What's the deal with IMAP?

Community Manager

Recently HubSpot unveiled an option to connect your inbox to HubSpot through an IMAP connection. This new option, while seemingly the same as a Gmail or Outlook connection, involves information that users may be unfamiliar with. In an effort to not only explain what information is required, but why that information is required (and why we need your help), we have pulled together some information for your reference.

IMAP 1.png



What information do I need?


Unlike connecting your inbox to Gmail or Outlook, you will not be referred to an external site to log into during the IMAP connection process. This is because while HubSpot does not have native integrations with each email service, we are able to use the information from your email server to allow it to connect with HubSpot. Just like you would need to log into your Gmail or Outlook in order to make the connection to HubSpot for the other two integrations, the IMAP connection is going to require you to first input your email address and password for your email provider.

You will notice there are settings that are under “Advanced Options” when connecting your inbox as well. These advanced options include your Incoming Mail Server and Port (IMAP) and Outgoing Mail Server and Port (SMTP). This is where we need your help. HubSpot will attempt to gather this information on your behalf, however IMAP connections involve cooperation by your external email server. For this reason, while HubSpot will do the best it can on the back end to gather this information, our systems are searching external systems for this information. Sometimes this information will not be available for HubSpot to find. This is due to settings from your external email server. In other words, there will be times when your action is required to confirm or gather this information.

imap settings (before connecting).png

I can’t connect my inbox and I want to confirm my server information, where can I find that?


For a starting guide to your ports and servers, here is an article which highlights different ports and servers.


For additional technical requirements when connecting via IMAP, please check out this article.


If you are still struggling to find this information, the best resource is going to be your IT team. They will have access to how mail is processed by your email server, and what ports you are using. It is not out of standard practice to ask your IT team for this information.


Why do I need to go through these steps?


HubSpot is not in the market of making things overly complicated. We want to give you top line products, service, and results without making your life difficult. That is part of the reason we adopted the IMAP connection type for your inboxes. With this step we were able to expand all of the benefits that connected inboxes allows to more users. Those benefits include automatically logging email replies to contact timelines in the CRM, sending emails from contact records in the HubSpot CRM using your own email servers, and taking full advantage of the HubSpot Sales suite of tools (depending on which tools your email client supports).  


The initial setup of a new system can be tiresome, frustrating, and cause you to wonder if it is even worth it. Connecting your email to HubSpot is not dissimilar to connecting your email to your phone. If you have gone through those steps then you may remember the terms IMAP and SMTP, the need for server information, and the need for patience while going through the process. While connecting your email to your cell phone may have tested your patience, the end result of having your inbox at your fingertips was likely worth it.


How an IMAP connection works

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While we cannot answer if every set up is worth it, we can assure you that connecting your inbox to HubSpot is. Finding your ports, confirming you’ve logged in with the proper password, and gathering all of the information may not lead to instant gratification. And that’s okay. HubSpot has the systems and resources in place to help you solve any issues, and ease any pains, that you may run into as you try and connect your inbox. If you work with your Community Moderators (@jsowyrda, @nicolebrenner, and @roisinkirby) we can ensure that we will find an answer and a solution to your question. All we ask is that you provide us with the information we need, along with your patience, in order to help you.


What information will Support (and the Community) need?


Great question! If your IMAP connection isn’t quite right, the first pieces of information that we will be requesting are:


1. A screenshot of your IMAP connection screen (including advanced options)

2. Screenshot of the specific error message you are seeing

3. The Hub ID you are trying to connect your email to. Instructions on how to find this here.

4. Confirmation that you have taken the following steps:

Note: if you have not taken these steps, please do so before posting your question. We will not be able to proceed with troubleshooting until this information is confirmed.

  • Manually input your email address and password (as opposed to them automatically populating)
  • Manually input your server and port information
  • Confirmed your email and password are correct
  • Confirmed the ports and servers with your email provider (this step isn't required before trying to connect, however if the auto-populated ports push back an error message, you should reach out to your email provider for this information before posting in the community). 


How should I post my IMAP question or issue?


Because every IMAP connection is unique (again, everyone has different usernames, passwords, and sometimes ports and servers), it will be best to start a new thread in the IMAP Setup board and provide the information mentioned above. You can tag myself ( @jennysowyrda) along with @roisinkirby@nicolebrenner, and @edjusten and one of us will reach out with next steps.


Thank you for your cooperation and we look forward to working with you to resolve any issues you’re experiencing.



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