Solve the Gmail "Server denied POP3 access for the given username and password" error

If you're trying to move email from an old Gmail account to a new one by using POP forwarding, you may come across this error message:

The image of the "Server denied POP3 access" error message in Gmail
The "Server denied POP3 access for the given username and password" error in Gmail

You may be wondering, "Why isn't POP forwarding working on my Gmail account?" or "Why is POP3 access being denied in Gmail?"

This might happen for a variety of reasons. But the good news is that the issue can be resolved, so read on!

We cover the following topics in this article:

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  • It's simple — just sign in to both accounts
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Visual representation of VaultMe's automatic process
VaultMe as an alternative to POP3 forwarding
VaultMe will create a one-time copy of your content in another account. Any future changes in the source account will not be reflected in the destination account after the migration. If you want your old account to send new mail to the new account, you can set up email forwarding.
If you have any questions about VaultMe, please contact us at We'd be happy to help!

The "Server denied POP3 access for the given username and password" error may appear for a lot of different reasons, from wrong credentials to POP being disabled. In the majority of cases, the steps outlined below help resolve the issue.

POP (Post Office Protocol) is the "language" that allows a computer to fetch all the emails from a server. By enabling POP in your source account, you can allow your destination account to fetch emails (both old and new) from it.

To enable POP:

  1. In a browser, sign in to your source Gmail account.
  2. Click the gear icon at the top-right.
  3. Click "See all settings."
  4. Click the tab labeled "Forwarding and POP/IMAP."
  5. Find the "POP Download" section and select "Enable POP for all mail" if you want to copy past AND future emails, or "Enable POP for mail that arrives from now on" if you want ONLY future emails.
  6. Once POP is enabled, the drop-down list will become active. Select what you want to happen to any mail that gets accessed with POP from the source account. We recommend selecting "Keep Gmail's copy in the Inbox."
  7. Scroll down to the bottom and click "Save Changes."

To start fetching:

  1. Using the same browser, sign out of your source account and sign in to your destination account.
  2. Again, click the gear icon and "See all settings."
  3. Click the tab labeled "Accounts" or "Accounts and Import."
  4. Find "Check mail from other accounts" and click "Add a mail account."
  5. Wait for the pop-up window to appear (make sure you allow pop-ups!). Enter the address of your source account and click "Next."
  6. Select "Import emails from my other account (POP3)" and click "Next."
  7. Enter the password for the account, leave the default settings ( and port 995), and click "Add Account."

If you get the dreaded "Server denied POP3 access for the given username and password" message when you click "Add account," it is usually because the source account doesn't trust the destination account, so Gmail is unable to fetch mail through the POP3 protocol.

To fix the "Server denied POP3 access for the username and password" error:

  1. In the same browser, sign out of your destination account and sign back in to your source account.
  2. Go to the Less secure app access section of your account.
  3. Turn "Allow less secure apps" on.
  4. Sign out of the source account, sign back in to the destination account, and click "Add account" again. Once you do this, it should stay connected.
  1. Should I use POP or IMAP?

    The choice depends on your goals.

    IMAP and POP are protocols for reading email through email applications. IMAP stores emails on a server making them accessible from multiple devices while POP removes messages from the server after they are downloaded to a single computer through an email app. With POP, you can only use one application to access your emails.

  2. What is my POP3 username and password?

    Your username is your full email address. The password is the password that you use to access this account in a browser. However, accounts with 2-step verification enabled often require an application-specific password that you need to generate. For more information about Gmail's 2-step authentication, see this help article.