Where is my POP/IMAP mail stored?

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The information on this page may change at any time.

The location and format of mail storage on our servers has changed before and may change again, so you should not rely on it. Always use POP, IMAP, SMTP or .forward files for all mail access, instead of reading or changing the raw mail files.

If you've chosen to deliver mail to a POP or IMAP mailbox, that mail is stored in Maildir format inside the "mailstore" directory in your home directory.

Advanced users can view the mail files using a shell connection, or retrieve the files for backup purposes using a tool like rsync (or even by FTP if you add an additional FTP account that has access to the mail directory).

This may be useful as a quick solution to a problem, but we don’t recommend doing it on an ongoing basis, as mentioned in the warning above.

What's the exact "path" for a mailbox?

To see the exact path for a given email address, enter the address in the box at the top of this page.

What format is the mail in?

The mail is stored in plain text format, one file per message (see the Maildir specification for details).

The files are compressed with gzip compression to save space. These can be decompressed using programs like gunzip or WinZip. (Compressing mail doesn’t slow things down; reducing the disk resources needed for mail actually speeds things up overall.)

However, we don’t recommend that you access the raw files anyway. Instead, access mail only using standard POP or IMAP, even if you're accessing it from scripts. (Most programming libraries offer a way to do this, like the PHP IMAP library.) If you do this, you won't need to worry about the underlying format used to store them.