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How to View E-Mail Message Headers

In this short article, we will show you how to view E-mail message headers for different Webmail applications such as Horde, Roundcube and Squirrel. Webmail applications enable users to access their account E-mail from any web browser, regardless of the location or device they are using. But first, let’s find out exactly what a message header is, shall we?

General information

The E-mail header is the source information (or source code) encapsulated within an E-mail message, which contains valuable information about how the message was encoded and by whom.

For example, it will tell you why an E-mail transmission has failed.

Here are a few pieces of information included inside the message header:

  • The server from which an incoming E-mail originated
  • The server towards an outgoing E-mail was sent
  • Intended recipient
  • IMAP, POP3, SMTP Port numbers
  • Whether the E-mail was received or rejected by the recipient’s E-mail server
  • The reason why the server rejected the E-mail if that is the case
  • Any other information sent by the mail server

The header information may prove useful when trying to find out why a user is experiencing failed E-mail transit.

Retrieving a copy of email headers is different from a mail client to mail client.

Microsoft Outlook

Note: This demonstration is using Outlook 2010. Other versions may vary.

This demo assumes that you already have Outlook open.

1) Open the message you wish to see the headers of by double-clicking it.

2) Click the File menu

3) Click the Properties button

That’s it! You can now see the full headers for the email you selected in step 1.

Mac Mail

This demo assumes that you already have Mac Mail open.

1) Click the email you wish to view the headers of

2) Click View -> Message -> Headers

That’s it! You can now see the full headers for the email you selected.

Mozilla Thunderbird

This demo assumes that you already have Mozilla Thunderbird open.

1) Single click the email you wish to see the headers of

2) Click View

3) Then click Message Source

That’s it! You can now see the full headers for the email you selected.

Gmail

This demo assumes you are logged into your Gmail account.

1) Open the email you wish to view the headers of

2) Click the down arrow next to the reply button to bring up the options menu

3) Then click show original

That’s it! You can now see the full headers for the email you selected.

Horde (Webmail)

1) Log into Horde Webmail

2) Open the email message

3) Click the “Message Source” link in the text menu at the top of the message.

RoundCube (Webmail)

This demo assumes that you are already logged into RoundCube

1) Open the message you wish to see the headers of by double-clicking it.

2) Click the arrow down to reveal the email headers.

That’s it! You can now see the full headers for the email you selected in step 1.

Updated on July 2, 2019

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