Thunderbird Gmail login to server failed

Thunderbird and Gmail

I recently setup a Google Apps email and I’m using Thunderbird with IMAP as the client on a Windows 7 machine. I woke this morning to find the error:

server failed

It wasn’t the easiest thing to find a solution, and oddly (and this is in my particular case) all the newer posts don’t seem to fix my particular issue. As things would have it a post on the Mozilla forum from 2008 answered my issue. It had something to do with unlocking Google’s Captcha:

Gmail IMAP setup

This is the comment:

Log in to your Gmail account in the browser, and unlock the CAPTCHA. … swer=14257

Upon visiting the link above, I used option #3:

#3 If you’re still having problems, visit and sign in with your Gmail username and password. If necessary, enter the letters in the distorted picture.


How to Fix “login to server failed” for Mozilla Thunderbird using Google Mail IMAP

That’s about it, so here’s what fixed my particular issue with the “login to server failed” issue:

  1. visit this URL to unlock CAPTCHA:
  2. login to your Gmail account (don’t know if this is necessary)
  3. restart Thunderbird
  4. when prompted re-submit your Password

So, in my particular case, this is how to fix the error “login to server failed” using Thunderbird Gmail and IMAP.

Post written by Ed Reckers

Founder and lead web development consultant at Red Bridge Internet : San Francisco WordPress Developers and Consultants.

14 Responses to “Thunderbird Gmail login to server failed”

  1. M

    Does not solve the problem for me.

  2. Rusik

    Login to server failed.
    This message came up after I did some changes in my google Account: particularly Account Settings -> Security -> Account Permissions. Here I disabled the “access for less secure apps” with the view to prevent access to my account for some android apps with obscure privacy. However and typically for google it blocked also thunderbird. I suppose it is some kind of google strategy to perceive all not-google apps as “not secure” without exceptions, that is how they do their business.
    There is nothing you can do about it, except … well .. do your personal hobbit choice.

  3. Sam

    Thunderbird is combining my username with the server name.

    Thunderbird will try login using:

    How to overcome this ?

  4. Mark Mulligan

    Thanks, it worked!!!

  5. Julian Baum

    Thanks for this solution. It worked for me!

  6. Paschal Bekke

    Perfect, worked like a charm. Would never have found the answer otherwise.

  7. Tòn Đạo

    You login to gmail.
    Settings -> choose tab Fowarding and POP/IMAP -> Enable IMAP
    Done 🙂
    Try login gmail on Thunderbird

  8. Tess

    Solution! I have had this problem for months – my thunderbird account just stopped working in January. I tried every solution posted in forums and nothing worked. Today I discovered that it was due to ESET security. I uploaded a new version of ESET (currently v8) and now it works. Amazing!

  9. Theo Noetzli

    @ Rusik, September 11, 2014 at 2:52 am: thanks, your hint about the ‘less secure apps’ setting solved my problem!

  10. Triskelion

    The solution for me was found here:,1665141,2769074
    Basically, i had to change the name of the servers (imap amd smtp) from ig: to and it worked. In resume, CHANGE GOOGLEMAIL INTO GMAIL and thats it!!!

  11. John H

    Rusik’s solution appears to work for me. I concur that it looks as though Google is trying to exclude everyone else.

  12. Rune

    Had same problem. Turned out I had turned “Off” in Allow Less Secure Apps in Turned the switch on and Thunderbird was working again.

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