How to Activate IMAP or SMTP Access in Your ProtonMail Account

ProtonMail is a relatively newer email service that focuses on the privacy and security of the email users. They encrypt all the email messages and keep them all in very safe servers. Because of their focus on security and new innovative approach towards email messaging, it has gained some popularity in the recent months.

Unlike other email service providers, they do not provide direct access to the IMAP or SMTP protocols for your email account. You have to first enable IMAP/SMTP and then install ProtonMail Bridge application on your computer. This Bridge software is actually a local mail server that uses very strong encryption to encrypt or decrypt email messages on your computer. Both of these features are available only to the paid users.

Here is how you can enable IMAP and SMTP access in your ProtonMail account:

  1. In your web browser visit and login to your ProtonMail account.
  2. Near the top-right corner of the ProtonMail web interface, click on the Settings icon. Alternatively, you can also visit in your web browser directly.Enable IMAP in ProtonMail Account
  3. On the settings page for ProtonMail, select IMAP/SMTP section from the left sidebar.
  4. Click on the Activate button to activate IMAP and SMTP access for your account.Enable IMAP in ProtonMail Account
  5. This is it, now you have activated IMAP/SMTP access for your ProtonMail account.

In order to setup ProtonMail with any of the popular email clients such as Microsoft Outlook, Mozilla Thunderbird or The Bat!, you must install ProtonMail Bridge on your computer. It is an encryption software that encrypts messages locally on your computer as they leave your computer (when you send an email message) and decrypts them (when you receive messages).

The process involves installing ProtonMail Bridge on your computer, adding your ProtonMail account to ProtonMail Bridge and finally configuring your email clients to access the ProtonMail Bridge server. Since it is running on your local computer, both the IMAP and SMTP servers are with different ports. These settings will be auto-detected in case of modern email clients like Mozilla Thunderbird.