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Recognized Contributor
Posts: 14,085
Registered: ‎10-01-2003

"pop" vs "mail" for incoming

My Outlook 2002 has been set up with the incoming mail server as "pop.comcast.net" since the day my Comcast cable internet was set up, and I've never had any problems receiving mail.

I just got off the phone with another user who wasn't receiving any emails (repeated error messages about failing to connect to "mail.comcast.net"). I got him to change his incoming mail server from "mail.comcast.net" to "pop.comcast.net", and the floodgates opened - no more errors, and all the incoming mail magically appeared.

So, what's the difference between the two? I notice from pinging them that they don't resolve to the same IP address, but that doesn't tell me much. And what's wrong with using "pop.comcast.net"?
Networking Expert
Baric
Posts: 24,238
Registered: ‎07-28-2003

Re: "pop" vs "mail" for incoming

You really shouldn't use pop.comcast.net, it's just a pointer to mail.comcast.net, and it's not documented, so it could disappear at any time. If you use dig or nslookup you can see it's just a CNAME record pointing at the A record for mail.comcast.net.

mail.comcast.net actually points are 4 different IP's so it's not unusual for it to one name to resolve to a different IP than the other one.

So unless one of the mail servers was down, there is no difference. My guess is this user had the mail.comcast.net host name misspelled in some way.

And since you don't detail what errors this person was getting, it's impossible to speculate more on what their original problem was.
Recognized Contributor
Posts: 14,085
Registered: ‎10-01-2003

Re: "pop" vs "mail" for incoming

No, not a spelling problem. This was the classic case of a working Outlook suddenly failing to work, without the user changing or touching anything (it worked this morning when he turned the PC off, refused to work upon rebooting this evening). All I can assume is that Comcast was having some sort of mail server problem, and switching to the "pop" address simply got the user to a different server.
Networking Expert
Baric
Posts: 24,238
Registered: ‎07-28-2003

Re: "pop" vs "mail" for incoming

That's possible, I guess, but somehow doesn't jive, or there would have been a huge deluge of postings here, and there were not.
New Visitor
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎01-09-2004

Re: "pop" vs "mail" for incoming

Check the pop server settings in account set up. Mine mysteriously changed from mail.comcast.net to 127.0.0.1 after turning it off and then turning it back on. As a result I went days without incoming mail.

Comcast helpdesk has be no helpdesk.
Most Valued Poster
Michael
Posts: 6,099
Registered: ‎06-30-2003

Re: "pop" vs "mail" for incoming

The server name changing to 127.0.0.1 is usually the result of anti-virus software with an email screening function. Older versions of Norton were known to do this. Newer versions of Norton do not alter the server settings.
Networking Expert
Baric
Posts: 24,238
Registered: ‎07-28-2003

Re: "pop" vs "mail" for incoming

You realize this thread was last updated several months ago, right?

In any event, having your email client account settings change to 127.0.0.1 (otherwise known as the loopback address) is an indication of a certain types of virus scanners and spam control systems (and some malware). All of which are entirely under your control and have nothing whatsoever to do with Comcast. Comcast doesn't support whatever weird software you choose to run on your system and they can't be expected to, in all fairness. There are hundreds of pieces of software, all different, all with their own rules. If you are lucky enough to get a rep who's really on the ball and knowledgeable, they would recognize the problem as being casued by something on your system and maybe give you some things to check into or try. But it's up to you to be the single best authority on what's running on your system and how it's supposed to work.