Sending or viewing emails using telnet

  • Applies to: All Service Types
    • Difficulty: Easy
    • Time Needed: 10
    • Tools Required: Email account

Last modified: March 10, 2020


When troubleshooting email issues, it may be useful to read or send emails from your server directly using an smtp command through the telnet application. This guide shows some basic steps to send an email from your server and how to check your email using telnet.

Before you start

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This article assumes that you know how to get to a command prompt on your computer. If you need help with this please see our article Using telnet.

Windows Users

You may need to install the Telnet Client to run telnet commands. To do so:

  1. Click Start and select Control Panel.
  2. Select Programs and Features.
  3. Select Turn Windows features on or off.
  4. Select the Telnet Client option.


  5. Click OK.
  6. A dialog box will appear to confirm installation.

How to send email using telnet

The following article will be using the domain,, for reference. When following these instructions, be sure to replace this with your own domain.

  1. Open your command prompt.
  2. Now, connect with telnet using the following command:
    telnet 25
  3. Type ehlo Some servers also accept helo in place of ehlo.
  4. Type mail from:
    mail from:
  5. Type rcpt to:, (replace with your actual recipient name):
    rcpt to:,
  6. To write the message - type data, followed by your subject and message. To end the message, put a period on a line by itself and press enter:
    Subject: My Telnet Test Email
    This is an email sent by using the telnet command.
    Your friend,
  7. Type quit to exit telnet.

How to check or read email with telnet

  1. Open your command prompt.
  2. At the command prompt, type in
    telnet 110
  3. Type user and the email address ( of the user for which you wish to view emails:
  4. Then type in pass followed by your password:
    pass yourpasswordgoeshere
  5. Type list to bring up a list of your emails:
  6. You will see a list of items with labels like "1 897" and "2 5136." Here is an example:
    +OK POP3 clients that break here, they violate STD53.
    1 897
    2 5136
    3 1884
    4 2973
    5 2595
    6 3063
    7 3509
    8 2283
    9 1926
    10 2763
    11 1795
    12 2780
    13 2342
    14 2342
    15 2342
    16 3833
    17 2211
    18 793
    19 797
    20 2599
  7. If you wish to read an email message such as 2 5136, you can type the following:
    retr 2 
  8. If you want to delete a message such as 1 897, type dele 1:
    dele 1
  9. When you are done checking your email, type quit.


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