Difference between POP and IMAP

Knowledge base article id: 34

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.

DIfferences at a glance

  IMAP POP
Flexibility Can view just message headers, and then choose which messages to download. Have to download all messages at once.
Delete or move a message without having to download it. Must download all messages.
Option to download only the body of a message. Must download entire message, including attachments.
Synchronisation View messages in all folders. Only view messages from the Inbox.
Changes made via our web interface or email software stay in sync everywhere. Once downloaded, changes can only be made on local email software.
Access messages at home, work, and through the web. Access messages only from a single device.
Safety All messages kept with multiple redundant copies on our servers Once downloaded, the message only exists on your local computer. If it crashes, the message is lost.



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