Updated directions below; including a dialog-based set of instructions
I’ve been hassled for a while with what I perceived as a problem with GMail that I was finally able to solve yesterday.
I have 2 GMail accounts, and I subscribe to various mailing lists (especially Gooogle Groups) with different accounts depending on the purpose of the group, and I’ve consistently had an issue wherein I would use Mozilla Thunderbird to post to a group with one of my GMail accounts and the message would be rejected because the email address sending it didn’t belong to that group. I also noticed that I’d send personal email from the second account and when the recipient replied I’d note that they’d received the email from the other address. I figured perhaps this was a limitation of GMail’s support for SMTP access and had resigned myself to only using the second account in the browser when composing. Of course I also figured that the problem could really be with my understanding of mail architecture, which is growing, but still fairly small.
I had a little time this weekend while I was waiting for the Cheney and Mills show at the Opera House (my other job) and I poked around in Thunderbird, figured out the problem, and fixed it. Here are the details.
The problem is this; Thunderbird was using the same SMTP account for both of the GMail accounts and was sending as the user associated with that account. I don’t exactly know why this was the case or why it mattered, but it probably had something to do with the way I set the accounts up. Interesting to note is that I also have 3 separate mail accounts at my hosting company on the same SMTP account in Thunderbird, all of which send as the proper user.
The fix for the problem was to create an additional SMTP account for the additional GMail account and to set up the GMail account to use the second SMTP account. To do this, I used a very handy Thunderbird extension called AboutConfig, which exposes similar settings in Thunderbird to those that you can see in Firefox if you type “about:config” in the address bar. I didn’t see a way to configure these settings using the account management dialog in Thunderbird.
First, I copied the SMTP settings for my GMail account:
where “x” is the number of the existing account. I had to pick the next number in the SMTP account number sequence to create new settings; otherwise I’d simply be overwriting the ones that already exist. I also needed to change the username to the username of my second account. Once that’s done I needed to point the second GMail account to the new SMTP account to make sure it was using that account using the mail.identity.idx.smtpServer setting for the account in question.
With that done, the second GMail account started sending mail as itself and not as the first account. WooHoo!
UPDATE: I forgot to mention one step in my initial directions, which is that you have to add the new SMTP server to the mail.smtpservers entry in about:config. Without doing so, Thunderbird doesn’t view that as a valid SMTP server choice and won’t send mail using the new SMTP server settings even if you have the identity configured to use SMTP server 3. Before modifications, my setting was “smtp2,smtp1″. When I added “smtp3″ to that list, Thunderbird recognized and used the new settings.
Alternatively, you could use the built-in Thunderbird tools to acheive the same effect:
- Go to the “Tools” menu and select “Account Settings …”
- Scroll to the bottom of the left-hand pane and select “Outgoing Server (SMTP). Click “Advanced…”"
- Click “Add…”
- Enter you account information, copying values from the existing GMail account (or you can copy the settings from the image below). Enter your second GMail account name.
This may actually be easier than editing the about:config settings, and Thunderbird automatically adds the new server to your SMTP server list.