Blog Post.

What is the difference between POP3 and IMAP? When to use what and why ?

Posted on : 24/07/2017

POP3 and IMAP are two different protocols (methods) used to access email.

Of the two, IMAP is the better option - and the recommended option - when you need to check your emails from multiple
devices, such as a work laptop, a home computer, or a tablet, smartphone, or other mobile device. Tap into your synced
(updated) account from any device with IMAP.

POP3 downloads email from a server to a single computer, then deletes it from the server. Because your messages get
downloaded to a single computer or device and then deleted from the server, it can appear that mail is missing or
disappearing from your Inbox if you try to check your mail from a different computer.

POP3 - Post Office Protocol

  • You can use only one computer to check your email (no other devices).
  • Your mails are stored on the computer that you use.
  • Sent mail is stored locally on your PC, not on a mail server.

IMAP - Internet Messaging Access Protocol

  • You can use multiple computers and devices to check your email
  • Your mails are stored on the server
  • Sent mail stays on the server so you can see it from any device.

Which Do I Use to Set Up My Email?

Depending on your personal style of communicating and whom you prefer to get your email service from, you can pretty
quickly narrow down how you should use your email.

  • If you use check your email from a lot of devices, phones, or computers, set up your email clients to use IMAP.
  • If you use mostly webmail and want your phone or iPad to sync with your webmail, use IMAP, as well.
  • If you’re using one email client on one dedicated machine (say, in your office), you might be fine with POP3, but we’d recommend IMAP.
  • If you have a huge history of email and you’re using an old mail provider without a lot of drive space, you may want to use POP3 to keep from running out of space on the remote email server.
  • Privacy is another reason to rely on POP3.Keeping your email on your devices, and off of third-party servers, means anyone who wants to look at your email has to come to you and not your email provider.
  • Storage is another reason to use POP3. Internet Service Providers or website hosting services often set limits on how much mail can be stored on their servers.

It’s all about storage and privacy.

If you need backup of your mails on local system for any type of disaster recovery than go with POP3.

Important Note : Email account deleted on server / hosting account will loss all data if user using IMAP. So try to avoid this case and make account up and running. Service provider change also impact data if user using IMAP.