Accessing my mail server with macbook

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by whatcheernetop?, Feb 24, 2007.

  1. whatcheernetop? macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2007
    #1
    Hello.

    I've just purchased a macbook and I'm having trouble accessing my mail as I do on my desktop machine, a G4 iMac.

    The rundown: POP server, cable modem, using the iMac as a base station of sorts. I'm able to network with the iMac (that is, access stuff on the iMac, and I can get online with the macbook, but my Mail program and, oddly, iChat, are unable to connect to the interwebs. I'm not interested in syncing up the two machines, just get my mail and chat.

    I'm not an expert by any means, and I'd like to know if any of the more knowledgable mac heads out there can identify what my problem is (re: my computer). I'm sure it's something simple, and it might be on Cox's (provider) end, but if anyone can tell me what they think, I'd appreciate it.

    Cheers,

    cg
     
  2. Super Macho Man macrumors 6502a

    Super Macho Man

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2006
    Location:
    Hollywood, CA
    #2
    So you can surf the web on the MacBook but e-mail & chat don't work? How is your network laid out - like this?:

    Cable modem <---Ethernet---> iMac <---AirPort---> MacBook?

    With the iMac running Internet sharing and firewall on? (Not saying this is how it should/shouldn't be, just need to know in order to be able to solve the problem)

    BTW, if you are accessing your email from more than one computer, consider using IMAP instead of POP. It will make your life easier by letting you access all your email and email folders from any computer.
     
  3. whatcheernetop? thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2007
    #3
    Yes, I have it set up just as you laid it out. Internet sharing and firewall are on. I'm unable to access my mail (aside from the web app.) and iChat for some reason (on the macbook only, obviously).

    I've been told that about POP servers aren't any good for this reason. Something to keep in mind, I guess.

    Thanks for responding and at least thinking about it.
     
  4. Super Macho Man macrumors 6502a

    Super Macho Man

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2006
    Location:
    Hollywood, CA
    #4
    I suspect a firewall problem. POP and chat use different ports than web traffic. Maybe try turning off the firewall on your iMac if it isn't already, and see if that cures your mail/chat ills. If it doesn't, then at least it will rule that out......
     
  5. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #5
    There are some nice things IMAP can do, which POP cannot, but they have nothing whatever to do with this.

    I think what is happening is this: your cable modem is set up to allow traffic on ports outside of 80, but your software firewall is not. See this knowledge base note:

    http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=107653

    You will need to open up the ports needed for POP and chat (which vary depending on whether you are using SSL or not). You may also need to open 25 (SMTP sending of mail), although I am not sure.
     
  6. whatcheernetop? thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2007
    #6
    Wow. The firewall thing worked! Now I'm worried. What does this mean? Why wouldn't I want my firewall on my iMac on? I mean, I'm obviously way over my head, but can anyone explain to me what this means in terms of security?

    Thanks for the responses, guys, all of them. And anyone who wants to tell me where to go from here re: my firewall and whether it matters, please do.

    cheers.
     
  7. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #7
    Basic answer #1 is that you must manually configure your Mac to do things when acting as a router, but they are simply things that a router would already do.

    Basic answer #2 is that you should just buy a router. Any $25 802.11g wireless router from a major -- Linksys and Netgear are both good -- would be fine. If your Macbook is C2D, maybe even getting a pre-802.11n router would be nice. But in the long run, it's totally worth the $25 you spend to have a hardware router and a NAT firewall about which you need not invest much time or thought.
     
  8. whatcheernetop? thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2007
    #8
    Okay, thanks for the router info. Is my information in grave danger as it's set up now? How difficult would it be for someone to mess up my stuff (assuming they were able to get my password) as it's configured now (iMac as router, firewall off)? Is this different with a dedicated router?

    Thanks again, all-- great info and speedy, too. And who can beat the price?
     
  9. Super Macho Man macrumors 6502a

    Super Macho Man

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2006
    Location:
    Hollywood, CA
    #9
    mkrishnan's advice is good. Your information is not really in danger. The purpose of a firewall (as it's commonly used in homes) is to block incoming connections. In any case, in order for there to be any incoming connections, there has to be some service running on the network to connect TO - like personal file sharing, FTP, remote login, web sharing, etc. (Or some security vulnerability in the OS, but Macs don't really have any/many that are known.) If you are not running any of those, and there are no Windows machines on the network (they can be very vulnerable without a firewall) you are fine. If you are, you are probably still fine, as an attacker would have to specifically target you (among millions of other home internet users) and guess whatever passwords you're using, or exploit some security vulnerability, etc. You would have a better chance of getting struck by lightning. But get a router anyway. :D

    I don't know why the Mac's firewall is behaving like that (not allowing even *outgoing* chat/email traffic). I think the firewall in most routers is a bit more advanced and configurable out of the box.
     
  10. whatcheernetop? thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2007
    #10
    Damn, you guys are good. I learned something today. Thank you. If you ever need advice on how to, say, procrastinate your day away or annoy your wife, hit me up.

    cheers,

    cg
     

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