What is the Difference Between POP vs IMAP Port?

There are two main ways that users can access their email: 

  1. POP or POP3 (Post Office Protocol) is the standard way, which has been around for decades 
  2. The newer method is IMAP (Interactive Message Access Protocol) 


POP or POP3 (Post Office Protocol)

POP, also known as POP3, is an e-mail protocol that is manually downloaded onto the PC. The mail is deleted from the server once the mail has been received by the protocol on the PC. That is why messages sent, moved, or deleted from the PC using POP can only be viewed on that individual computer. Any changes made will not be visible to other users, or alternative computers accessing the email account since changes are confined to local copies.

POP is recommend for:

  1. Users who, currently and always will, connect to email accounts from only one single desktop computer


IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol)

IMAP is an e-mail protocol that allows users to read emails as they appear on the hosting server from multiple devices. For example PC, laptop, tablet, mobile, etc. IMAP is the ideal choice to accommodate current email functionality and access.   

IMAP is recommended for:

  1. Users who connect to email accounts from many computers
  2. Users who connect to email with mobile devices (laptop, tablet, mobile, etc)
  3. Multiple users who need to access the same Email Account


Using IMAP to access your mailbox has several key advantages over POP3, which can be summarized in the following table:


POP (Post Office Protocol) IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol)
Users can use only one computer to check email                                Users can use many different devices to check email            
Users' email has to be downloaded to a particular computer before it can be viewed Users' email is always on the server                                                                                                                             
Allows users to keep a large backlog of email messages only limited by the size of their computer Users are limited by their mailbox size quota, although users can archive old messages, and save them on to their computer manually
Users have to wait for new messages to be downloaded in their entirety before they can be viewed Users have access to their emails much quicker, and only download the messages they choose   



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