This article explains how to manually connect and use POP3 over telnet. This is handy for diagnostics when a program such as POP/400 is behaving strangely and needs to be looked into.

These steps assume a server name of and an ID of 'admin'.

Step 1: Telnet to the server

Telnet to your email server. This example assumes an IP address of on port 110.
The server will say something like:
+OK POP3 Thurs, 06 Mar 2008 13:28:12 -0400
The text following the '''+OK''' may vary depending on your server.

Step 2: Login to POP3

Login as your user (admin in this case).
user admin
Server response should be:
+OK password required.
Follow with your password:
pass password
If they authenticate, you'll see:
Otherwise you get a fail:
-ERR login failed.
You may also succeed with a more verbose message giving details of what emails you have. If you only receive the short response, you can use the stat command to see how many messages you have.

Step 3: Retrieve email

To retrieve the first message, run the command, where # is the number of the email. To grab the first email use 1.
retr #
You'll get back a server response saying:
+OK 5897 octets
Like in SMTP, the period on a single line denotes the end of the email.

Step 4: Delete Email

To delete email, run the command:
dele #
The server should output:
+OK message # marked for deletion.

Step 5: Kill the Sessions

Run the quit command to get out of POP3.
+OK server signing off.
Telnet loses the connection, and we're done.
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