Secure SSL Connections for Outlook Express

With Microsoft Outlook Express, it's possible to use secure SSL connections for added security. Doing so ensures that if another person somehow has the ability to eavesdrop on your Internet connections, that person won't be able to view your password or the contents of your email.

This page assumes that you have already followed the basic instructions to set up Outlook Express.

Enabling secure SSL connections

To enable secure SSL connections, you will:

  • Open the Advanced settings window for your mail account
  • Turn on both "This server requires a secure connection (SSL)" checkboxes
  • Change the "Outgoing mail (SMTP)" port number to 465, and the "Incoming mail (POP3)" port number to 995

1. Start the Outlook Express program from your Start menu.

When Outlook Express opens, click Tools, then Accounts from the menu bar.

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2. The "Internet Accounts" window appears.

Highlight the email account you wish to change and click Properties.

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3. The "Properties" window appears.

Click the Advanced tab, then:

  • Check both boxes marked This server requires a secure connection (SSL)
  • Change the "Outgoing mail (SMTP)" port number to 465
  • Make sure that the "Incoming mail (POP3)" port number is 995
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4. Close the setup windows.

Click OK to close the Properties window, then click Close to close the Internet Accounts window.

Outlook Express setup for secure SSL connections is complete

You're finished! Try sending yourself a test email message to make sure it works.

(For advanced users: you can check that your messages are actually being encrypted by viewing the headers of the test message and looking for text that says something similar to "using TLSv1" in one of the "Received" lines.)

Troubleshooting secure SSL connection problems

We've occasionally heard reports of computers where normal Outlook Express email works properly, but secure SSL connections do not work. This appears to be a problem with Outlook Express or Microsoft Windows on those computers.

If you have trouble after turning on secure SSL connections, try turning it off again to see if that solves the problem:

  • Open the Advanced settings screen, using the instructions above
  • Uncheck both boxes marked This server requires a secure connection (SSL)
  • Change the "Outgoing mail (SMTP)" port number back to 587, and make sure that the Incoming mail (POP3) port number is 110.

If this fixes the problem, then either Outlook Express or Microsoft Windows is not working correctly on your computer. It may be possible to solve the problem by deleting the email account completely in Outlook Express and creating a new one — but if that doesn't help, there isn't much you can do, unfortunately, short of reinstalling Outlook Express or Windows.