Using Outside ISPs

You Can Use Your Own ISP

ISPs provide connections to the Internet through dial-in access (e.g., AOL and MSN), DSL connection (e.g., U.S.West), and cable modem service. You can use an ISP other than the UW to access almost every resource on the UW network.

You will want to start by installing the connectivity solution (this may involve extra hardware as well as software) provided by your ISP. Then, you will need to use some settings that are different than those used for the UW-provided (dial-in or on campus) connection.

Desktop Email

You can find step-by-step instructions for configuring your desktop email program for use with UW (Deskmail) Email under Configuring Your Email Programs for UW Email.

Specifying The SMTP Server

The one field that is different than what is in your desktop email configuration is the name used for SMTP server. You need to contact your ISP for the name of its SMTP (outgoing mail) server.

If your SMTP (outgoing mail) server is set to the UW server but you are NOT connected via a UW-provided connection, you might find that email sent to people at the UW goes through but messages sent to non-UW addresses do not. The reason this happens is that email originating outside of the UW (i.e., from a non-UW network) and destined for an address outside the UW is not accepted by smtp.washington.edu unless the connection is authenticated and encrypted. This policy prevents the UW SMTP server from becoming a "spam relay," forwarding on junk email coming and going across the Internet.

You can solve this problem by using the SMTP service provided by your ISP, rather than the UW SMTP service, (consult your ISP's tech support for the name of their SMTP server) or by setting the SMTP authentication and encryption option when you configure your desktop software to use the UW SMTP server.

You also might run into a problem when your SMTP (outgoing mail) server is set to your ISP's server but your email address is set to your UW address. Some ISPs do not permit this configuration. If you experience this problem, contact your ISP for assistance.

UW Restricted Sites

You might run into some "UW restricted" sites when accessing the UW network from an outside ISP. You will see a message similar to:

The IP address associated with the computer you are using is not authorized for access. This service might not be available to you from your current location or computer. Please contact your institution's administrator for more information. (210)

Certain websites are restricted to computers connecting directly from the UW network, so to reach them you might have to connect using your UW account.

UW Libraries has developed a way for members of the the University community to access its "restricted" catalog database from a non-UW ISP. See the Libraries Information Gateway for directions on how to do this.

If you need help connecting to other restricted websites, contact the group or department that administers the website to determine whether alternative methods of authentication are available for that service.

If you need help or have questions about the information on this page, Send a question to UW Information Technology.

Last modified: June 3, 2013