Bugs & Fixes: Yahoo Mail won’t send

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In recent weeks, many AT&T/Yahoo DSL users have had trouble sending e-mail, getting an error message whenever they try. Typically, the message states that the user’s password was rejected or that the e-mail address needs to be verified. Most often, the problem is limited to sending e-mail, although some users report a failure to receive e-mail as well.

The problem is specific to people using an e-mail client (such as Mac OS X’s Mail or Microsoft’s Entourage), rather than the Web interface, with AT&T/Yahoo set up as a POP account.

Unfortunately, attempting to follow the implications of the error messages can easily lead you down a series of blind alleys. For starters, your password is probably just fine. Don’t fiddle with it. Neither do you have to verify your settings at Yahoo’s Web site or upgrade to Yahoo Mail Plus.

What’s causing the problem? AT&T changed the name of its servers and implemented increased security settings. As a result, you need to update the settings in your e-mail client to reflect these changes. For now, your old settings may continue to work intermittently. However, if you don’t update, you eventually won’t be able to send or receive any e-mail.

The exact procedure for making the changes varies a bit with different e-mail clients. What needs to be changed, however, is the same in all cases:

  • If your POP server and SMTP server names include “sbcglobal,” substitute “att” instead. For example, change smtp.sbcglobal.yahoo.com to smtp.att.yahoo.com. But don’t change the “sbcglobal” term in your e-mail address (such as steve@sbcglobal.net)—that remains the same.
  • Enable SSL for your POP server and select to override the default POP port with port 995.
  • Enable SSL for your SMTP server and select to override the default SMTP port with port 465.

After doing all this, your e-mail problems should be gone. If not—and if you continue to get errors about your account needing to be verified—the apparent cause is a problem on AT&T’s end. You’ll need to contact AT&T for more advice or simply wait for the company to fix it.

There is one work-around that paid off me that you could try. Abandon AT&T as your SMTP server altogether. You can sign up for Gmail, for example, and enter the Gmail settings as the SMTP server settings for the AT&T account.

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