07 Feb

POP and IMAP Email - Which one should you use?

POP and IMAP Email

Choosing between POP and IMAP email these days is an easy choice. Most email programs and apps will automatically setup your accounts just by entering your username and password. However, if the process fails, you may need to enter the settings manually. If you are like me and have been using email accounts since the late 90’s then you have probably heard of POP and IMAP email, but what is the difference?

This Article will explain the differences between the protocols in layman’s terms and which one best suits your requirements.

  • IMAP: Internet Message Access protocol
  • POP: Post Office Protocol

Both are email protocols which allow you to read emails locally with a third party software application such as Microsoft Outlook, Mac Mail, Eudora or Thunderbird.

The first protocol used was POP which was created back in 1984.  POP allowed users to download their emails from a remote server. Later came IMAP which allows you to access emails directly which are stored or hosted on the remote server.

In short, POP downloads emails to your PC, Mac or Phone. IMAP leaves them on the server and caches them temporarily on your device. IMAP stores your emails permanently and safely in the cloud.

like this:

 

POP Basic functions

  • User connects to POP server
  • Emails are downloaded and stored locally
  • Emails are removed from the server (Default option)
  • If you use this option and wish to setup on another device, you will find no email on the server!
  • Deleting emails from the server automatically are for those who only have a limited amount of storage
  • Don’t panic – POP Client now provides an option to “leave copy on server”

 

Why is POP Bad?

  • You are forced to read and/or delete the same email on every device that you have set emails up on
  • If you only use email on one device this is fine, but for multiple devices this is a hassle
  • Folders that have been created on one device will have to be created again on alternate devices. Folders will not replicate to all devices that you have set the email account up on.

 

IMAP Basic functions

  • User connects to IMAP server
  • Emails are locally cached to your device
  • When you read or delete and email on one device, that action is synchronised to all other devices.
  • Copies are kept locally and on the server unless deleted from the server manually

Benefits of IMAP

Today people have multiple email accounts synchronised across a number of devices: smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktop PC’s.  This is essential in today’s market.  When using IMAP and a user deletes or reads an email on any device, the action is replicated across all devices.

Folders that have been created on one device will also be replicated across all devices simultaneously.

If you are still using POP email you should consider changing your settings to IMAP to get the benefits, however you MUST backup your POP email prior to switching to IMAP.

 

IMAP settings for all the popular free email services

Gmail

Incoming Mail (IMAP) Server

  • Server – imap.gmail.com
  • Port – 993
  • Requires SSL – Yes

Outgoing Mail (SMTP) Server

  • Server – smtp.gmail.com
  • Port – 465 
  • Requires SSL – Yes
  • Requires authentication – Yes

 

Yahoo

Incoming Mail (IMAP) Server

  • Server – imap.mail.yahoo.com
  • Port – 993
  • Requires SSL – Yes

Outgoing Mail (SMTP) Server

  • Server – smtp.mail.yahoo.com
  • Port – 465 or 587
  • Requires SSL – Yes
  • Requires authentication – Yes

Outlook.com

Incoming Mail (IMAP) Server

  • Server – imap.mail.outlook.com
  • Port – 993
  • Requires SSL – Yes

Outgoing Mail (SMTP) Server

  • Server – smtp.mail.outlook.com
  • Port – 587
  • Requires TLS – Yes
  • Requires authentication – Yes

AOL

Incoming Mail (IMAP) Server

  • Server – imap.aol.com
  • Port – 993
  • Requires SSL – Yes

Outgoing Mail (SMTP) Server

  • Server – smtp.aol.com
  • Port – 587
  • Requires TLS – Yes
  • Requires authentication – Yes

 

Hopefully, you now understand the difference between POP and IMAP email and can successfully switch your accounts, but if you need assistance in making the change, Geeks Remote Support can help. We provide online pc support and can help you switch your accounts to IMAP.

You can book online or call us on 0203 376 370

 

Share this