IMAP vs. POP: Which is best for your situation?

IMAP vs. POP 3

When you first set up your website using cPanel you will probably want a unique email address that is more professional than a standard Gmail or Hotmail address. The good thing about setting up an email address is you basically set it up once and never need to worry about it again unless you change computers. During the install set-up stage you will get asked if you want to use either  IMAP or a POP3 account as your server type. This is one of the most misunderstood aspects of the email set-up and can have big implications on your business email down the track. I’ve done my best to explain the difference between IMAP and POP 3 below.

E‑mail server types

Rack Servers & cPanel support three types of e‑mail servers, so you do need to know which one suits your needs best:

POP3: Post Office Protocol 3

  • POP3 Servers: The vast majority of small business and personal accounts use POP3 protocol. The reason why this is standard practice is your web server will hold the email until you check your emails. Once you have read your emails using Outlook, Windows Mail, Thunderbird, or another email program, the emails are transferred to your personal computer and deleted from your server. This is great for companies on a budget as you only have to pay the standard web hosting fees as the size of your email storage space is only what is in your Inbox ,not the other non-inbox folders such as Archives, 2013, Work etc.

IMAP: Internet Message Access Protocol

  • IMAP servers: IMAP servers are used by medium to large sized businesses with the budget that allows all emails to be stored on both their computers and their servers. Companies using IMAP can view, delete and organise emails on the servers before staff download the emails. Once emails have been viewed on a staff members computer a copy is kept on the server as well as being stored on the individuals computer. This is adventageous as management can view all emails at any time on the server. This allows for companies to keep spam under control as well as have additional security features and of course keep an eye on staff!

SMTP: Simple Mail Transfer Protocol

  •  SMTP servers: At Rack Servers we use SMTP for all our outgoing e‑mail messages, every time you send an email you’ll be using the SMTP server.

If you’d like some more helpful hints on getting the most from your Web Hosting Account check our Knowledgebase regularly.

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About Robin Jennings

I'm a creative web designer that specialises in designing and marketing websites for small business owners, community groups and creative types. I'm based in regional Victoria but work with clients Australia-Wide as well as a healthy sprinkling of overseas clients through my Web Design Agency: Explainafide

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