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IMAP URL Scheme (RFC2192) Disclosure Number: IPCOM000002750D
Original Publication Date: 1997-Sep-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2019-Feb-15
Document File: 16 page(s) / 19K

Publishing Venue

Internet Society Requests For Comment (RFCs)

Related People

C. Newman: AUTHOR

Related Documents

10.17487/RFC2192: DOI


This document defines a URL scheme for referencing objects on an IMAP server. [STANDARDS-TRACK]

This text was extracted from a PDF file.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 11% of the total text.

Network Working Group C. Newman Request for Comments: 2192 Innosoft Category: Standards Track September 1997


Status of this memo

This document specifies an Internet standards track protocol for the Internet community, and requests discussion and suggestions for improvements. Please refer to the current edition of the "Internet Official Protocol Standards" (STD 1) for the standardization state and status of this protocol. Distribution of this memo is unlimited.


IMAP [IMAP4] is a rich protocol for accessing remote message stores. It provides an ideal mechanism for accessing public mailing list archives as well as private and shared message stores. This document defines a URL scheme for referencing objects on an IMAP server.

1. Conventions used in this document

The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "SHOULD", "SHOULD NOT", and "MAY" in this document are to be interpreted as defined in "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate Requirement Levels" [KEYWORDS].

2. IMAP scheme

The IMAP URL scheme is used to designate IMAP servers, mailboxes, messages, MIME bodies [MIME], and search programs on Internet hosts accessible using the IMAP protocol.

The IMAP URL follows the common Internet scheme syntax as defined in RFC 1738 [BASIC-URL] except that clear text passwords are not permitted. If :<port> is omitted, the port defaults to 143.

Newman Standards Track [Page 1]

RFC 2192 IMAP URL Scheme September 1997

An IMAP URL takes one of the following forms:

imap://<iserver>/ imap://<iserver>/<enc_list_mailbox>;TYPE=<list_type> imap://<iserver>/<enc_mailbox>[uidvalidity][?<enc_search>] imap://<iserver>/<enc_mailbox>[uidvalidity]<iuid>[isection]

The first form is used to refer to an IMAP server, the second form refers to a list of mailboxes, the third form refers to the contents of a mailbox or a set of messages resulting from a search, and the final form refers to a specific message or message part. Note that the syntax here is informal. The authoritative formal syntax for IMAP URLs is defined in section 11.

3. IMAP User Name and Authentication Mechanism

A user name and/or authentication mechanism may be supplied. They are used in the "LOGIN" or "AUTHENTICATE" commands after making the connection to the IMAP server. If no user name or authentication mechanism is supplied, the user name "anonymous" is used with the "LOGIN" command and the password is supplied as the Internet e-mail address of the end user accessing the resource. If the URL doesn’t supply a user name, the program interpreting the IMAP URL SHOULD request one from the user if necessary.

An authentication mechanism can be expressed by adding ";AUTH=<enc_auth_type>" to the end of the user name. When such an <enc_auth_type> is indicated, the client SHOULD request appropriate credentials from that mechanism and use the "AUTHENTICATE" command instead of the "LOGIN" command. If no user name is specified, one SHOULD be obtained from the mechanism or requested from the user as appropriate. ...