Email Protocols - POP vs IMAP

What is the difference between POP3 and IMAP?

POP3 (Post Office Protocol) and IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol) allow email users to access email from a remote server.

POP3 Protocol
POP3 downloads email to your computer and by default deletes the email from the remote server. Problems arise if a user has more than one device where from which they access and read their email such as from a desktop, laptop, tablet or phone. The problem arises when an email message has been downloaded and deleted from the server and is then unavailable to other devices.

With POP3 there is an option to leave messages undeleted but his often results in a problems with syncronization and disk quota limits. When logging into each device, you will see lots of unread emails with no indication of which you deleted, read, flagged or filed. Folders created and messages organized on one device won't be replicated or available on other devices.

IMAP Protocol
IMAP allows users to store and organize email messages in their email accounts on remote servers. This includes the ability to mark messages read or unread and the creation of folders for organizational purposes including Sent messages and draft messages. This two-way protocol also allows the user to synchronize their email among multiple devices, which is extremely important today, when most people have at least two devices - desktop/laptop and smartphone.

IMAP does have many advantages over the POP3 protocol but also requires the additional management requirement of keeping an eye on disk quota limits to avoid bouncing email messages. An email account that reaches its disk quota will cause new incoming messages to be rejected.

Additional Information
For additional questions or concerns please contact our friendly and knowledable support staff, consult the Support Knowledgebase or submit a Support Ticket:

  • POP, IMAP, Email
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