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Port 25 Vs. Port 587


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#1 bloomcounty

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Posted 19 June 2007 - 10:30 PM

I use Outlook Express 6 and I just noticed that my outgoing mail port is set to 25. I was perusing the Earthlink site to see how they suggest setting up your email, and they say to use Port 587 for outgoing mail (and to use Port 25 only as a last resort because it only works if you're connected to the Earthlink server, or something like that -- another site I read said Earthlink blocks to Port 25, yet that's been my setting for years, like I said).

I'm not really sure what that all means... :flowers:

My settings in OE have been for Port 25 for YEARS and I've never had a problem sending email (unless Earthlink was down). I read something somewhere about spammers using Port 25, but I don't really know the significance of that or if that even matters to me.

I only looked this up because I'm having INCOMING mail issues with OE going to weird Destination IP/DNS addresses (though my AVG email scan always goes to Earthlink), and ran across this... So I checked my settings for $h!t$ and grins. :trumpet:

Anyone know what the deal is with the whole Port 25/587 thing? And should I care? :inlove:

Thanks! :thumbsup:
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#2 hillbillygreek

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Posted 20 June 2007 - 01:28 AM

Port 587 uses a TLS connection, which is a secure connection, for sending email which is recommended because it prevents your email from being tampered with. It's the setting that GM ail uses by default. You can read more here > Transport Layer Security.

I read something somewhere about spammers using Port 25, but I don't really know the significance of that or if that even matters to me.


Well...sort of. Awhile back, certain ISP's began blocking the use of Port 25 with accounts that were not theirs in order to prevent you from sending mass amounts of emails, even if it's to your friends, which is their way of controlling spam. As an example, my local ISP is Charter Communications. They told me, as did Bell South when I used them, that I could no longer use my SMTP server on my Yahoo account to send email, & that I would have to use my Charter SMTP settings to send emails from both my Charter & Yahoo accounts. ISP's claim to monitor email traffic to make sure that we do not send too many emails out at one time. The upside to this is that if your computer becomes infected & mass email are being sent out without your knowledge, your ISP may contact you to see if there is indeed a problem. They were or are doing this with customers that were sending email using programs such as OE, Thunderbird, Eudora,etc..web mail users were not affected.

Guessing that these are the settings you're referring to (?) > Earthlink Support Center.
Try using them & see if you are able to send mail with them; if they do not work, you can leave it as you have it now.

#3 bloomcounty

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Posted 20 June 2007 - 01:47 AM

Guessing that these are the settings you're referring to (?) > Earthlink Support Center.
Try using them & see if you are able to send mail with them; if they do not work, you can leave it as you have it now.


Thanks for the reply!

But if Port 25 has been working fine all this time, is there any reason to change to Port 587 like that link suggests?

Not saying I'm opposed to switching it, but what would be the reason to even try it out?

Thanks for the help and info -- looking forward to hearing back! :thumbsup:
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#4 oldf@rt

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Posted 20 June 2007 - 02:03 AM

If your e mail is working ok, dont change anything.
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#5 hillbillygreek

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Posted 20 June 2007 - 02:35 AM

It's up to you whether or not you want to change it. It is not mandatory, it's just that 587 is a secure connection. I suppose it will work either way & that either way is fine.I guess it depends on how you value your email. It may not be a bad idea to call Earthlink & see what they have to say about this.

Edited by hillbillygreek, 20 June 2007 - 10:00 AM.


#6 bloomcounty

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Posted 20 June 2007 - 09:41 AM

What do you mean by it depends on how I value my email...? Why is having it set to Port 25 not "secure"?

What is at risk for me personally by continuing to use Port 25?

Can someone intercept and/or read my email that I send? Can someone get on my computer?

What makes one secure and the other not secure? (I read some about it when I first posted, but the explanation didn't really answer any of these questions...)

I know that the outgoing email is SMTP or whatever that's called. The incoming mail isn't that... just regular POP. (Not to imply I understand any of that either... :flowers: )

Thanks for the help! :thumbsup:
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#7 hillbillygreek

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Posted 20 June 2007 - 11:58 AM

Email is risky because of spammers; using ssl connections makes it harder for them to intercept email & any info that they need. Opening attachments from recipients that you don't know also puts your computer at risk, which is why it's always recommended to simply delete email from people that you don't know without bothering to open them. If you have adequate security such as a Firewall & an Antivirus program, & you are careful with handling email, you should be fine.

POP is the connection used to "pull" or receive email to your computer; SMTP is a "push" connection, used when sending emails from your computer. These connections apply to those who use a desktop email client such as OE or Thunderbird to send/receive email.

#8 bloomcounty

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Posted 20 June 2007 - 12:54 PM

Thanks for the info. Here's my details:

I have dial-up.
I use OE.
Windows XP SP2.
I use AVG Free (which has an email scanner)
I use ZA Free 7.0.302 (which I'm having weird email-related "stuff" with, see Post #20 and on here: http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/ind...st&p=548585

So what I still don't understand is... is Port 587 an ssl connection and Port 25 isn't? (Could *that* be why I'm having the issues in the link above...?)

So by using Port 25, someone could intercept my emails and read them and stop them from getting to their destination?

But if I use Port 587, that can't happen?

But if that's the case, then why do you say to just leave it set to Port 25 if that's been working fine...?

Thanks for the help! Looking forward to hearing back... :thumbsup:
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#9 hillbillygreek

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Posted 20 June 2007 - 10:10 PM

So what I still don't understand is... is Port 587 an ssl connection and Port 25 isn't? (Could *that* be why I'm having the issues in the link above...?)


Your issues @ the link above involve incoming mail. Since Grinler is helping you with that, I'm going to leave it alone as you are in very capable hands.

So by using Port 25, someone could intercept my emails and read them and stop them from getting to their destination?


Not exactly. Emails end up delivered to the destination & they sit on a server until the recipient downloads them. Spammers can hack into the server & subsequently gain whatever information they need. How exactly, I wouldn't want to know. The truth of the matter is that whatever methods are being used is a grey area for most people & I doubt that there is a definite answer that can be given. Some interesting reading here > Email Security & Anonymity



But if I use Port 587, that can't happen?


Correct. The connection between email servers is encrypted & therefore it's difficult to monitor the traffic because it readily can't be seen. It's not only limited to email. When you do online banking or online shopping, when it comes time to enter personal information such as a credit card number, you are redirected to a secure web page. Some giveaways that you are on a secure web page are that you see https as part of the web address as opposed to http, there is a locked padlock at the bottom of the page, & the address bar in your browser is a different color, usually yellow. In the TLS link I gave you above is a technical explanation of how that works.

But if that's the case, then why do you say to just leave it set to Port 25 if that's been working fine...?


Whether or not you want to switch to using Port 587 is up to you. I cant make the final decision for you. I can merely make suggestions. Me personally, much the same way I feel safer conducting online transactions on a secure web page, I feel equally safer using secure email connections. I've had a few bumps along the way with emails, so maybe I'm just being cautious. As stated above, you should at some point contact Earthlink & get their side of the story.

#10 bloomcounty

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Posted 21 June 2007 - 11:41 AM

Your issues @ the link above involve incoming mail. Since Grinler is helping you with that, I'm going to leave it alone as you are in very capable hands.


Yes, Grinler's great! But if he's not able to return to help, can I drop you a line to stop by see what you think? :thumbsup:

Whether or not you want to switch to using Port 587 is up to you. I cant make the final decision for you. I can merely make suggestions. Me personally, much the same way I feel safer conducting online transactions on a secure web page, I feel equally safer using secure email connections. I've had a few bumps along the way with emails, so maybe I'm just being cautious. As stated above, you should at some point contact Earthlink & get their side of the story.


So by "bumps" do you mean that sometimes your emails don't get through? Is that the downside to using the higher security settings? (ie. Port 587)
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#11 hillbillygreek

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Posted 21 June 2007 - 10:05 PM

The issues I had with emails were with a prior ISP & there is no reason for me to go into them at all.

I looked @ your post & since I'm not familiar with ZA or any of the errors you are getting, I would not be of any use to you. You should follow Grinler's advice & contact Zone Alarm.

#12 bloomcounty

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Posted 22 June 2007 - 10:27 AM

Thanks for checking. I'm actually waiting to hear back from Grinler on that thread...

I guess I'll stick with my current settings for now... I still don't understand what's at risk (if anything), using Port 25 vs. Port 587 though... I understand that Port 587 is secure like a secure website, but I don't get what's bad about Port 25 or even where these ports are! Are they on my computer? Are they on the mail server somewhere? Who's mail server? My dial-up's? I don't understand...

If you're up for a newbie/layman's explanation for that stuff, I'd love to know (and learn). Thanks! :thumbsup:

Edited by bloomcounty, 22 June 2007 - 10:27 AM.

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#13 tos226

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Posted 22 June 2007 - 11:01 AM

Hi Bloomcounty,
Google.
Few email ports
http://help.textdrive.com/index.php?pg=kb.page&id=69
Ports tutorial
http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/tutorials/tcp-and-udp-ports-explained/

#14 bloomcounty

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Posted 22 June 2007 - 06:46 PM

Thanks for the links, tos226! I'll check them out. When I try to google stuff, I get explanations that are NOT in layman's terms... I didn't realize Grinler had a tutorial here on it. Neat!
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#15 Animal

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Posted 23 June 2007 - 07:02 PM

Also more information here: How E-mail Works Make sure you look at all 4 sections. Section 3 is full of information.

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A learning experience is one of those things that say, "You know that thing you just did? Don't do that." Douglas Adams (1952-2001)


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