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

For infomation 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 your NCF email address, be sure to tell us, using Change Preferences at the bottom-right of the StartPage. NCF needs to be able to reach you about your account.

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 allows your email 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 is that your mail is only accessible while you are at your own computer.

In the past personal computer-based mail clients were dominant, but in recent years the trend has been away from mail clients and towards server-based webmail, because of the convenience of being able to access the mail from any browser anywhere, even from phones and hand-held devices, as well as automatic back-ups.

Maximum Message Size

The NCF mail system currently allows for messages as large as 45MB to be received. Files sent by email however, are larger in transit as they must be encoded for transport. You may expect the largest size of file you can therefore safely receive to be about 40MB.

If you wish to send larger files, however, there is a better way. The email system at NCF is called Zimbra, which includes a feature called the 'Briefcase', which allows for file storage and sharing. You can upload a file into your Briefcase and then share that file with any number of recipients without any of the limitations inherent in sending messages in encoded email messages.

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 and clicking on 'Get your NCF WebMail'. There is nothing to install on your computer.

Up to 1000 MB of email can be accumulated and stored in your WebMail Inbox and folders, as of early 2017. 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.

Mail readers (mail clients)

Some common current mail readers, all available for download free of charge, are:

If you do not have a mail reader, you can download one for free. Once it is installed on your computer, you need to configure it so it knows from where to retrieve/send your email.


  • Microsoft Outlook Express is very outdated, has serious security problems, is no longer supported by Microsoft and is not recommended by NCF. See this article for more detail on why you should replace it.
  • Microsoft Outlook is commercial software and comes with Microsoft Office.

Setting up a 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.

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:

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.

See also