Thunderbird FAQ

This article provides general information about Thunderbird.

What is Thunderbird?

Thunderbird is a free, open-source, cross-platform application for managing email, news feeds, chat, and news groups. It is a local (rather than a browser or web-based) email application that is powerful yet easy-to-use. See Thunderbird features for a summary of the features.

Who makes Thunderbird?

Thunderbird is developed, tested, translated and supported by the folks at Mozilla Corporation and by a group of dedicated volunteers. Mozilla Corporation is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the non-profit Mozilla Foundation.

Why should I use Thunderbird?

Thunderbird is free. Thunderbird has many cool features. Thunderbird gives you control and ownership over your email. There are many add-ons available for Thunderbird to extend and customize your email experience. Thunderbird is part of the Mozilla Manifesto, a pledge that describes Mozilla's commitment to an open, accessible, egalitarian Internet.

Is Thunderbird free?

Yes! Thunderbird is open source software. Anyone can download and use the program for free, and view and modify the source code under the terms of the license.

Where can I download Thunderbird?

Download Thunderbird here. Or use these links for different languages, beta versions, old versions, and the source code.

Is Thunderbird available in my language?

Thunderbird has many dedicated volunteer translators who translate each version. If you do not find your language at here, you can contribute to develop a localized version, with the help of the community of volunteers.

Is Thunderbird available for my platform?

Probably. Windows, Mac and Linux are available from the download page. For other operating systems, you can build Thunderbird from the source code.

What is my Thunderbird email address?

Thunderbird is an email application, so it does not provide email addresses, nor the service to transmit emails. But Thunderbird can be used with any existing email address and service to send, receive, sort and search your email messages. If you do not have an email address, you may apply to a service when you first start Thunderbird.

Common email address and service providers include:

  • Internet Service Providers (ISPs): When you sign up for internet access through an ISP they usually give you one or more email accounts.
  • Corporate: Employers often provide their employees with email accounts.

All of these email accounts can be used with Thunderbird. In fact, with Thunderbird you can access mail from multiple accounts at the same time. All you need to do is set up your account.

Where is my personal information (such as my messages, passwords, account information, etc) stored?

Thunderbird stores your personal stuff on your local drive. If you are using the IMAP protocol for accessing messages, your messages are also on your email server. See IMAP Synchronization for more information.

Where can I get help with using Thunderbird?

All support is web-based. This site (the Knowledge Base) has many articles that may help you. Check out Thunderbird's support forum, where you can ask a question or search for issues and answers similar to your own. Also, the MozillaZine community has a library of articles and a forum.

Because of the ratio of Thunderbird staff to Thunderbird users (about 15 to 5,000,000) we cannot provide direct support services i.e. Mozilla does not offer support via email, fax, chat, phone nor paid support. Instead we rely on our community to help each other, and hope that you, a Thunderbird user, will become a Thunderbird community member. (See below on how to help.)

Can I help?

Yes! Please do!

  • Help other Thunderbird users with Thunderbird questions and in the Thunderbird KB.
  • Help with the Thunderbird testing and QA effort.
  • Write or improve documentation for end users. (Anyone can write documentation in plain English, German, Japanese, French or any of the many languages in which folks have written Thunderbird documentation. Do not be afraid to submit unpolished writing - our editors and writers will polish it for you!)
  • Programmers can get started by writing extensions to Thunderbird. Source code core development processes and resources are described here.

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These fine people helped write this article: Tonnes, rrosario, wsmwk, MattAuSupport, user669794, upwinxp, dyvik1001, rmcguigan. You can help too - find out how.