Knowing how to view the source code of an email that landed in your inbox could be crucial to your protection against spoofing attacks that aim to obtain sensitive information. If you believe that a message you have received is forged, checking its source is the best way of figuring out of this is indeed the case. In this guide, we are going to explain how you can do that, using the most commonly used mail client out there. Hopefully, by getting acquainted with the method related to the app you are utilizing, you will be able to prevent your personal information from being compromised.
An email source code, or in some places referred to as the header of the email, contains invaluable data. This data includes the way the message was enciphered and by whom. For instance, it can tell you the reason behind an undelivered email. Below, you can find some pieces of information that may be held within the message source code:
- If you are using a spam detection software, you will receive information about the spam score and why did the server reject the email. The reason could be it failed SPF or DKIM verification, or the spam score was too high (which usually means that the email was indeed spam).
- The IP/Hostname of the server from which the email originated. You can then use this IP or hostname and trace it to confirm if the mail is legitimate if you have any doubts.
- Who is the recipient that was meant to receive the message?
- Any extra information the mail server included in the header. For example, the mail server could provide information about the script that sent the email.
Viewing the source code of the message varies based on each email client. Let's start with the Webmail client first:
This article assumes that you already know how to log into the Webmail, and you are able to access the mail client provided by it. If that is not the case, you can check our articles on how to Log Into the Webmail and Access Roundcube or Horde.
- Please log in to the Webmail and select horde as your mail application.
- Please open an email by double-clicking it.
- On the top right corner, you will see the "View Source" link. Please click it to display the source of the message!
- Please log in to the Webmail and select RoundCube as your mail application.
- Please double-click a message to open it.
- When the message is opened, please elect the triple dot icon above the message labeled as "More", and from the dropdown, select "source code".
Let's go over the most commonly used email clients now:
- Please log in to your Gmail account.
- Open up an email by pressing on it.
- Please point your attention to the top right corner of the message. There you will see a triple-dot button that is a dropdown menu. Press it to expand the options and then select "Show original".
- This process will display the email source code.
- Please open your Mac Mail client.
- Please press the "View" dropdown located on the top, and when it expands, hover over the "Message" option. When the rest of the options are shown on the right, please select "All Headers".
- The message headers will be presented to you in another window.
Note that these steps will cover the way to view the email headers for the following email clients: Outlook for Office 365, Outlook 2019, Outlook 2016, Outlook 2013, and Outlook 2010.
- Open your Outlook email client.
- Open the message you want to view the source code in a separate window.
- Please access the "File" tab and select the "Info" option.
- Please press the "Properties" icon that will be shown after the "Info" option has been selected.
- You will see the source of the message located in a content box on the bottom of the "Properties Window" on the right side of the "Internet headers" sign.
- Please open your Mozilla Thunderbird mail client.
- Highlight a message you want to view the source code of and then press the "View" menu located on the top.
- From the dropdown that expands upon pressing the "View" menu, please select the "Message Source" option.