Thunderbird FAQ

This article provides general information about Thunderbird.

What is Thunderbird?

Thunderbird is a free, open-source, cross-platform application for managing email and news feeds. It is a local (rather than a web-based) email application that is powerful yet easy-to-use. See the Thunderbird features page for a summary of the new features included in the latest version.

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 lots of cool features. Thunderbird gives you control and ownership over your email. There are lots of add-ons available for Thunderbird that enable you 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. For different languages, go here. For source code and earlier or beta versions, go to the ftp site.

Is Thunderbird available in my language?

Probably. Thunderbird has many dedicated volunteer translators who work to translate each version. Check here.

Is Thunderbird available for my platform?

Probably. Windows, Mac and Linux are available from the download page. For other operating systems, you can build from the sources available from the ftp site.

What is my Thunderbird email address?

Thunderbird is an email application that is installed on a computer and used to send, receive, sort and search email messages. Thunderbird does not provide email addresses or the service to transmit emails. Instead, it can be used with almost any email address and service.

Common email address and service providers include:

  • Internet Service Providers (ISPs): When you sign up for internet access through an Internet Service Provider, they usually give you one or more email accounts.
  • Corporate email accounts: 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, you may also store messages on your email server, but this is entirely optional. See IMAP Synchronization for more information.

Where can I get help with using Thunderbird?

This site (the Knowledge Base) has a growing number of articles that may help you. Check out Thunderbird's community support site, where you can ask a question or search for issues (and answers) similar to your own. The MozillaZine community has a library of articles and a forum for Mozilla products (including Thunderbird).

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 doesn't support Thunderbird via email, fax, chat or phone nor does it provide paid support. Instead we rely on our community to help each other, and hope that Thunderbird users will become Thunderbird community members. (See below on how to help.)

Can I help?

Yes!

  • Encourage other people to try Thunderbird. See the Spread Thunderbird site for ideas.
  • Help out other Thunderbird users on the support site.
  • Help with the Thunderbird testing and QA effort.
  • Write documentation for end users. You don't have to be a technical writer! Just somebody who can write documentation in plain English or German or Japanese or French or any of the many languages that folks have written Thunderbird documentation in. Don't be afraid to submit unpolished writing. Our editors and writers will polish it up for you!
  • For programmers, the easiest place to get started is with writing extensions. Core development processes and resources are described here.

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