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What is the difference between POP and IMAP?

POP (Post Office Protocol)

POP3 allows you to download copies of your emails to your computer. Any changes you make on your computer will NOT be visible to other users or computers accessing the email account since you are only making changes to the copies on your computer. Therefor, when sending, moving or deleting mails the changes will only be visible on the computer using the POP connection.

The original emails on the server are normally unchanged, but it is easy configure your POP3 program to delete mails from the server whenever you download the emails or at a time in the future.

POP is recommended for:

  • Users who prefer to keep a backup of all their messages
  • Users who are online for limited time but need to read emails
  • Users who need to archive permanent copies of their emails.

IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol)

IMAP4 allows you to synchronize mails with the mail hosting server. All messages and any changes made (delete, reply, forward, move) are seen by anyone else who logs into webmail or IMAP.

IMAP is recommended for:

  • Users who connect to email accounts from many computers or devices (phones, tablets, etc.)
  • Multiple users who need to access one email account
  • Users who wish to always have their messages and changes to them saved on the server as they appear on their computer