When I try to send a mail, I get the following error:

gnutls_handshake: An unexpected TLS packet was received.

This is my .muttrc (myname, myaddress and mymail are placeholders):

# Automatically log in to this mailbox at startup
set imap_user="myname"
set imap_pass=""
set spoolfile="imaps://imap.myaddress/Inbox"
set folder="imaps://imap.myaddress/Inbox"
set record="=Sent"
set postponed="=Drafts"

# define how to send mails
set smtp_url="smtps://$imap_user:[email protected]:587"

# activate TLS if available on the server
set ssl_starttls=yes

# always use SSL when connecting to a server
set ssl_force_tls=yes

# wait to enter mailbox manually
set imap_passive

# Automatically poll subscribed mailboxes for new mail (new in 1.5.11)
set imap_check_subscribed

# Reduce polling frequency to a sane level
set mail_check=60

# And poll the current mailbox more often (not needed with IDLE in post 1.5.11)
#set timeout=10

# keep a cache of headers for faster loading (1.5.9+?)
#set header_cache=~/.hcache

# Display download progress every 5K
set net_inc=5

# Cancel a message when subject is blank
set abort_nosubject=yes

# Set default editor
set editor="gvim -v"

# Asks to include message when replying
set include=ask-yes

# Asks to postpone a message when not sent
set postpone=ask-yes

# Ask before printing
set print=ask-yes

# set from to ensure mutt doesn't put [email protected] 
set from="myemail"
set use_from=yes
set envelope_from="yes"
  • Possibly an incompatibility with the server. It's going to be difficult to answer this without knowing the server. Can you try with accounts at other providers (e.g. create a throwaway Gmail address)? Mar 1, 2013 at 23:40
  • I have had this problem and for some reason it seems to work OK on port 465.
    – user43185
    Jul 16, 2013 at 21:08

1 Answer 1


When using smtp submission on port 587, the value for smtp_url should start with "smtp://", i.e. not with "smtps://". It is also important to make sure ssl_starttls is set to "yes", as correctly done in the config above.

While setting up my own server I got the exact same problem. Having access to logs on both the client & the server side, made it obvious that it surely was a client side issue.

A config option starting with smtps tells mutt to open a ssl encrypted connection to the server. However the server is expecting a clear text smtp session which transfers to become encrypted as soon as the client & server have done some negotiation.

  • 2
    If I am right about this (just tested), the same is valid for the set folder="imaps:// entry. It should be set folder="imap:. For example: set folder = "imap://mail.domain.ext:143/". Feb 17, 2016 at 12:56
  • @NikosAlexandris Please note: imap (143), imaps (993), smtp (25), smtps (465). While it is possible to run starttls towards some imap servers, imap typically has nothing corresponding to smtp submission (587).
    – sampi
    Feb 1, 2020 at 23:23
  • 2021 ( Ubuntu Focal Fossa ) - smtps:// -> smtp:// for port 587. Thanks !!!
    – MarcoZen
    Apr 18, 2021 at 3:45

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