option of being able to send mails using that account's address as well. The verification process for this is straightforward, and after you've completed it, you can simply pick the From: address you want from a dropdown menu before you hit Send. Gmail will also let you set the default From: address on a reply to the one associated with the incoming mail. It really does work just as well as Thunderbird for managing multiple accounts.

Gmail also offers IMAP access, so if you want to keep using Thunderbird on your desktop and a web interface on the road, you can do that, and IMAP will keep your Thunderbird view and your Gmail view in sync. The labels you create in the Gmail web interface show up as IMAP folders in Thunderbird, and you can copy all your existing mails into your new Gmail account by dragging them to appropriate IMAP folders.

You can also install the Zindus extension into Thunderbird to two-way sync your Thunderbird address book with your Gmail contact list. It's all good.
posted by flabdablet's sock puppet at 3:59 PM on April 6, 2009 [1 favorite] , sign up for an account and do the magic in there. Full disclosure, it's been forever since I did this, and now use GMail
posted by deezil at 4:19 PM on April 6, 2009

Forgot to mention the service is called Personal Homepage and is free
posted by deezil at 4:20 PM on April 6, 2009

It's been several years since I last used Mail2Web, but when I used it, there was an upper limit on how often you could access your email in the course of a day. You might want to check if that restriction has been lifted, if accessing your email many times a day is important to you.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 5:17 PM on April 6, 2009

I'm kind of in the same boat as the OP, with one problem. I would LOVE to use Gmail, but it seems email addresses cannot be forwarded to gmail. I haev googled for solutions, but nothing I've tried works. Fixes?
posted by Night_owl at 5:49 PM on April 6, 2009

Zoho Mail will do what you want, without aggregating all mail into a single inbox. Granted, Gmail can achieve this too, but requires use of labelling, filters and Labs tools to give you what you're looking for. Zoho Mail's interface is much more reminiscent of desktop clients, and keeps your different accounts separate. Zoho is free, retrieves mail using POP3, and allows you to send from any of your addresses. Zoho Mail can also be setup to work offline, using Google Gears.

I should say that I still use Gmail as my primary, but my Zoho account is my catch-all backup, collecting all mail from my two Gmail accounts. It's just a matter of preference for me.
posted by Tawita at 6:36 PM on April 6, 2009

Response by poster: I know that everyone likes Gmail, but Gmail only downloads messages via POP3. I would like to use a program that downloads the messages using IMAP. Is there no such tool?
posted by Aanidaani at 7:08 PM on April 6, 2009

So you want to access your mail through two different webmail interfaces, and have mail read in one display as read in the other? I thought the whole point about aggregation is that you will no longer need to check each of your other accounts, because you will be looking at them all in one place. I can't think of any webmail service that will retrieve mail from other webmail services using IMAP.
posted by Tawita at 7:41 PM on April 6, 2009

Netvibes or a similar service designed for home pages should do the trick. It doesn't backup the email in any way (and I'm not sure why any service would), but it does give you a subject and the start of the email for the stuff in your account.
posted by theichibun at 7:51 PM on April 6, 2009

Gmail has IMAP.
posted by IndigoRain at 10:40 PM on April 6, 2009

Gmail does IMAP. You can enable it from settings.

And its free.

Its pretty much the best thing to have before spending money on something like MS exchange (if you need that functionality). The only problem I have ever had with gmail is some sites require that you sign up with an email address that isnt which case I use my employer's email (which is setup to pop email messages to my gmail)
posted by schindyguy at 11:28 PM on April 6, 2009

Just to clear up any IMAP/POP3 confusion:

Gmail can fetch mails from other mail accounts (including Hotmail since recently) into your Gmail account via POP3.

You can connect a desktop email client to your Gmail account via either POP3 or IMAP.
posted by flabdablet's sock puppet at 3:54 PM on April 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

Wow, flabSP, I had no idea. Thanks for the link!
posted by Night_owl at 8:02 AM on April 8, 2009

Response by poster: I know that I can access my GMail account via IMAP. That isn't my problem. I want GMail to connect to my other accounts via IMAP. It only uses POP3, which means that anything I read on my GMail account will remain unread on the other accounts.
posted by Aanidaani at 3:14 PM on April 8, 2009

Generally once you start funneling all your other mail into gmail, you simply cease using those systems directly. Thus there's only one "read flag" to handle as opposed to keeping multiple sets of email metadata in sync. And email metadata tends to be reader-specific anyway so trying to move it around is pretty frustrating (e.g. gmail labels).
posted by GuyZero at 3:54 PM on April 8, 2009

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