Is there any command in unix to check a pop3 account using terminal? I mean, type the server/username/password of a pop3 account and see if the username/password is correct?

  • 1
    getmail will also work.
    – sikerbela
    May 6, 2015 at 21:30

3 Answers 3


You can use telnet to connect to the mail server and talk POP3 to check your credentials:

$ telnet pop.gmx.net 110
Connected to pop.gmx.net.
Escape character is '^]'.
+OK POP server ready H migmx028 0MAbjW-1YwF4D0ml8-00BiVl
USER spamaccount80@gmx.de
+OK password required for user "spamaccount80@gmx.de"
PASS typeyourpassword
-ERR Error retrieving your GMX emails. Your connection is not encrypted. Enable SSL in your mail program. Instructions: https://ssl.gmx.net
Connection closed by foreign host.

Well, this failed because most mail server require a SSL/TLS encrypted session nowadays. So instead of using telnet you can use socat:

$ socat - OPENSSL:pop.gmx.net:995
+OK POP server ready H migmx113 0MC062-1Yzese0KO7-00AVNE
USER spamaccount80@gmx.de
+OK password required for user "spamaccount80@gmx.de"
PASS typeyourpassword
+OK mailbox "spamaccount80@gmx.de" has 13518 messages (191718918 octets) H migmx113

If you type a wrong password, the server will probably say something like:

-ERR authentication failed

Or instead of socat you probably have openssl laying around:

$ openssl s_client -quiet -connect pop.gmx.net:995
depth=2 C = DE, O = Deutsche Telekom AG, OU = T-TeleSec Trust Center, CN = Deutsche Telekom Root CA 2
verify error:num=19:self signed certificate in certificate chain
verify return:0
+OK POP server ready H migmx108 0MWpjO-1YiwnK3ZfP-00XoK
  • Might be worth including the command line for plain ol' POP3 without SSL
    – roaima
    May 6, 2015 at 22:44
  • 1
    @roaima Good remark. I've added telnet and openssl examples.
    – FloHimself
    May 7, 2015 at 6:12

If you want to check your pop3 mail accounts then take a look at the following terminal mail clients:

  1. pine
  2. alpine
  3. mutt

There are many more, but those are the most popular ones that I know of.


I suggest mutt. Why?Because support tls and even kerberos for single sign on If use single sign on put on .muttrc

set imap_authenticators="gssapi"

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