This article provides you with information regarding IMAP and POP and reasons why you would choose one over the other.

POP (Post Office Protocol) 

POP3 allows you to download copies of your email messages to your personal computer. Here the difference between POP & IMAP. Any changes you make will NOT be visible to other users or computers accessing the email account, since you are only making changes to local copies. Consequently, messages sent moved or deleted from a computer using POP. It can only be viewed on that individual computer’s folders.

The copies of the email messages on the server are normally unchanged but it is very easy to unintentionally configure your POP3 program to delete those server copies whenever you download the emails or at a future time.

POP is recommended for:

  • Users prefer to keep a backup of all their messages and have very limited time to be online but need to read emails.

  • Users need to archive permanent copies of their emails. (e.g. before you terminate that email name or its hosting provider).

IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol) 

IMAP4  allows you to read emails as they appear on the hosting server. All messages and any changes you make (delete, reply, forward, move) are seen by anyone else who logs into webmail. Alternatively, depending on program configuration, messages may be temporarily saved for offline viewing.

IMAP is recommended for:

  • Users who connect to email accounts from many computers and users with mobile devices with internet access, such as smart phones or tablets.

  • Multiple users who need to access the same email account and wish to always have their messages, including sent messages and message folders, saved on the server.

TIP: IMAP is perfect for multiple users who need to access the same email account or one user who needs to access emails from multiple locations.  POP3 is perfect for quickly downloading emails and reading them offline or on the go (though you do have to be online to reply to emails). POP3 is also a great way to save copies of your emails on your personal computer.