The process of retrieving your email is an important business. It’s a serious enterprise that requires the right decision regarding the best method to choose. Fortunately, there are only two options to pick among, but they’re very distinct from one another. Two of the most popular methods of email protocols are IMAP and POP.
POP3 and IMAP are two popular email protocols used to open emails using an email client that is a third-party or software. These are the two most widely used Email Protocols that are available on the internet. These protocols allow you in connecting to the mail server using the email client that you’ve created the email account. Email clients use both protocols to manage email and folders. They have the same function You can pick any of them to establish your email address, but there are some notable distinctions between them.
POP3 is a bit older, however, IMAP is generally the better option since it offers better, more efficient sync. IMAP is used to download and read emails and manage emails, whereas POP3 is only used to download emails. POP is a good choice on single devices that have slow internet connectivity, whereas IMAP “syncs” data between several devices especially when mailboxes are large and multiple users access an account, but POP doesn’t. IMAP is more recent and well-known than POP3. But there is many advantage and disadvantages to both, which we’ll discuss in greater detail within this post.
Let’s get straight to the point: IMAP vs POP3. Which is better and Which one should you choose and Why?
What Is IMAP / IMAP4?
IMAP stands for Internet Message Access Protocol, which lets you access email on various devices. It performs this by keeping data from the email stored on a server rather than on the device of the user. If a device connects to the email account the server pulls the most recent information available for the device. The IMAP protocol is used by all email clients and web servers.
Features of IMAP
following are some features of IMAP:
- In this configuration, the mail server instead of your local PC is the primary source of storage for your email messages.
- You can log on to several devices and computers at the same time.
- Your email archive is synchronized and saved in the servers for any devices connected to access.
- The sent messages are also saved on the server’s side in the sent folder that allows us to access the sent email from any place.
- Received and sent mail is saved in the servers until the user deletes it permanently.
- It allows you to download the email data from AOL onto your device or program.
- We won’t lose our emails, even if our device is stolen or destroyed.
- The server also stores the status of emails like read unread, or replied. It allows you to determine the email from any device or computer.
In this method, emails are not retrieved from servers. They are only retrieved at the point that a user decides to open them on any device. In the event that they are opened only a copy of the initial message is displayed with the original document safe on the server.
If the email is deleted on an email client, the email is deleted from the mail server and the changes will reflect across all email clients and devices.
IMAP also provides support for SSL/TLS transmission (it’s called IMAPS). IMAP is listen to ports 143 (plain-text) and 993 (SSL/TLS).
History Of IMAP:
Mark Crispin developed the first IMAP at Stanford University in 1986 as an alternative to POP. The following revision, which was released in the mid-1990s and referred to as IMAP2bis allowed for the use of Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (MIME) that allowed for an expansion of the variety of functions used in the administration of mailboxes. IMAP3rev1 was released in 1996 and allowed encrypted as well as plain text passwords to log in. Another feature added with the version of IMAP4 rev1 was the encryption of emails.
What Is POP / POP3?
POP3 stands for Post Office Protocol. As the name implies it allows you to use your email account like the post office. Emails are downloaded to your computer and then removed from the email server. It’s an older technology that was created to be used with only one computer. POP3 support one-way email synchronization, the ability to download emails from a server and transfer them to the client.
Features of POP3
When POP3 is used to fetch emails from servers The following process occurs:
- The connection is made between an email client and a server.
- The email was saved on your computer rather than the server, so you could read it and respond even if you weren’t connected to the internet.
- An email client downloads all emails from a server with attachments.
- An internet connection is essential just to send and receive mail. It works well offline.
- It also saves storage space on the server as the old messages are removed from the server automatically (by default).
- You can choose to save a copy your mail on the server, allowing the option to change it if you need.
- It is possible to combine multiple email account band server into one email inbox.
- In this method, the emails that are sent cannot be synched using POP and will only be saved on the device from which they originate.
- POP does not allow users to view emails on servers, browse through them, delete or arrange the emails into groups.
Note: If a different device access the email, it doesn’t be able to access the email which was downloaded from the previous device, Users must manually set up or create each of their devices. This means if users arrange their emails on one device, they’ll have to repeat the process for each device using the POP accounts for email.
POP3 is able to initiate secure SSL/TLS transmissions, also known as POP3DS. It is listening on the ports of 110 (plain-text transmission) and 995 (with SSL/TLS enabled).
History Of POP3:
The first POP was developed in 1984. This initial protocol required the username and password. It also downloads all emails simultaneously. In 1985 release of POP2 gave users more commands and responses. POP2 allowed the user to only read one email instead of needing to download all of their emails at one at the same time. In the year 1988, the launch of POP3 provided a way for computer users who use personal computers to download their emails quickly, easily and effortlessly. There have been no changes made to POP since 1998.
IMAP vs POP3: Difference between IMAP and POP3 (comparison table)
|IMAP stands for Post Office Protocol3.||POP stands for Post Office Protocol3.|
|The emails are primarily stored on servers||Email is stored primarily in the local computer.|
|The setup process of IMAP is the same across multiple devices||POP3 Setup may differ across multiple devices|
|The messages are accessible via different devices.||Mail is accessible on only one device at a time|
|The email’s headers can be downloaded and read without downloading other content.||Users need to download an email in order to read it|
|IMAP is more difficult to implement.||POP3 is quick and easy to set up and implement|
|IMAP allows you to create, update and delete email through the mail server.||Using POP3 Mails cannot be created/updated/deleted on the mail server.|
|IMAP lets you organize your mail through the mail server.||Using POP3 Mails can’t be organized on the mail server.|
|It listens on port 43, and IMAPDS(IMAP that has SSL) Listens on port 993.||It listens on port 110. And POP3DS ( POP3 that has SSL) listens on port 995.|
which should you choose and why?
Choose IMAP if:
- You are connected to an ongoing and reliable internet connection.
- If you want to establish server-side delivery rules
- If you’re accessing your email on multiple devices, such as laptops, mobiles and desktop workstations and so on. It is always recommended to use an IMAP protocol.
- You are worried about the possible loss of data and you’re required to keep a backup of your data in the cloud
Choose POP if:
- If you’ve a limited internet connection. So getting emails all at once is the best option.
- If you want to get access mail on one device, it is always recommended to use POP3
- There is a limited amount of server storage space and are trying to save storage on your servers.
- You’d like to check your email while you’re not connected to the internet.
It is important to understand the way POP and IMAP operate to pick the best one to meet your email needs. In the above discussion, it is clear that IMAP is the more effective option and is the best choice to work if we need to access our email via several devices. However, POP3 is suitable if we only access emails on only one device, and want for them to be accessible offline.