Retrieve Email and Parse Email in VB.NET - Tutorial

This tutorial introduces how to retrieve email and parse email in VB.NET using POP3/IMAP4/EWS/WebDAV protocol. It also demonstrates retrieving email over SSL/TLS connection, verifying email digital signature, decrypting encrypted email (S/MIME), parsing email attachment, parsing non-delivery report (NDR) and managing mail folder.

Retrieve email in a simple VB.NET project

To better demonstrate how to retrieve email and parse email, let’s create a VB.NET console project named “receiveemail” at first, and then add the reference of EAGetMail in your project. console project


EAGetMail is a POP3 and IMAP4 component which supports all operations of POP3/IMAP4/MIME/Exchange Web Service/WebDAV/SSL/S/MIME protocol. Before you can use the following example codes, you should download the EAGetMail Installer and install it on your machine at first. Full sample projects are included in this installer.

Install from NuGet

You can also install the run-time assembly by NuGet. Run the following command in the NuGet Package Manager Console:

Install-Package EAGetMail


If you install it by NuGet, no sample projects are installed, only .NET assembly is installed.

Add Reference

To use EAGetMail POP3 & IMAP Component in your project, the first step is “Add reference of EAGetMail to your project”. Please create or open your project with Visual Studio, then go to menu -> Project -> Add Reference -> .NET -> Browse..., and select Installation Path\Lib\net[version]\EAGetMail{version}.dll from installation path, click Open-> OK, the reference will be added to the project, you can start to use it to retrieve email and parse email in your project.

add reference in c#/

.NET Assembly

Because EAGetMail has separate builds for .Net Framework, please refer to the following table and choose the correct dll.

Separate builds of run-time assembly for .Net Framework 2.0, 4.0, 4.5, 4.6.1, 4.7.2, 4.8.1, .NET 6.0, NET 7.0, .NET 8.0, .NET Standard 2.0 and .Net Compact Framework 2.0, 3.5.

File .NET Framework Version
Lib\net20\EAGetMail.dll Built with .NET Framework 2.0
It requires .NET Framework 2.0, 3.5 or later version.
Lib\net40\EAGetMail.dll Built with .NET Framework 4.0
It requires .NET Framework 4.0 or later version.
Lib\net45\EAGetMail.dll Built with .NET Framework 4.5
It requires .NET Framework 4.5 or later version.
Lib\net461\EAGetMail.dll Built with .NET Framework 4.6.1
It requires .NET Framework 4.6.1 or later version.
Lib\net472\EAGetMail.dll Built with .NET Framework 4.7.2
It requires .NET Framework 4.7.2 or later version.
Lib\net481\EAGetMail.dll Built with .NET Framework 4.8.1
It requires .NET Framework 4.8.1 or later version.
Lib\net6.0\EAGetMail.dll Built with .NET 6.0
It requires .NET 6.0 or later version.
Lib\net7.0\EAGetMail.dll Built with .NET 7.0
It requires .NET 7.0 or later version.
Lib\net8.0\EAGetMail.dll Built with .NET 8.0
It requires .NET 8.0 or later version.
Lib\netstandard2.0\EAGetMail.dll Built with .NET Standard 2.0
It requires .NET Standard 2.0 or later version.
Lib\net20-cf\EAGetMail.dll Built with .NET Compact Framework 2.0
It requires .NET Compact Framework 2.0, 3.5 or later version.
Lib\net35-cf\EAGetMail.dll Built with .NET Compact Framework 3.5
It requires .NET Compact Framework 3.5 or later version.

[VB.NET Example - Retrieve email from POP3 server]

Now add the following codes to the project. The following codes demonstrate how to retrieve email from a POP3 mail account. It downloads emails from POP3 server and deletes the email after the email is retrieved.

In order to run it correctly, please change email server, user, password, folder, file name values.

Imports System.Globalization
Imports System.Text
Imports System.IO
Imports EAGetMail 'imports EAGetMail namespace

Module Module1

    Function _generateFileName(ByVal sequence As Integer) As String
        Dim currentDateTime As DateTime = DateTime.Now
        Return String.Format("{0}-{1:000}-{2:000}.eml",
                            currentDateTime.ToString("yyyyMMddHHmmss", New CultureInfo("en-US")),
    End Function

    Sub Main()

            ' Create a folder named "inbox" under current directory
            ' to save the email retrieved.
            Dim localInbox As String = String.Format("{0}\inbox", Directory.GetCurrentDirectory())

            ' If the folder is not existed, create it.
            If Not Directory.Exists(localInbox) Then
            End If

            Dim oServer As New MailServer("",

            ' Enable SSL/TLS connection, most modern email server require SSL/TLS connection by default.
            oServer.SSLConnection = True
            oServer.Port = 995

            ' If your server doesn't support SSL/TLS connection, please use the following codes
            ' oServer.SSLConnection = False
            ' oServer.Port = 110

            Console.WriteLine("Connecting server ...")

            Dim oClient As New MailClient("TryIt")

            Dim infos As MailInfo() = oClient.GetMailInfos()
            Console.WriteLine("Total {0} email(s)", infos.Length)

            For i As Integer = 0 To infos.Length - 1
                Dim info As MailInfo = infos(i)
                Console.WriteLine("Index: {0}; Size: {1}; UIDL: {2}",
                        info.Index, info.Size, info.UIDL)

                ' Retrieve email from POP3 server
                Dim oMail As Mail = oClient.GetMail(info)

                Console.WriteLine("From: {0}", oMail.From.ToString())
                Console.WriteLine("Subject: {0}" & vbCr & vbLf, oMail.Subject)

                ' Generate an unqiue email file name based on date time.
                Dim fileName As String = _generateFileName(i + 1)
                Dim fullPath As String = String.Format("{0}\{1}", localInbox, fileName)

                ' Save email to local disk
                oMail.SaveAs(fullPath, True)

                ' Mark email as deleted from POP3 server.


            ' Quit and expunge emails marked as deleted from POP3 server.

        Catch ep As Exception
        End Try

    End Sub
End Module

If you set everything right, you can get emails in the mail folder. If the codes threw exception, then please have a look at the following section.

Where can I get my POP3 server address, user and password?

Because each email account provider has different server address, so you should query your POP3 server address from your email account provider. User name is your email address or your email address without domain part. It depends on your email provider setting.

When you execute above example code, if you get error about “Networking connection” or “No such host”, it is likely that your POP3 server address is not correct. If you get an error like “Invalid user or password”, it is likely that you did not set the correct user or password.

Finally, if you have already set your account in your email client such as Outlook or Window Mail, you can query your POP3 server address, user in your email client. For example, you can choose menu -> Tools -> Accounts -> Your email account -> Properties -> Servers in Outlook express or Windows Mail to get your POP3 server, user. Using EAGetMail to receive email does not require you have email client installed on your machine or MAPI, however you can query your exist email accounts in your email client.

c#/ console email sample


When you retrieve email in above simple project, if it returned an error, please have a look at the following tips:

“No Such Host” Error

This error means DNS server cannot resolve POP3 server, you should check if you input correct server address. If your server address is correct, you should check if your DNS server setting is correct.

Common “Socket/Networking Connection” Error

This error means there is a problem with networking connection to POP3 server. You can use Windows built-in Telnet command to detect the networking connection.

Using Telnet to detect networking connection to POP3 server


Notice: in Windows 2008/Windows 8 or later version, Telnet Client is not installed by default, you should enable this command in Control Panel -> Programs and Features -> Turn Windows feature on or off -> have Telnet Client checked.

Under DOS command prompt, input telnet [serveraddress] [port]

telnet 110

If the networking connection to your POP3 server is good, it should return a message like +OK .... If it returns Could not open connection to ..., that means the networking connection to POP3 server is bad, or outbound 110 port is blocked by anti-virus software, firewall or ISP. Please have a look at the following screenshot:

detect POP3 connection using telnet

POP3 110, 995 port, IMAP4 143, 993 port and SSL

  • 110 port is the default POP3 server port to receive email. 995 port is the common POP3 SSL port used to receive email over implicit SSL connection.
  • 143 port is the default IMAP4 server port, 993 port is the common port for IMAP4 SSL.

If you use telnet to test 995/993 port, it doesn’t return the +OK..., because it requires SSL hand shake. If the connection is ok, telnet returns a flash cursor.

Now SSL is commonly used, many email servers require SSL connection such as Gmail, Outlook, Office 365 and Yahoo. In this case you should set MailServer.SSLConnection to true and change MailServer.Port to 995 (POP3) or 993 (IMAP4).

“-ERR user authentication” Error

This error means user authentication is failed, you should check whether you input correct user/password. Password is always case-sensitive.

Other error returned by POP3 server

If POP3 server returns an error, it usually returns description about this error. You can use the following codes to generate a log file to learn all POP3 session between client and server.

[VB.NET - Using log file to detect POP3 server response - Example]

oClient.LogFileName = "d:\pop3.txt"

TLS 1.2

TLS is the successor of SSL, more and more Email servers require TLS 1.2 encryption now.

If your operating system is Windows XP/Vista/Windows 7/Windows 2003/2008/2008 R2/2012/2012 R2, and you got connection error with SSL/TLS connection, you need to enable TLS 1.2 protocol in your operating system like this:

Enable TLS 1.2 on Windows XP/Vista/7/10/Windows 2008/2008 R2/2012

Next Section

In this section, I introduced retrieving email in VB.NET with POP3 protocol. At next section I will introduce how to retrieve email from IMAP4 server.



If you have any comments or questions about above example codes, please click here to add your comments.