POP3/IMAP

Should you use POP3 or IMAP?

Both IMAP and POP3 are protocols that allow you to receive e-mails from a remote server. Your e-mail client uses these protocol to connect to your mailbox server. You may have your e-mail client on your smartphone, laptop and desktop, and this is where IMAP and POP3 have different uses.

Post Office Protocol version 3 (POP3) downloads mail from the server and often deletes it from the server after it has done so. This means that depending on when your mail client checks for mail, you'll only receive the e-mail on one device or mail client. This also means that when you delete an e-mail from one device, it will not be deleted from another. For example, if you receive e-mails on your smartphone, deleting them won’t also delete them on your desktop mail client, so you will have an e-mail that you have viewed appear as unread.

Since POP3 downloads e-mails from the server and saves them in a local storage area, losing or damaging your local storage may cause you to lose all of your e-mails.

Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP) on the other hand, is suited for people who want to receive e-mail on more than one device, which nowadays is most people who carry a smartphone. IMAP stores e-mail on remote servers rather than downloading them to local storage, which is how the e-mails can be viewed on different devices. When your read, download or make any changes to e-mails on one device, it will synchronise across any other device using the same account. IMAP has the ability to only download the header of an e-mail so it can be much quicker.

We recommend you use IMAP.

POP3 offers very few, if any benefits. When you are setting up your mail client, you will have the option to choose from IMAP or POP3. To set up either, you simply need to access your e-mail account information through StackCP.

What is IMAP?

IMAP stands for Internet Message Access Protocol and is a protocol used to access emails via an email client on a remote server.

IMAP is suited for people who want to receive email on more than one device, which nowadays is most people who carry a smartphone. IMAP stores email on remote servers - rather than downloading them to local storage - which is how the e-mails can be viewed on different devices. When your read, download or make any changes to emails on one device, it will synchronise across any other device using the same account. IMAP has the ability to only download the header of an email so it can also be much quicker.

What is POP3?

POP3 stands for Post Office Protocol version 3 and refers to the protocol used to receive emails to your local email client from a remote server.

POP3 downloads mail from the server and often deletes on the server after it has done so. This means that depending no when your mail client checks for mail, you will only receive the email on one device or mail client. This also means that when you delete an email from one device, it will not be deleted from another. For example, if you receive emails on your smartphone, deleting them won’t also delete them on your desktop mail client, so you will have an email that you have already viewed appear as unread.

Since POP3 downloads emails from the server and saves them in a local storage area, losing or damaging your local storage may cause you to lose all your emails.