I’ve been using pine/alpine for years with email hosted at DreamHost, accessed via IMAP. Initially running from dodge (via an SSH session – so all IMAP connectivity is within DH’s network), and recently via remote IMAP (alpine running on my desktop, connecting to IMAP/TLS. Starting a few years ago, the above error started happening randomly whenever I’m in a folder such as INBOX. It could be while reading a message, composing a new one, etc.

When this first started happening, I was told it was a known issue that was being investigated. I think it had something to do with the new clusters they built, and possibly some sort of load balancing, but I don’t know for sure. More recently I’ve had some medical issues that make it more comfortable to use a command line client and avoid GUIs, so I’m using alpine more often. As a result, this error has grown from an annoyance to an obstacle, as I have to keep going back and re-opening my INBOX.

The closest match I’ve found is this thread from 2013:

The main point is that this would be caused by the provider (in this case Dreamhost) closing the IMAP connection. I tried some of the suggestions in the post above and any others I could think of related to timeouts: re-open always, incoming mail interval 15 seconds, etc.

They have not helped.

I’ve tried to investigate with DH support, but they’re not very knowledgeable about their backend system time out parameters, back-end architecture, etc. so that was a dead end.

Is there anyone on this forum who can help me resolve this? I’m using for IMAP


Looks like Dreamhost’s IMAP servers kill your connection after roughly 2 mins of idle time, based on some simple tests with openssl s_client connected to the IMAP port. This seems to violate RFC 2683 / 2680 – where 30 mins is referenced as the minimum.

Anyway, based on this I was able to tune alpine’s ‘Mail Check Interval’ to 110 seconds (default is 150) and that worked. There are other timers I had tweaked before, but this seems to be the one I missed.