Accessing Zimbra Collaboration Server with Thunderbird

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With the Zimbra Collaboration Suite, you are able to access your email using Mozilla Thunderbird messaging and collaboration client. Optionally, you can view your Zimbra Calendar using the separate Lightning Add-on for Thunderbird.

This guide shows you how to access to your Zimbra Mail and Calendar using Thunderbird 2 with the Lightning 0.5 Add-On.

Before You Begin

This guide assumes that you have already installed Thunderbird 2 and, optionally, have already installed the Lightning Add-on. For more information on downloading and installing this software, go to Mozilla's Thunderbird page, .

To access your email, you must have the following information:

  • Your Zimbra email address and password.
  • Incoming mail server. This is usually in the form of
  • Outgoing mail server (SMTP). This is usually in the form of

Your system administrator will be able to give you this information if you do not already have it.

Accessing your Zimbra Mail with Thunderbird

To access your Zimbra Mail, you must first create an account in Thunderbird. The following steps guide you through setting up a new account in Thunderbird.

To create a new account in Thunderbird

1. Go to File>New>Account. This will open the Account Wizard.

If you have just opened Thunderbird for the first time, the Account Wizard will automatically open.

2. Select Email account in the New Account Setup dialog. Click Next.

TB New Account Setup.png

3. Enter the name you want to appear in the From field of your outgoing emails in the Your Name field. Enter your Zimbra email address into the Email Address field. Click Next.

TB Identity.png

4. Select IMAP. Enter the name of your incoming server in the Incoming Server field. If this is your first time using Thunderbird, type the name of your outgoing server in the Outgoing Server (SMTP) field. Click Next.

Note: If you have an existing outgoing server already set as a default, the Account Wizard will automatically use this information. You can change this after you have created your account. To change this setting to the correct outgoing server, see Changing Your Outgoing Server (SMTP) Settings.

TB Server Information.png

5. Enter your incoming user name from your email address into the Incoming User Name field. This is the first part of your Zimbra email address. For example, if your email address is, your incoming user name is john.doe.

TB User Names.png

6. Enter the name you want to call this account in the Account Name field.

TB Account Name.png

7. Verify that the information displayed is correct. If any information is incorrect, select Back and update the information. When the account information is correct, click Finish.

TB Congratulations.png

Your settings are saved, and the Account Wizard closes. You are now able to access your Zimbra Mail.

If you did not specify an outgoing server when you were setting up your Zimbra email account, you will not be able to send outgoing messages yet. See the next section in order to change your Outgoing Server (SMTP) Settings.

Changing Your Outgoing Server (SMTP) Settings

If your Outgoing Server (SMTP) is not set to the correct server, you will not be able to send outgoing messages. Use the following directions to change the outgoing server.

To change the Outgoing Server in your Zimbra email account

1. In Thunderbird, go to Tools>Account Settings.

2. Select Outgoing Server (SMTP), which is located at the bottom of the Settings list on the left. Your Outgoing Server (SMTP) Settings are displayed.

TB Account Settings.png

3. Click Add.

4. In the SMTP Server dialog, enter the following information:

  • Description. Enter a name for your outgoing server.
  • Server name. Enter the name of your outgoing server. This is usually in the form of
  • Port. This is 25 by default. If your SMTP server has a different port number, enter it here.
  • User Name. Enter your Zimbra email account user name.
  • Secure Connection. Select whether to use TLS if available, TLS, or SSL. Select No if you do not want to use a secure connection.

Click OK.

TB SMTP Server.png

5. In the Account Settings dialog, select your Zimbra email account, located in the Settings list on the left.

6. Select the Zimbra outgoing server from the Outgoing Server (SMTP) drop-down list in your Account Settings.

TB Account Settings 2.png

7. Click OK.

Viewing your Zimbra Calendar using Lightning

The following steps show you how to read your Zimbra Calendar with Thunderbird using the Lightning Add-on. These instructions assume that you have already installed Lightning 0.5.

To view your Zimbra Calendar using Lightning

Note: These instructions will allow you to view your calendar using Thunderbird with the Lightning Add-on. You will not be able to create or edit appointments, meetings, or events.

1. Open the Zimbra Web Client, and click on the Calendar tab.

2. Right click on Calendar in the Calendar List pane and select Share Calendar from the right-click menu.

The URL of your Calendar is located at the bottom of the Share Properties dialog. Write down or copy this URL.

TB Share Properties.png

3. Open Thunderbird.

4. Click on the Calendars tab, in the lower left of your Thunderbird application.

TB Lightning Pane.png

5. Click on New. A Create New Calendar dialog will display.

6. Select On the Network. Click Next.

TB Create New Calendar.png

7. Select iCalendar (ICS). In the Location field, enter the URL of your Zimbra Calendar. Click Next.

TB Locate Your Calendar.png

8. Enter a name for your Zimbra Calendar in the Name field. Then, select a color for your Calendar. Click Next.

TB Customize Your Calendar.png

9. Enter your username and password, if you are prompted.

10. Click Finish.

Feature Differences When Using Thunderbird

If you have used the Zimbra Web Client, note that the following features are different when using Thunderbird as a client.

  • To view mail folders that you have created using the Zimbra Web Client, you must subscribe to them.
  • Thunderbird may not always expunge deleted items or old drafts. These messages will be visible if you access your mail using Zimbra Web Client.
  • Lightning does not use notifications for upcoming events and meetings.
  • The Lightning Add-On may not automatically refresh your Zimbra Calendar. To see the most recent version of your Calendar, right-click and select Reload Remote Calendars .
  • Lightning only records a single set of authentication information for all remote calendars. If you have already set up access to another remote calendar using Lightning, you may encounter authentication errors when attempting to view your Zimbra calendar.

Verified Against: ZCS 4.5.7 Date Created: 10/10/2007
Article ID: Date Modified: 2007-10-10

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