Thunderbird Installation & Configuration - Featured Image

Thunderbird – Installation & Configuration

In Applications, System Administration & Devops by Željko JaguštLeave a Comment

There used to be a saying that 90% of all internet traffic is email (of which most of it is considered spam). I don't know if it's still relevant today, but the fact still stands; we all use email. Smart ones will use one of many email services available in the cloud, like Gmail, Microsoft Outlook, and similar. They are even suitable for business. Yet, there are cases where you will need a client to access your email, and Thunderbird is one of the most common and widely used ones. 


As mentioned above, many services will provide you with free and reliable email service. The ones like Gmail and Microsoft Outlook Live will even offer business support. You will be able to register your private or business domain with them and use that instead of standard suffixes (i.e., You will also have many options regarding security, spam protection, message filtering, and others.

While that all sounds great, there are situations where an old-school email client like Thunderbird will be required. For instance, you may get a job at a company with its email server, and Thunderbird is the only allowed client. Usually, a system administrator will install and configure it for you in such an environment. But you may be a small business owner where you need to do it yourself. Or, you may even configure your Gmail account to work with Thunderbird. We will show you how to install and configure Thunderbird yourself in the rest of this article.

Thunderbird - Download & Install

We will cover installation and configuration on both Windows and Linux systems, respectively Windows 11 and Ubuntu Linux, since those are the ones we use. We will also try and simplify the guide as much as we can. While Thunderbird is available through the Ubuntu Software Center application, that is not the case with Windows and its Microsoft Store application. But don't worry, we will show you how to install it manually.

Windows 11 Installation

As mentioned earlier in this guide, Mozilla Thunderbird is unavailable in the Microsoft Store application. So, to get it, fire up any web browser you use and go to the Thunderbird website. As soon as you open the site, you should see a download button. Click on it, and the download should start automatically. Save the file in your default download location (usually the Downloads folder on MS Windows).

Once the download is complete, locate the file and double-click on it to start the installation. The installation itself is pretty straightforward, so you can click the Next button until the installation is complete.

Ubuntu Installation

On Ubuntu, a user can install Thunderbird from the Ubuntu Software application. You can start Ubuntu Software by clicking on the All Applications button on the sidebar of your main screen. From there, please type Ubuntu Software in the search bar. Once the application icon pops up, click on it to start Ubuntu Software.
In the Ubuntu Software app, click on the Search button, and once the search bar is displayed, type in Thunderbird. The search will start automatically, and the Thunderbird Mail app will pop up as the first result:
Ubuntu 20.04 Recommended Apps - Thunderbird Mail
Thunderbird Installation & Configuration - Thunderbird
Once you click on Thunderbird Mail, a new window will open. There, please click on the Install button to install the application. When prompted, please enter your password (the one you use to log in). Once you do, the installation will start:
Ubuntu 20.04 Recommended Apps - Thunderbird Install
Thunderbird Installation & Configuration - Thunderbird Install
You should have the Thunderbird email client successfully installed on your system if all goes well.

Email Account Setup

With Thunderbird installed, you can now set up your email account. Before you can continue, you will require some data like your actual email address, account username, password, incoming and outgoing server addresses, etc. We will go over everything in the next section.


To successfully set up your email account, you will require some data provided to you by your email provider, or you will find that data on your provider's website.  The data required is the following:
  • Email Address

    Your actual email address in the form of [email protected] or similar.

  • Username

    You account username (usually, it's the same as email address).

  • Password

    You account password.

  • Incoming/Outgoing Server

    The adresses (FQDN) of your incoming (POP3/IMAP) and outgoing (SMTP) mail servers.

  • Server Ports

    Listening ports of your incoming and outgoing servers. Port 110 is the default for POP3, port 143 is the default for IMAP, and port 25 is the default for SMTP.

  • SSL and Authentication Type

    A security based options, of which, at least your password is used for authentication. SSL gives an extra layer of security and options are SSL/TLS/STARTTLS.

Once you have all the data required, you can proceed with your account setup.

Thunderbird Account Setup

Once you gathered all the data from the list above, you can fire up the Thunderbird and start with the setup.
As soon as Thunderbird starts, the Account Setup tab will open. You will need to enter your full name, email address, and password. If you click on the Continue button at this point, Thunderbird will create your account. Gmail is a well-known service, and Thunderbird will "pull" all the data required for account setup automatically. But for the sake of this guide, please click on Configure Manually:
Thunderbird Installation & Configuration - Account Setup
Thunderbird Installation & Configuration - Account Setup
Once you click on Configure Manually, scroll down to the bottom of the tab and click on Advanced config:
Thunderbird Installation & Configuration - Advanced Config
Thunderbird Installation & Configuration - Advanced Config
Server Settings will now open, and here you need to fill in the required data for your incoming server. As per the example below, mine looks like this:
Thunderbird Installation & Configuration - Server Settings
Thunderbird Installation & Configuration - IMAP Settings

While still in the Server Settings tab, please scroll to the bottom and make sure you:

  • Next to "When I delete a message," select Just mark it as deleted.
  • Uncheck Clean up ('Expunge') Inbox on Exit and Empty Trash on Exit.
Thunderbird Installation & Configuration - Server Settings
Thunderbird Installation & Configuration - IMAP Settings

Now, click on the Copies & Folders tab, and set the following options:

  • Under the When sending message, automatically section, please uncheck Place a copy in.
  • Under the Drafts and Templates section, check Other for Keep Draft messages in. On the drop-down menu next to Other, please select your email -> [Gmail] -> Drafts.
Thunderbird Installation & Configuration - Copies & Folders
Thunderbird Installation & Configuration - Copies & Folders
Thunderbird Installation & Configuration - Copies & Folders
Thunderbird Installation & Configuration - Copies & Folders

Click on the Junk Settings tab. A little explanation is required here. Since I am using a Gmail account, I will turn off all junk settings. I will turn it off because Gmail automatically sorts spam and malware before reaching my client. This is the case with all major email services like Gmail and such as the ones served by Microsoft.

If you're using those services also, please make sure to Enable adaptive junk mail controls for this account, and Trust junk mail headers set by options are unchecked:

Thunderbird Installation & Configuration - Junk Settings
Thunderbird Installation & Configuration - Junk Settings

If your email provider doesn't offer any spam/malware protection, by all means, turn on both of those options, and train your Thunderbird to identify junk correctly (as described in the picture above).

The last thing to do here is outgoing email settings. Click on the Outgoing Server (SMTP) tab, and from there, click on Add... button:

Thunderbird Installation & Configuration - SMTP Server
Thunderbird Installation & Configuration - SMTP Server Settings
Once you click the Add... button, a new window will pop up, letting you fill in your SMTP server settings:
Thunderbird Installation & Configuration - SMTP Settings
Thunderbird Installation & Configuration - SMTP Server Settings
With an SMTP server set, your Thunderbird is ready to send and receive email messages. You can close the Account Settings tab, which will automatically switch you to the Home tab, where you will see your Inbox. The last thing you can do is disable the Message pane. Once you switch to the Home tab, press the F8 key. And you're done. Once again, thank you for reading.

Share if you like. Thank you in advance!

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.