How to get around Gmail’s POP3, IMAP, Fetch Mail Account Limit – Have more than 5 accounts!
If you’re like me, you were disappointed to find out that your Gmail account can only be set up to import emails from a maximum of 5 accounts using Google’s fetchmail / POP3 / IMAP.
Gmail users have complained on Google’s forums since at least 2010 about this limitation, and even back then Google responded that it is a hard limit that they won’t be changing. Unfortunately you can’t even pay to add more accounts, for example with Google’s business mail.
The common workaround people will suggest is to simply use mail forwarders in their webhost’s control panel settings to forward mail from different sources directly to your @gmail.com address. You can then go into Gmail settings and add the ability to “send mail as” that address so nobody knows you are using a Gmail address. (Note, however, if you examine the email header details, your gmail address will still be displayed in there). This is a decent option, however it’s not perfect. This may very well work for you, so it is one option to try.
The Spam Problem
However, on Hostgator and many other large webhosts that use shared servers for their customers, mail forwarding to a Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, or other major mainstream mail service is not recommended. This is because Gmail and other email services can often incorrectly filter out those forwarded emails as spam. Since the webhost is using the same mail server to forward and send emails to tons of people, some of it will be spam, and then Gmail’s spam filter might eventually decide that ALL emails from that mail server are spam.
You have no control over what Gmail thinks is spam in this situation, and there is no notification if it does–emails will just disappear and never arrive in your Gmail inbox.
So here’s the perfect setup to effectively fetchmail from more than 5 POP3 / IMAP accounts in Gmail:
- Create a primary email account at your webhost, for example firstname.lastname@example.org
- In Gmail, go to settings > Accounts and Import > Set up POP3 importing for that primary email@example.com address
- In your webhost’s control panel, use the mail forwarding to have an unlimited number of email addresses forward to your primary address: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Optional: the sent-to address of emails will keep their original information intact, so you can set up automatic filters and labels to keep everything being sent to different addresses all organized in your Gmail inbox
In this way you can have an unlimited number of email addresses being imported into Gmail via fetchmail / POP3 / IMAP. This eliminates the risk of emails being incorrectly filtered by Gmail as spam, which definitely happens if you simply use standard webhost forwarding