Fact Checked

Why Doesn't AOL Allow Clickable Links in Its Emails?

Sherry Holetzky
Sherry Holetzky

Many people believe that AOL, or America Online, simply does not allow clickable links in its emails at all. It is true that older versions of AOL keep these links, called hyperlinks, from being used in emails unless they are used in a specific manner, with specific code. This is why you often see a completely separate link in emails, which is designated for AOL users.

The reason for this is that AOL email messages, especially in older versions of the program, are mainly text. Yet, even though messages are not fully HTML, anchor tags are required in order to use clickable links. The older versions of AOL, basically find or filter HTML tags and format them as they would appear in a browser.

Woman doing a handstand with a computer
Woman doing a handstand with a computer

Many users simply copy or cut and paste the information into the browser and then search for the destination indicated in the link. Yet, this can be problematic for new computer users or new AOL customers accustomed to clickable links. Those who may not realize it’s necessary, those who haven’t yet learned to cut and paste, or those who don’t know where to paste the link in order to proceed may be frustrated. Long links may break as well, leaving out necessary characters.

The new versions of AOL email interpret HTML better, allowing more versatility for users. However, that does not mean that all clients will upgrade and use the newer versions. Many may still be using 5.0 or an earlier version, which means that the links still won’t work properly, even if you are an AOL member who has upgraded. Therefore, it’s probably still best to include a separate, AOL friendly link if you want clickable links to be available to those who receive email from you.

In conclusion, it is not necessarily the case that AOL does not “allow” clickable links. The newer versions in fact do. It is more a matter of past versions of the email program that may be still in use, having issues with the formatting. Those versions do not readily accept clickable links in the typical format, so unless or until all users upgrade, the links will not work properly for all users. If you are using an outdated version of the AOL email program, and you want to be able to use hyperlinks, the simplest option is to upgrade.

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Discussion Comments


I do not use the AOL software (browser), but I do use the AOL website every day to manage my email. the problem arises when in include a link in an outgoing email. In my preferences I have checked HTML composing, but the links people receive from me are not clickable! However, if I send the mail to myself what I receive is the clickable link! Most of my friends are too lazy to cut and paste the none clickable links which adds to the problem. I use Firefox and I guess I should check how I have it set up.


@tbow2k-- That's a bummer. I have a few friends who are still using AOL. I will keep this in mind because I send egreeting cards a lot.


@fBoyle-- I know what you mean and I think the problem is with AOL. The new version of AOL allows the user to include a clickable link, but sometimes it can't interpret email links sent by another email server. I don't think there is anything that can be done about that.

This is why many newsletters include the whole html address for the link and ask AOL users to simply copy and paste it into their address bar. The best way to overcome this issue, if possible, is to include the link as an attachment.

It also depends on how tech savvy the person is. Some people can work they way around this issue and others can't.


So I understand that the older versions of AOL doesn't allow its users to put clickable links in the email. But why do AOL users have difficulty opening links when it's sent from a different email server?

I don't use AOL but my wife does. When I send her something with a clickable link from my email, she can't open it. It's frustrating.


I have a friend using aol 9.7 and the links aren't clickable for things like egreeting cards.

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