FTP access to email


I am anticipating receiving a large number of huge email attachments. Is there a way to access the mail server with FTP to download these attachments?


An email attachment is embedded within the message itself. If you were to FTP to the server, all you would be able to grab would be the entire message.

Generally, just to use a mail client to grab a message should work just as well. The text is usually a tiny portion of the message, so you won’t be saving much (if any) time with FTP. Why are you interested in using FTP instead of your mail client? Depending on the mail client, some scripting can throw the attachments into a desired folder.



It’s possible if your mail goes to a user who’s got shell/ftp access, it’s not possible on a user account which just has mail access.

FTP to the server with the username and password of the user who has received the mail. You’ve got a /home/username/Maildir directory which contains all the messages. To import those messages into your local mail program (like Thunderbird) you’ll most likely need the ‘mbox’ format and not the Maildir format. You can get scripts that convert Maildir to mbox here: http://www.systemsaligned.com/content/view/18/19/ (also contains instructions). You’ll need to ssh into you DH account and runs the scripts on the DH server. I have never tried this, but google turned up this solution.

Another idea: give that person who is sending you the huge attachments (DH only allows 45MB attachments anyway) a FTP-only account and let them upload the files to it. This would be the easiest solution.

Hope this helps.


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Little trick for non-shell users, assuming you have at least 1. If you know the m123456 username for the mailbox that doesn’t have SSH access to the server, you can do this:

  1. SSH into the username that actually does have shell access.
    2: cd /home/.fileserver/m123456 (hint. /home/username is a simlinked directory to /home/.fileserver/username).
    3: cp Maildir /home/username/Maildir2
    4: Repeat the steps for FTPing the contents of that folder outlined above.

You can get the m123456 username from your control panel, under mail>addresses.

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My connection at times is a bit unstable. I prefer using FTP because of its resuming ability. It was my understanding that IMAP/POP doesn’t have that feature.

Unfortunately, I can’t give the sender a FTP account, because the sender is actually an automated instrument that sends the data through email with the datafile as an attachment. I expect several dozen 25-30MB attachments, and thought that FTP might be a better option.

I’ll give the shell route a try. And if that doesn’t work, I guess I can just use my email client. Thanks for the help!