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Email draft

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?? Note that this is a draft replacement of the Email page

This page provides some basic information about NCF email, how it works and how to configure it and related tools.

For information on using the Zimbra webmail system, please see Zimbra.

Sending and receiving email

Email Quick Configuration Info

Mail server:mail.ncf.ca
Username:(your NCF ID, eg., ab123)
Password:(your NCF account password)
Incoming mail:
IMAP Port:(SSL) Port 993
POP-3 Port:(SSL) Port 995
Outgoing mail:
Submission: (TLS and starttls) Port 587
SMTPS: (SSL-legacy) Port 465

General information

NCF provides every member with a personal email address. NCF email addresses are simply a member's account ID (eg., 'ab123') followed by '@ncf.ca', for example, 'ab123@ncf.ca'.

Optionally, you can arrange for an email alias, for example, 'jsmith@ncf.ca'.

Important: If you already have an email address and do not plan to use or regularly check messages to your NCF email address, be sure to tell us. NCF needs to be able to reach you about your account. You can do this by using the Preferences link in the Account box. This used to be at Change Preferences at the bottom-right of the old StartPage.

Receiving mail

Incoming email for you is stored on NCF's computer until you ask for it. There are two ways to receive email:

Using NCF WebMail (browser-based)
All you need to use WebMail is a web browser connected to the internet (eg., home, office, library, internet cafe, anywhere in the world via internet). No set-up is required. You read and send mail from the browser using the Zimbra interface and your mail is stored on an NCF computer. With WebMail, your email stays on the computers at NCF and is backed up there, too, to protect against loss.
A disadvantage of using WebMail is that you have to stay connected to the internet while you are reading and composing your email.
Using an email client (on your personal computer)
Email client software can provide more features in working with email and can often provide important extra features:
  • calendars
  • access to multiple email accounts at once so messages can be organized for efficient management
  • access to news feeds
  • encrypted and signed emails

An email client allows messages to be transferred to your computer and then read there. The size of your mail archive can be as large as your hard drive.

A disadvantage under some choices in setting up the email is that your mail is only accessible while you are at your own computer. Most email providers, including NCF, offer both POP (Post Office Protocol) and IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol) choices when setting up an email client. In general terms
  • POP, when the email client connects to the mail server, e.g., mail.ncf.ca, downloads all the current messages into the local computer, then deletes them. This means the messages are only available on the local computer. No backup. Some email services do allow "leave mail on the server" under POP, but NCF recommends using IMAP unless you have carefully examined such features.
  • IMAP leaves messages on the server until they are deleted. Some services even make it quite difficult to truly delete messages. However, most modern email clients download the messages to your local machine so they can be read offline i.e., while not connected to the internet. This is the choice NCF recommends when using an email client.

Caveat: Some email services use other protocols. In particular, Microsoft 365 (O365 protocol) is used by many organizations such as the University of Ottawa. While interface software exists to make the use of O365 more or less transparent, this requires the organization to activate that software. In the case of uOttawa, for example, the choice was made to only activate the interface for Linux users on the Evolution email client.

Zimbra Limits at NCF

There are several limits you may encounter in your use of Zimbra.

  1. Mail storage size - members are allocated 5GB of storage. This contains all the mail and briefcase data. Members must manage their space within that limit. See how to check your storage space.
  2. Mail message size - the maximum message size allowed is 50MB. The actual file size of the attachments is 20-30% less due to the encoding is required to send it via email. If you have large files that you wish to share, there are a number of other file sharing approaches that may be better than attachments. One of those is using the Zimbra Briefcase - see Zimbra: Briefcase.
  3. Sending rate - NCF limits the rate at which members can send out email to protect against spamming. A limit of 200 messages over a 4 hour span is in place. If you have large distribution lists that will exceed this, please contact the office - we have a solution.

NCF Webmail

NCF Webmail allows you to compose, send, receive and manage your email using any browser. It is the easiest way to send and receive email while you are away from home. Your mail stays on the NCF's mail server. To use it, all you need is a web browser and connection to the Internet.

You can try WebMail by going to the StartPage then either clicking on 'Email` in the banner line below the NCF logo or on `NCF Webmail' in the Email box lower on the page. There is nothing to install on your computer as long as you have a reasonably modern web browser like Firefox, Chrome or Safari.

Up to 5GB of email can be accumulated and stored in your WebMail Inbox and folders. NCF's storage capacity increases regularly as facilities are upgraded.

The NCF Webmail system runs the Zimbra mail system. For an overview of the benefits of Zimbra, please visit the Introducing Zimbra page.

For specific and detailed help on all things Zimbra, visit the Zimbra Help Page.

The Zimbra webmail interface offers a number of extra features, in particular, a calendar service and a briefcase for file upload, access and storage.

Mail Clients (Mail readers)

Some common current mail clients, all available for download free of charge, and with at least a free-use option, are:

  • Microsoft Outlook https://www.microsoft.com/en-ca/microsoft-365/outlook/email-and-calendar-software-microsoft-outlook is available for Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android (but not Linux). Only the non-free versions say "Ad-free". On most email services there is likely a webmail version for users on different operating systems. Outlook has generally been pre-installed with the Windows operating system. NCF members should watch to avoid unwanted opt-in to paid features.
  • Mozilla Thunderbird https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/thunderbird Thunderbird is a free and open-source email client with a great many features. If there is a complaint it is that there are so many choices and options, and accessing them may require some investigation or help.
  • Evolution email client https://riseup.net/en/email/clients/evolution While developed for the GNOME Linux environment, there is also a Windows version. It is claimed that this is the only non-Microsoft email client to work out of the box with the O365 protocol. Much like Thunderbird, it has many features and options.

If you decide to use an email client to read and send email, you need to make sure it is installed on your computer and configured for your particular email accounts. That is, the email software needs to know where to retrieve/send your email.


  • If you are considering using POP rather than IMAP protocol see What's the difference between POP and IMAP?.
  • If you use an email client, incoming messages for which you have set up sorting rules in your YellowMail Sorting Rules (Email / Yellow Mail/ Sorting Rules) will appear with warnings in the subject line.

??? Previously said they would not be displayed. Is new statement correct. JN???

Setting up a Mail Client or Mail Reader

Modern mail readers are pretty easy to set up. Typically you just need some of the information in the 'Quick Facts' box above. You may also need to have information on how your calendar is accessed as well as any special feeds for news or chat to which the email client can interface.

For step-by-step instructions, click on your mail reader below:

Step-by-step instruction for popular mail readers:

Step-by-step instructions for older mail readers, still in use on some systems:

For information on whether you should set up your reader for POP or IMAP see What's the difference between POP and IMAP?.

Keep in mind if you use an email client that it will not retrieve your yellow mail that the spam filter saves there for you.

I can receive email, but I can't send! (Relay Access Denied)

If your mail account appears to be setup correctly, but you are having trouble sending, it could be that you don't have SSL and authentication enabled.

Step-by-step instructions to update or confirm that your account is correctly configured for SSL and authentication:

Spam Reduction

Customizing SpamFilter

Regardless of how you read your mail, you can use NCF's SpamFilter if you have problems with spam.

You can view or change your SpamFilter settings by going to the StartPage, and clicking on SpamFilter set-up under 'Email' in the left column. There is information on that page about how SpamFilter works and Frequently Asked Questions on customizing SpamFilter.

There is also a short video on setting SpamFilter options.

Blocking Specific Email Addresses

Spam can be difficult to stop as spammers are relentless, and can often send messages from many different emails, making it much more difficult to stop.

If the undesirable messages you are receiving are coming from the same address, it would be best to add a mail exception on your spam filtering page here to ensure the offending address is blocked from sending you mail in the future.

Simply enter the offending email into the “Email address” bar and enter “Classification” as “Red” to ensure this address will be marked as spam and not be delivered to your mailbox in the future.

Using Yellow Mail

NCF provides a facility to screen mail items that your SPAM filter settings have found questionable before the mail enters your Zimbra inbox. This is called yellow mail. You can see a short video [here] on how to use it.

See also