The interactions between email servers and clients are governed by email protocols. The three common email protocols are POP3, IMAP and MAPI. Here, I’m going to tell you about two important protocols POP3 and IMAP.
POP3 and IMAP both are application layer Internet standard protocols used by email clients for email retrieval and storage. IMAP is designed as an alternative to POP (Post Office Protocol).
Now, I’m going to tell you about both of them: POP3 and IMAP individually. After that, you’ll learn the appropriate and exact differences between these two email protocols.
Post Office Protocol (POP)
POP stands for Post Office Protocol. As POP is older design of email protocol but it continuously releases its new versions to enhance with compatibility and performance. Its current version is POP3.
The main procedure of POP3 is to retrieve all inbound messages from remote server to download on client side and delete them from the server side. The important benefit of this protocol is that you can disconnect from the server after storing the mail and read it offline.
However, most email clients has the option to leave the copies of mails on the server after downloaded, but generally most of POP uses the flow – download copy, delete and disconnect from server.
Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP)
IMAP stands for Internet Message Access Protocol which was developed 1986 as an alternative to POP (Post Office Protocol). The IMAP is now in version 4 and that’s why written as IMAP4. It is newer email protocol.
IMAP unlike POP allows multiple clients simultaneously connected to the same mailbox. Different clients accessing the same mailbox at the same or different times can detect state changes made by other clients through flags stored on the server.
Difference Between POP3 & IMAP
There’re multiple differences between POP3 and IMAP email protocols. I’ve listed them one by one, that’s why you’ll feel easiness in learning.
- IMAP unlike POP, specifically allows multiple clients simultaneously connected to the same mailbox.
- In POP3, you need to download all email again when using another desktop PC to check your email. But in IMAP, you don’t need to download all email when using other desktop PC to check your email.
- In POP3, you may be confused in identify unread emails but in IMAP it’s very easier to identify unread mails.
- In POP3, the mails may be deleted after downloaded from the server according to your client’s setting, whereas there is no danger of removing mails in IMAP.
- All messages as well as their attachments will be downloaded into desktop PC during the ‘check new email’ process in POP3 and in IMAP the whole message will be downloaded only when it is opened for display.
- In POP3, there is no option for creating mailboxes on server. There’s only one mailbox (Inbox) on the server. You can create mailboxes on the desktop while using POP3. On the other hand,with IMAP you can create multiple mailboxes on the desktop as well as on the server.
So, I think these differences and the above given information is enough to know about POP3 and IMAP. I hope you have learnt what really the POP, POP3 and IMAP are. If still there is any problem, then our comment box welcomes you!