POP or IMAP protocol, which to choose?
The aim of this tutorial is to help to you differentiate POP and IMAP protocols and determine which one to use to receive your emails.
How to choose between POP and IMAP, what are the differences?
POP Protocol (Post Office Protocol), is a protocol that downloads emails from a mail server. As a rule (for default configuration) POP connects to the mail server, downloads emails, removes emails from the server and disconnects from the server.
- Thus, emails are locally stored on your computer/device
- Your folders are managed locally
IMAP Protocol (Internet Message Access Protocol) is a protocol that downloads emails stored on a mail server. Its operating is therefore very close to POP. However, it was conceived to leave the emails on the server until they get explicitly deleted.
Emails are synchronized between various devices and computers using the same IMAP account:
- reading an email on a computer implies that this email will appear as read on the webmail and any other device
- deleting an email on a computer implies that this email will be deleted on the webmail and from any other device
The below chart will help you better understand the pros and cons of each protocol :
Based on this information, it is easy to understand that POP is preferably used when a user access his emails from one device or one computer only.
While a user wishing to access their mailbox from several devices (PC, tablet, smartphone...) would prefer to use IMAP protocol.
|I use POP when||I use IMAP when|