E-Mail and Optimum Online — Updated With Response From OOL

[Looking for iPhone settings and Optimum Online?  Click here.  ]

[Looking for POP/SMTP settings?  Incoming and Outgoing Servers are both:  mail.optonline.net.  Scroll down for the outgoing settings.]

Update: Here it is, response straight from Optimum:

Thank you for contacting Optimum Online regarding your question about email. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you and will be happy to assist.  I do apologize, apart from normal unencrypted POP/SMTP there is no SSL option at this time to encrypt your connections.”

Sorry guys, that’s it.  Nothing about any if/when they might include it, or any hint of a plan to include it at all.  Unfortunate.  [/Update]

I get a lot of hits on my post here about the iPhone Mail and Optimum Online, so I figured I’d write a post on regular old computer mail as well.

The problem basically is that Optimum doesn’t allow SSL connections to their servers, either outgoing or incoming. They only allow secure log-in to their servers through HTTPS port 443 on their Optimum Webmail Portal.  I currently have a question in to them about using SSL with third party applications and am awaiting a response.  You see, on 1xRTT or 2G EDGE, it is still quite fast to download e-mails through your phone.  But in order to pass encrypted information, you would need to access your e-mail through your phone’s browser of choice (Safari on the iPhone, in my case.)

This problem extends to your mail application regardless of operating system.  I will show you how to set up an email address using Optimum Online through Mail on OS X.

Mail, helpful application it wants to be, will automatically check your connection settings when you type in your name and email address.  Poor Mail, though, fails miserably at connecting via SSL, and asks you if you’s like to continue, or setup your account manually.

So, to start setting up your e-mail (if you don’t yet have one setup through OOL, you can do so here) first open Mail.  Then open preferences with ⌘-, (holding ⌘ and pressing comma.)

Mail Preferences

Mail Preferences

This brings you to your account page, where you will begin setting up your new account.  I am using Mail on Snow Leopard, but the steps to follow are similar enough in Leopard and Tiger for you to follow along. Click on the “Accounts” tab in the top of the window, which brings you to this screen:

Accounts Pane

Accounts Pane

Once there, click on the “+” button to add your new account.  Mail will ask you for your Full Name, User Name, and Password, and then try to automatically set you up with the correct servers:

Add Account Screen

Add Account Screen

Click continue, and Mail will tell you it cannot connect securely to the servers:

Mail Password Security Warning

Mail Password Security Warning

Click “Setup Manually” so you can adjust the account settings, and begin sending and receiving your mail.  Using Optimum, you are going to setup a POP mailbox, and both your incoming and outgoing mail servers are mail.optonline.net :

Incoming Settings

Incoming Settings

Click continue, and then you want to disable the SSL by unchecking the “Use Secure Sockets Layer (SSL)” check box, but still have “Authentication” set to “Password”:

Uncheck SSL

Uncheck SSL

Click Continue, and you will be brought to the outgoing server section.  Enter a description for the server, which is something you will use to identify it in Mail.  It has no other significance.  Check the box that says “Use only this server”, as well as “Use Authentication”.  Enter in your username without the “@optonline” or “@optimum” ending, as well as your password:

Outgoing Setup

Outgoing Setup

You will then be told, once again, Mail cannot connect securely to the server.  Again, click “Setup Manually”, which takes you to here:

Outgoing Security

Outgoing Security

Leave these settings intact, and click “Continue”.  You will be shown an Account Summary screen, and both incoming and outgoing mail should say SSL off.  Be sure the “Take Account Online” box at the bottom is checked, and click “Create”.

I am waiting to hear back from Optimum about a different port or setting allowing SSL connections via third party mail clients, and hopefully I just couldn’t find the correct port to use.  If not, here’s to hoping they are working on getting SSL enabled soon!