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Differences Between POP3 and IMAP Protocols

POP3 and IMAP protocols are used for the incoming e-mail server.

Note : The PlanetHoster Glossary contains explanations on multiple topics and can be consulted to clarify certain terms.

POP (Post Office Protocol)

POP3 works by retrieving e-mail messages without leaving a copy on the server.

This technique is the old protocol used for receiving e-mail messages. Although this protocol is still functional, POP3 does not leave the e-mail on the server: it is therefore not possible to synchronize the same e-mails on several devices, as, for example, if you want to set up the same e-mails box on a computer, a cell phone, a tablet, and so on. IMAP, on the other hand, is the solution for such synchronization.

IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol)

The IMAP protocol enables e-mail to be stored on the server. This means messages can be accessed on different e-mail clients (computers, smartphones, webmail, etc.).

Unlike POP3, only one copy of the e-mail is transferred locally to your devices. In this way, a copy of the message always exists on the server. This protocol makes it possible to synchronize e-mails with several devices at the same time. What is more, by keeping a copy of your e-mails on the server, you will never lose an important e-mail.

Email security

IMAP and POP3 accounts offer the option of using encryption (SSL) to protect your e-mail data. Certain settings must be used to apply SSL encryption:

IMAP incoming portPOP3 incoming portOutgoing port IMAP and POP3 (SMTP)
Configuration with SSL/TLS993995465
Non-SSL Configuration14311026

In both cases, you will also need to select the authentication option when configuring the e-mail.

Updated on 17 July 2023

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