General Information

On which server is my e-mail account located?

For retrieval via web browser as well as for the configuration of mail clients, it is a prerequisite to know on which mail server your mailbox is located. The current productive GWDG mail server is Exchange 2016.

Retrieval via web server

The retrieval via the web interface is possible from any browser (e.g. Safari, Firefox, Chrome, Opera). The direct link is: Exchange 2016

To log in, it is necessary to specify the domain. The full username is: GWDG\userid

Retrieval via mail client (POP3 vs IMAP vs Exchange)

There are different ways to retrieve emails from the GWDG account. At this point we would like to give a brief overview of the advantages and disadvantages of the different options.


POP3 is an older, more limited transmission protocol for retrieving mail. The mails are stored locally in your particular e-mail program. Depending on the settings, copies of the emails are left on the server.

Copies on the server have the advantage, that there is still a backup online of locally stored messages. However, if different computers (e.g. at work and at home) are used, new emails are downloaded twice (so they need to be marked again as read, sorted, deleted, etc.).

We explicitly advise against using the POP3 protocol, and thus don't give instructions!


Using the IMAP protocol, the computer has direct access to the information on the server. This has several advantages: First, it is - especially when using different computers - helpful to find the current state of the mailbox on any device. The folder structure, including sent emails, drafts, etc., is stored on the server and is available from all clients as well as web access.

A second advantage is that through this principle, emails are saved on the server and remain available even with computer failure or loss of data.

The client serves as a mirror to the mailbox on the server. Most programs feature a special setting for the mails to remain available offline.


Beyond that the Exchange servers provide the MAPI protocol. The main advantages over the IMAP protocol are:

  • Synchronization of calendars, tasks, contacts and notes
  • Mobile email retrieval via Microsoft Direct Push Technology
  • Global Address Book
  • Server-side filter definition

Default folders - the problem with multiple folders

An often-confusing phenomenon under IMAP is the existence of multiple folders with the same or a similar name. The reason for this is that every mail client and webmail application has certain default folders (Sent Items, Drafts, Trash, etc.). Regardless of how their are named in the program itself, they have a “real name” under which they are transferred in synchronization with IMAP. As a result, there are not only several program-specific default folders, but different folders are stored on the server, depending on which program you used to edit the mails.

For example, Thunderbird uses the folder “Sent” for sent mail, while Outlook and OWA use the folder “Sent Items“. Apple Mail (on OS X and iOS) is able to adopt these default folders via Exchange. With an IMAP connection it creates the default Sent Messages folder by itself. Especially for those who use different clients simultaneously, or in case of functional accounts used by several people with different programs, this can be confusing.

In Apple Mail, the default mailbox folders can be defined under Accounts → “Use this mailbox as”.

In Thunderbird you can change the default trash under Account Settings → Server Settings in the drop after the item “When you delete a message: Move to this folder ”. Under → copies and folders you can then adjust the default folder for sent items, drafts and templates.

This website uses cookies. By using the website, you agree with storing cookies on your computer. Also you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Privacy Policy. If you do not agree leave the website.More information about cookies