How to Fix: GoDaddy Email Not Syncing (IMAP Not Working)

Dennis Faas's picture

Infopackets Reader Allan J. writes:

" Dear Dennis,

I own a website that is hosted through; I signed up for a 5 year contract ($600) which covers my hosting and registrar fees. I own a smartphone, a PC, and a laptop for my work and am attempting to sync my email across the devices so that I can view all my messages, regardless of which device I use. I've tried setting this up myself, but my emails automatically download onto one of the three devices at random, and nothing gets synced. When I checked my computer, some emails have been downloaded throughout the day, while other emails are found on my smartphone and some on my laptop. It's a huge mess and it's all out of sync! Obviously I am doing something wrong. I have no idea what is going on - can you please help? "

Update 20200116: I'm getting a lot of emails from folks asking for help with this. You can read my answer below for the full version, though my advice is that you move off of GoDaddy ASAP. Their service is slow, they charge WAY too much for their "extras", and their support is HORRENDOUS. If you need help with this ASAP, send me an email and don't forget to leave your phone number. I will call you back as soon as possible.

My response:

I asked Allan if he would like me to connect with him using my remote desktop support service in order to have a closer look at this email server configuration, and he agreed.

Below I'll explain what I found.

How to Fix: GoDaddy Email Not Syncing (IMAP Not Working)

First and foremost, if you want to sync email across more than one device, the email client must be set up so that the email server settings use the IMAP protocol. IMAP stands for "Internet Message Access Protocol" and was developed to replace POP3 ("Post Office Protocol"), which has been used since the early days of the Internet.

The huge advantage of using IMAP over POP3 is that you can sync your email across devices. Any changes to your emails - whether you delete a message, or respond to a message - are reflected across all devices instantly. With IMAP, all your emails are stored centrally on an email server; with POP3, the opposite is true - emails are downloaded to the device when you click on "send and receive".

When I checked Allan's computers, his mail server settings were set for POP3. Interestingly, when I searched Google for "godaddy mail server settings", every single web page I came across from had instruction for setting up a POP3 account, but not for IMAP. I found this incredibly odd. The only IMAP settings I could find were from third party websites, which indicated that the IMAP settings are as follows:

  • GoDaddy POP3 incoming mail server:
  • GoDaddy IMAP incoming mail server: (port 143 or 993)
  • GoDaddy SMTP outgoing mail server:

However, when I set this on Allan's email client, the email login would fail with a cryptic error message.

What in the heck was going on?

Want IMAP? GoDaddy Charges Extra!

After more digging, I discovered that in order to use IMAP with GoDaddy, Allan need to pay extra to upgrade to an "unlimited plan". In the days of smartphones, tablets, and owning more than one PC in the home - IMAP is used almost universally on every email server I have ever dealt with AT NO EXTRA CHARGE - so to have to pay more money for this "service" is almost unheard of.

This is completely unacceptable considering that Allan already paid an eye-watering $600 for 5 years of hosting, which equates to $10 a month. Talk about nickel-and-diming customers, not to mention those prices are WAY, WAY TOO MUCH!

After some more research, I suggested he move his hosting to NameCheap which only charges $24.88 a YEAR for their "stellar" hosting and includes both IMAP and POP3 protocols for the mail servers - plus a ton more features at no extra charge. This is by far the cheapest hosting plan I could find, all things considered; in fact, for the same features (including "whoisguard"), GoDaddy wanted to charge $17 a MONTH - yikes - are you kidding me?!

Once I moved Allan over to NameCheap, the problem was resolved. I was also able to set up webmail email on his account so that he could access his emails directly through his web page. This is incredibly convenient if you're traveling and don't have access to your smartphone or laptop to check emails. In this case you can use any machine, anywhere (at a hotel, for example) and login to your website to access your emails. This is similar to logging into Gmail from your web browser. Best of all this doesn't cost extra with NameCheap!

Disclaimer: I don't host my website using NameCheap; I rent a dedicated web server elsewhere. NameCheap is my website registrar - because as the name suggests, their prices are dirt cheap (plus they have a great web interface). I don't belong to Namecheap's website affiliate (referral) program and I don't get paid money for referring people to NameCheap; instead, I receive nothing more than satisfaction when I suggest users move off of highly inflated, price-gouging web hosting plans offered by places like GoDaddy.

Now you know!

Additional 1-on-1 Support: From Dennis

If you are hosting your site at GoDaddy and need to sync your emails across devices using IMAP, I can help make the switch from GoDaddy to somewhere else - whether it's NameCheap or another host. I have over 17 years of experience with web hosting, website programming and configuring, website automation, DNS, email servers, and anything that involves running a website - whether it's business or pleasure. Simply contact me, briefly describing the issue and I will get back to you as soon as possible.

Got a Computer Question or Problem? Ask Dennis!

I need more computer questions. If you have a computer question -- or even a computer problem that needs fixing -- please email me with your question so that I can write more articles like this one. I can't promise I'll respond to all the messages I receive (depending on the volume), but I'll do my best.

About the author: Dennis Faas is the owner and operator of With over 30 years of computing experience, Dennis' areas of expertise are a broad range and include PC hardware, Microsoft Windows, Linux, network administration, and virtualization. Dennis holds a Bachelors degree in Computer Science (1999) and has authored 6 books on the topics of MS Windows and PC Security. If you like the advice you received on this page, please up-vote / Like this page and share it with friends. For technical support inquiries, Dennis can be reached via Live chat online this site using the Zopim Chat service (currently located at the bottom left of the screen); optionally, you can contact Dennis through the website contact form.

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Jim's picture

Hey Dennis,

I currently use 1and1 for my domain registration and hosting. I'm paying about $95/yr total. My needs are pretty simple - just want my own domain for email purposes. As of right now I just run all my email thru 1and1's email servers and forward to gmail because I like the portability and I'm used to the interface. But if Google ever pulled the plug on gmail, (unlikely, I suppose, but look at how many of their other pet projects have been scrapped over the years) or changes gmail in such a way that I no longer wish to use it, I can always redirect my email with a few clicks and be done with it. I like being able to use gmail, yet not having to worry about being under Google's thumb.

I don't run a website so I don't have much use for any of those hosting features. 1and1 gives free private registration, and I notice that Namecheap does as well. And they're less than half the price I'm paying now. I'd consider switching, but something seems "too good to be true." Your thoughts?


Dennis Faas's picture

What I said is true - you can click the link to see the pricing. If you want to manage the switch yourself go for it. I think the only extra 'fee' is the ICANN fee other than what is listed on the price, which is less than a dollar onto the total - but that is nothing and you can't escape that fee no matter who you go with. If you need help changing hosts / domain registrars I am here to assist.