Can't get your e-mail working with BT Broadband?

October 2011

Please note I don't work for BT. There's no point writing or calling me to complain about your broadband service, or to ask me what your password is. The BT Broadband (and BT Yahoo!) help line is on 0800 111 4567 or here or here. I have written these pages to help BT customers simply because they seem to have a hard time getting this information out of BT.

Older versions of this page.

This page applies to home users1 with BT Broadband and BT Total Broadband and similar products from BT. Business users will often have BT Business Broadband which is a different product and for which different mail arrangements apply. If you have been given a BTConnect mail address (such as someone@btconnect.com) you are a BT Business Broadband customer and this page does not apply to you. Contact me if you need help, or see my BT Business Broadband page.

If you have BT Broadband (this is not necessarily the same as having broadband on a BT line) you can set up Outlook or Outlook Express or similar programs to send and receive e-mail. But for this to work, you must have a BT Yahoo! account. This is normally set up by BT when your broadband order is processed, and BT should have told you your Yahoo! username and password. This will be in the form someone@btinternet.com or someone@btopenworld.com and is not the same thing as your ADSL logon password (which may look like someone@btbroadband.com). Nov 7th 2008: I had had recent reports that BT has started using BT Yahoo! logon details as the ADSL logon, so I suppose it's possible that some people may have valid ADSL logon details which end in @btinternet.com. Very confusing.

Note that the login name for your broadband line (example: someone@btbroadband.com) is not an e-mail address, and will not work as one. (But see above.)

First log in to BT Yahoo!2 and check that your BT Yahoo! login name and password actually work. There are lots of help pages there to show you how to set up your e-mail program. See, for example, this.

To set up a BT Internet account with Outlook 2010, see my page here.

In summary:

  • The POP3 server (incoming mail) is mail.btinternet.com
  • The SMTP server (outgoing mail) is also mail.btinternet.com
  • Both need your BT Yahoo! email address and password; you will have to tell your e-mail program that the SMTP server requires authentication.
  • The SMTP server can use either port 25 or port 587.
The most common fault is to provide your ADSL username and password when your BT Yahoo! username and password is what's required.

 

Want to keep an e-mail address from a previous supplier (such as Freeserve/Wanadoo)?

BT's version of this section.

If you've got a non-BT e-mail address which you want to keep using (possibly from a previous supplier) you'll need to set up your e-mail program to receive incoming e-mail from the non-BT address, but to send outgoing e-mail via BT Broadband. There are two stages to setting up your outgoing e-mail:

  1. You need to authenticate yourself to the BT outgoing mail server with your BT Yahoo! username and password, as above. I've produced some some screenshots showing how to do the above for Outlook Express and Outlook 2003. E-mail me if you need more advice.
  2. Even when authenticated, BT Broadband's outgoing mail servers will not normally allow you to send e-mail which looks as if it comes from a non-BT e-mail address (technically, BT's SMTP mail server checks your FROM: headers). You have to tell BT in advance what non-BT addresses you want BT to allow. Here's how [screenshots]:
    1. Check you have a BT Yahoo! account (see above). Free for BT Broadband users. Note the e-mail address and password.
    2. In Outlook or Outlook Express (or whatever you normally use for e-mail) make sure you can receive mail to your Freeserve (or whatever) e-mail address. Don't worry yet about being able to send from it.
    3. Log in to BT Yahoo! and and set up an "account" for your Freeserve address as shown in the screenshots above.
    4. Check your Freeserve e-mail. You should receive an email from yahoo-account-services-uk@cc.yahoo-inc.com with subject "Verify this email address" — open it and click on the "verify" link provided.
    5. Back in your mail program such as Outlook or Outlook Express, edit the settings for your Freeserve account in your mail program. Change only the SMTP settings. Make the SMTP server mail.btinternet.com
    6. Tell your e-mail program that the SMTP server requires authentication, and use the BT Yahoo! e-mail address and password you used in step 1 (above) as the username and password for authentication.
    7. The SMTP server can use either port 25 or port 587.
    8. Note you may have to do something to keep your old e-mail address from expiring. Some ISPs require you to dial up (using a conventional, non-broadband, modem) and log in to your account once every three months or so. Freeserve accounts and Wanadoo accounts are now owned by Orange, and Orange currently (November 2007) "expire" such accounts after 219 days and delete them after 259 days (which has caused some problems). You can reactivate an expired account by following my instructions here; a deleted account is gone forever. A much better solution is to get your own domain name; it's quite cheap and will mean the e-mail address you use is no longer tied to any particular ISP. Contact me to arrange this or for more details.

Too hard?

If you live in Surrey, Berkshire, Middlesex, or parts of London, I'd be happy to visit and sort all this out for you, for a small fee (typically £40). See my website or e-mail me.

If you live anywhere else, it may be possible for me to "remote control" your PC to set this up, for a small fee (typically £30). Again, e-mail me to arrange this.

 



Notes:

1 This whole process only affects some users; trouble is, even if it doesn't affect you today, it might affect you tomorrow. It's attracted some press comment.

2 BT Yahoo! users can log in through the Yahoo! UK logon screen (or indeed the American version) and vice versa. Yahoo! has at least two different interfaces, plus the older "classic" interface, and BT has customised versions of all three, and also users can personalise their menu layout. Add to this the fact the Yahoo are forever tinkering with things, and you get a situation where it becomes very hard to predict what the wording and layout of various options will be for any user. So some users will find that Mail Accounts is actually called Mail Settings or Mail Addresses, and Options may be a simple link or a drop down-down list from which one then has to choose Mail Options and then Accounts. Finally, some users will get an apology that the system is reverting to "classic" menus, and will then have to choose Add or edit an account. This page reflects things as they were on 16th November 2010.

3 There is in fact a whole other set of e-mail addresses for each BT account at My Accout | My Account & Billing | View/Edit Contact Information | Yahoo! alternat email addresses - Edit. This seems to be the list that is actually used for SMTP verification, and if an account is here (and verified) it can send outgoing mail via mail.btinternet.com, whether or not it appears in the approved accounts describe above. Putting an e-mail address in the approved list, as descriped above, seems to insert it here as well, but the list here can also be separately edited. Quite why BT or Yahoo! have made such a maze of this isn't quite clear to me!



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