26 June 2020
Setting email up under Mac OS 9 and earlier has become much more difficult with modern security standards, however it is still possible. To setup an email account you will need your own domain name, email host, and an SMTP delivery service.
A domain name is a reference that is typically attached to a website e.g. 'www.example.com' is a domain name. In this guide you will need to purchase a domain name which typically cost between $10-$30/year. If you don't need a .com domain you can get free domains from Freenom. For the purpose of this guide It is not necessary to connect your domain to a website, but you can do this at a later date. A domain name can be registered at any domain registrar such as Namecheap or Freenom.
You will also need to use an email hosting service. An email host is a service that can create an email account (firstname.lastname@example.org), keep all of your mail on their servers and allow your email application to check these servers for new mail, or sending mail. I have chosen to use MXRoute since it's one of the cheapest email hosting options, is easy to use, and they provide excellent service and support. The beginner plan costs $30USD/year which lets you use an unlimited number of domain names, and offers 10GB storage. They also have a lifetime plan with a one-off payment option.
MXRoute and most other email hosts use servers that enforce strict security protocols for SMTP on their servers. This means that you will be able to receive emails, but not send them because Outlook Express doesn't understand the newer security protocols. For SMTP delivery we will use SMTP2Go. SMTP2GO can handle all of the outgoing messages for the email account, and offer more flexibility over security.
Note: If you're going to use email under Mac OS 9 you must accept that all email transmissions are insecure. There is currently no way to implement modern security protocols with this system.
After completing the above you can now set up the email account in Outlook Express. When creating an account make sure you select the POP protocol when asked.
This guide was checked and updated on 2nd June 2021