POP3 and IMAP are two different protocols used to access email. POP3 and IMAP function very differently and each has its own advantages. POP3 is useful in checking emails from a computer that is in a specific location. IMAP is the better option when you need to check your emails from multiple locations, such as at work, from home, or on the road, using different computers.
- POP3 always downloads all new emails locally to your computer.
- IMAP downloads message summaries and doesn't download the entire message until you explicitly select it.
- POP3 downloads all emails from webmail Inbox into one mail folder called "Inbox".
- IMAP preserves your webmail folder structure including "Sent" & "Deleted" folder.
- POP3 is useful if you only access your email from one computer, since the email is typically downloaded locally (this is the default and can be changed).
- IMAP allows email to be manipulated from a desktop computer at home, a workstation at the office, and a notebook computer while traveling, without the need to transfer messages or files back and forth between these computers.
- With POP3, your emails can be automatically erased from the server after they are downloaded freeing up space in your account.
- IMAP keeps all emails on the server until you erase them.
Which Do I Use to Set Up My Email?
Depending on your personal style of communicating, you can pretty quickly narrow down how you should use your email.
- If you use check your email from a lot of devices, phones, tablets or computers, set up your email clients to use IMAP.
- If you use mostly webmail and want your phone or tablets to sync with your webmail, use IMAP, as well.
- If you have multiple users who need to access the same email account, use IMAP.
- If you’re using one email client on one dedicated machine (say, in your office), you might be fine with POP3.
- If you have a huge history of email, you may want to use POP3 to keep from running out of space on the remote email server.