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Retrieving Mail with POP3

, 2 Jul 2005 CPOL
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In this article I will demonstrate how to quickly and easily retrieve mail messages using the POP3 protocol.


In this article, I will demonstrate how to quickly and easily retrieve mail messages using the POP3 protocol.

Why Console?

The demo code is a console application. For simple code snippets, I prefer console applications as they are easy to write and focus on the code without the demo being over shadowed by the interface code. All of the code demonstrated here can of course be used in Win Forms, Web Forms, Web service or any other type of applications.

What is Indy?

This demo uses classes from the open source library Indy.Sockets. Indy.Sockets is an open source socket library that supports clients, servers, TCP, UDP, raw sockets, as well as over 100 higher level protocols such as SMTP, POP3, NNTP, HTTP and many more. Indy.Sockets is available for C#, C++, Delphi, Visual Basic. NET, or any .NET language, and Kylix.

The code

try {
    // You will need to set these to your settings.
    // The settings here are settings for a local 
    // demo POP3 server
    // that I use for testing.
    string xHost = "";
    string xUsername = "chad";
    string xPassword = "pass"; 
    using (POP3 xPOP3 = new POP3()) {
        xPOP3.Username = xUsername;
        xPOP3.Password = xPassword;
        int xCount = xPOP3.CheckMessages();
        if (xCount == 0) {
            Console.WriteLine("No messages on account.");
        else {
            Message xMsg = new Message();
            xPOP3.Retrieve(1, xMsg);
            Console.WriteLine("Subject: " + xMsg.Subject);
            Console.WriteLine("From: " + xMsg.From.Text);
            Console.WriteLine("To: " + xMsg.Recipients[0].Text);
        try {
        finally {
catch (Exception e) {
Console.WriteLine("Press enter");

The code is very simple. The POP3 server is connected by using the host, username and the password provided. The CheckMessages method is called to obtain the number of messages in the mailbox. If at least one message exists, the first message is retrieved. Note the use of the Message class this is a special container that parses the mail message and its headers for easy access by the developer. Note the explicit use of the Disconnect method. In TCP protocols it's good to explicitly disconnect and with the POP3 protocol it is especially important as POP3 is transactional. Failing to call Disconnect will cause the POP3 server to rollback any messages deleted during the connection.

Running the demo

It is important to change these lines:

string xHost = "";
string xUsername = "chad";
string xPassword = "pass";

You need to fill in these with the settings for your POP3 server.


Running the demo will produce an output similar to this, if you have a message in your mailbox:

Subject: Hello

Hello, this is a test message.

Press enter.


This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)


About the Author

Chad Z. Hower, a.k.a. Kudzu
"Programming is an art form that fights back"
Formerly the Regional Developer Adviser (DPE) for Microsoft Middle East and Africa, he was responsible for 85 countries spanning 4 continents and 10 time zones. Now Chad is a Microsoft MVP.
Chad is the chair of several popular open source projects including Indy and Cosmos (C# Open Source Managed Operating System).
Chad is the author of the book Indy in Depth and has contributed to several other books on network communications and general programming.
Chad has lived in Canada, Cyprus, Switzerland, France, Jordan, Russia, Turkey, and the United States. Chad has visited more than 60 countries, visiting most of them several times.

Comments and Discussions

GeneralAbout downloading attached file to mail Pinmemberfriendprach8-Oct-09 20:45 
GeneralPlease I need your Help Pinmembervampraider126-Feb-09 15:25 
QuestionUnable to log on PinmemberMember 310841713-Dec-08 9:06 
AnswerRe: Unable to log on PinmemberChad Z. Hower aka Kudzu13-Dec-08 14:00 
QuestionNO Connection Could Be Made Because the Target Machine Actively Refused It Pinmemberoerslaafroze27-Nov-07 6:37 
GeneralMIME Format PinmemberAlan (Engeman)21-Sep-07 1:50 
QuestionAmbiguous reference Pinmembertheplayer0123-Aug-07 12:33 
AnswerRe: Ambiguous reference PinmemberChad Z. Hower aka Kudzu26-Aug-07 11:23 
Use the full namespace to access Message.
Chad Z. Hower, a.k.a. Kudzu
"Programming is an art form that fights back"
My Technical Stuff:
My Blogs:

QuestionNeed Help Pinmemberkanzz2-Aug-07 20:48 
GeneralSample for actual release of Indy.Sockets Pinmembertim.taylor16-Jul-07 3:51 
GeneralMessage body is blank PinmemberPaolo Ramos29-Nov-06 7:18 
GeneralRe: Message body is blank PinmemberChad Z. Hower aka Kudzu29-Nov-06 8:52 
GeneralRe: Message body is blank PinmemberMember 390536329-Nov-08 6:45 
QuestionMessage Dates Pinmemberecs.dp29-Aug-06 5:50 
AnswerRe: Message Dates Pinmemberghiutzu25-Aug-08 3:37 
GeneralSSL PinmemberAMGG7-Aug-06 0:13 
GeneralRe: SSL PinmemberChad Z. Hower aka Kudzu8-Aug-06 0:45 
GeneralRe: SSL PinmemberNiladri Mahapatra9-Apr-07 21:43 
GeneralRe: SSL PinmemberDaniiiii24-Sep-12 22:44 
GeneralRe: SSL Pinmemberalgoram7-Jul-14 1:09 
GeneralRe: SSL PinmemberChad Z. Hower aka Kudzu7-Jul-14 5:17 
GeneralRe: SSL Pinmemberalgoram7-Jul-14 6:16 
GeneralRe: SSL PinmemberChad Z. Hower aka Kudzu7-Jul-14 6:18 
GeneralRe: SSL Pinmemberalgoram7-Jul-14 6:22 
GeneralRe: SSL PinmemberChad Z. Hower aka Kudzu7-Jul-14 6:25 
GeneralRe: SSL Pinmemberalgoram7-Jul-14 6:32 
GeneralFirst Message always empty PinmemberHaggy6-Jul-06 4:00 
GeneralRe: First Message always empty PinmemberChad Z. Hower aka Kudzu6-Jul-06 8:40 
GeneralMIME & VS2005 PinmemberHaggy6-Jul-06 3:49 
QuestionNot working with Yahoo emails Pinmemberboodi_8119-May-06 2:24 
QuestionHow to retrieve only unread messages Pinmembernewbie1318-Apr-06 7:56 
AnswerRe: How to retrieve only unread messages PinmemberChad Z. Hower aka Kudzu20-Apr-06 9:24 
Questionsave Attachment Pinmemberr780920-Feb-06 5:41 
AnswerRe: save Attachment Pinmembernewbie1310-Apr-06 12:24 
QuestionNon-ASCII characters? Pinmembernj0y28-Jan-06 12:24 
QuestionRe: Non-ASCII characters? PinmemberNoClone6-Sep-07 22:27 
Question[urgent]Removing messages from server Pinmemberbhatti8110-Nov-05 2:28 
AnswerRe: [urgent]Removing messages from server Pinmemberlesnikowski21-Dec-05 4:55 
GeneralRe: [urgent]Removing messages from server PinmemberRojano19-Oct-06 7:46 
GeneralRe: [urgent]Removing messages from server Pinmemberlesnikowski19-Oct-06 7:59 
GeneralAttachment Pinmemberniesp4-Oct-05 11:44 
AnswerRe: Attachment Pinmemberdario.cravero12-Apr-06 18:36 
GeneralRe: Attachment Pinmemberidonen28-May-06 7:45 
GeneralRe: Attachment PinmemberSnotKnocker18-Aug-06 12:21 
GeneralRe: Attachment PinmemberSonic.NET19-Sep-06 8:14 
GeneralRe: Attachment PinmemberZorazorius16-Jan-07 1:29 
GeneralRe: Attachment PinmemberMember 38640089-Feb-09 19:43 
GeneralRe: Attachment Pinmemberluciano_lb4-Jul-07 6:32 
GeneralRe: Attachment Pinmemberklughing31-Aug-07 12:59 
Questiondecoding subject and body Pinmemberzangu4-Sep-05 23:44 

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