FAQ - Difference between IMAP and POP3

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Difference between IMAP and POP3

When you set up an email address in an email client, you will need to decide if you want to set it up as POP3 or IMAP. Both of them are ways to connect to the mail server so you can read your emails through an email client.

  • With IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol), the message does not remain on the local device, such as a computer, it remains on the server.
  • With POP3 (Post Office Protocol) mail, it will connect and attempt to keep the mail located on the local device (computer or mobile).
Comparison IMAP POP3
Speed Slow Fast
Mail Storage Always on server,
limited by server diskspace allocation.
Downloaded onto local device,
unless "Leave a copy on the server" is selected.
Mail Syncing Yes No
Direction Bi-directional
Changes you make on server or device, will be reflected on the others.
Changes made on device have no effect on server content.
Offline Use Emails downloaded can be read or deleted when offline. Changes made on the device are synced with the server when device goes online. Emails can be read offline once downloaded; device only needs to go online to download email.


Why Use IMAP

  • You wish to access all your email and folders from different devices like mobile, laptop and workstation desktop.
  • You have a reliable and constant internet connection.
  • You want to receive a quick overview of new emails or emails on the server before downloading.
  • You do not have a lot of email or you have a lot of server storage.
  • You do not wish to perform local backup of your email.

Why Use POP3

  • You mainly access email using a single device.
  • You need constant access to all your email.
  • You don't have a consistent connection to the internet.
  • You have a lot of email or limited server storage.
  • You do not wish to perform email housekeeping on the server end.

Our Recommendation (If you use multiple devices and have limited server storage)

  • Set up your primary device (i.e Computer) as POP3 and enabled the option "Leave a Copy on the Server" for 14 to 30 days.
  • Set your secondary device (i.e Mobile Phone) as IMAP, so you always have the latest email (14 to 30 days) available on the move.

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