Projects / getmail


getmail is intended as a simple, secure, and reliable replacement for fetchmail. It retrieves email (either all messages, or only unread messages) from one or more POP3, SPDS, or IMAP4 servers (with or without SSL) for one or more email accounts, and reliably delivers into qmail-style Maildirs, mboxrd files, or through external MDAs (command deliveries) specified on a per-account basis. getmail also has excellent support for domain (multidrop) mailboxes, including delivering messages to different users or destinations based on the envelope recipient address.

Operating Systems

Recent releases

  •  19 Mar 2013 07:29

    Release Notes: A bug that could crop up when retrieving mail via IMAP from Gmail, and the Gmail servers provided weird data in their header extensions was fixed.

    •  08 Sep 2012 17:03

      Release Notes: This version retrieves Gmail metadata (labels, thread ID, message ID) via an IMAP extension and records it in new message headers, so it is available to filters or for the user's reference.

      •  21 Jun 2012 14:25

        Release Notes: This release fixes two bugs introduced in 4.29.0: one where BrokenUIDLPOP3Retriever would fail with a TypeError at logout time, and the other where deleted mail was not being expunged from the last (or only) folder retrieved from in an IMAP session.

        •  20 Jun 2012 03:50

          Release Notes: Updates old contact information for the Free Software Foundation. Fixes incorrect character encoding in plain text documentation. Ensures getmail exits non-zero if a server refuses login due to a credential problem.

          •  20 May 2012 18:31

            Release Notes: Makes the use of IMAP BODY.PEEK configurable. Sets the IMAP retriever parameter 'use_peek' to False to disable the use of PEEK to get getmail's historical IMAP behaviour.

            Recent comments

            03 Oct 2007 14:28 jm2

            I have been using fetchmail on IMAP/SSL for 6 years, and noticed that messages occasionnaly disappeared. It did not bother me that much until tonight when it dropped an important email. After googling for a few minutes I found out fetchmail simply discards emails with headers not compliant with RFC 822. getmail does not. getmail is great. Setup takes 2 minutes. Thanks for getmail!

            12 Apr 2006 09:21 age

            good work
            Here's yet another reason to use getmail: for some silly reason fetchmail will not allow you to concurrently retrieve mail from different servers even though by default it just opens a socket connection to port 25 for delivery. Exactly what is being guarded against?

            And aside from all the fetchmail bashing: nice work.

            22 Jun 2005 11:26 reanjr

            getmail as a daemon for maildrop
            Note: fetchmail is crap

            I needed to set up an internal IMAP server for multiple users so I wrote the following script to be run as root (I set it up to run from init.d, where it imported the interval and redirected output to a log file, but this isn't necessary).

            In case someone finds it useful

            #! /bin/bash

            while :


            for i in `ls /home/`;do

            if [ -e /home/$i/.getmail ]; then

            su $i -c getmail



            sleep $1


            Call it as root, passing a parameter specifying the number of seconds between checking email.

            Then just set up a getmailrc file for any user that wants to use it.

            24 Mar 2003 16:22 andrewcooke


            I used to use fetchmail but had problems with both large messages and "incorrect" headers. And when fetchmail has a problem with one message it doesn't seem to get any other mail either.

            It's possible that the large mesage problem was a configuration issue (although I read the docs and believe I configured correctly), but I understand that fetchmail is "famous" for not working if there are inconsistencies in the header.

            With getmail I no longer have problems - it works with large messages (dbase backups) and, apparently, broken headers (one mailing list was unusable 'til I installed getmail). I no longer have to fire up some other POP client to clear out my mailbox every other week.

            My mail config is documented ( in case it's any use to anyone.

            20 Nov 2001 13:31 paj1234

            Re: Why bother
            Multidrop retrieval with fetchmail? I have tried it with Postfix on Red Hat 7.2 but fetchmail seems to have bugs. The best I can manage is either 1) deliver all mail to postmaster or 2) deliver ALL mail to BOTH my local users. Argh. If it is bugs well maybe they can be fixed but I am exhausted and out of patience with it. Getmail looks much better to me so far...


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