Sunday, December 14, 2008

Transfer emails from yahoo mail to gmail

This is one of the main reasons why many people would have not moved yet to gmail. There are a number of easy and stupid ways like sending each mail to your gmail account (even a kid would suggest this). Thats apparently not just cumbersome but also all mails will show up in gmail as if it was sent by you -- not by the real sender --- ooops, this is unacceptable.

An acceptable way to transfer the emails is to get a POP3/iMAP server for ymail. Unfortunately and unsurprisingly this is not provided for yahoo mail "free" users. period. When I had almost given up hope on this transfer, I came across the savior -- YPOPs!. This software is a pop3 server for yahoo mail, and does the job neatly by talking to yahoo mail servers over HTTP as if it is a browser request. Now this job is not as easy at sounds, as this software has to be re-written every time yahoo changes its pages. One great soul worth mentioning Anul Seth has taken the burden of doing this, and still continuing to adopt to the changes in ymail.

There you go! Just install ymail pops server, bind it your external IP, configure a secondary account in gmail (Settings -> Accounts -> Add another mail account) with your yahoo email address, your external IP as POP3 server and you are all set to download the emails to your gmail account. The ypops server also allows you to download individual folders. All you need to do is just create filters in gmail to label your incoming mails accordingly. Beautiful!

the over all flow is like this:

gmail ---- > your machine (ypops server via POP3) ---> yahoo mail server (via HTTP)

Remember that you need to have an external/public IP address (not necessarily static) on your PC for this to work.

Few glitches:
  • Some of mails were delivered twice in gmail. Not sure why -- but it wasn't difficult to track them and delete.
  • Sometimes, the connection breaks in between. But reasonable enough, ypops maintains the state, and resumes from the correct email on the next retry.
  • gmail does not show any useful progress about the action. Moreover, no new mails appear in your gmail box until gmail downloads all the mails or the connection with your POP3 disrupts. ypops has the option to show progress (disabled by default), which is handy to know the status (if you know a bit of POP3 protocol it would help to follow the progress easily).
  • And do not forget to check the option 'leave a copy the mails in the server' -- otherwise, the mails will be deleted from your ymail box after they are downloaded.


  1. Hi naveen,

    Yahoo pop3 access is free for IN, UK accounts. Its only restricted for US accounts I guess.


  2. Thanks for the info.

    I just confirmed what you said is true (atleast for accounts).

    Mine was a .com account, so didn't notice that it was withdrawn only for .com