All major email clients allow mailboxes to be accessed via either POP3 or IMAP. However, for new users to web hosting will often be confused about the difference between POP3 and IMAP email hosting.
First off we’ll start by introducing you to both protocols and what they stand for.
What does IMAP stand for?
IMAP stands for Instant messaging application protocol.
What does POP3 stand for?
POP stands for Post Office Protocol. The 3 is the reference to the version of the protocol.
So what exactly are POP3 and IMAP?
POP3 and IMAP are two different protocols. With POP3 your emails are downloaded directly from the mail server onto your computer or device. Your computer will store a “local copy” of the mail, and usually, delete it from the server.
The downside to POP3 is that when you can create local folders on your computer to organise the mail, you won’t see these or your mail if you log in using webmail.
Additionally, if you create folders to organise your mail in webmail, you won’t be able to access these on your desktop client.
The benefits of POP3 is that mail will only contribute towards the mailbox limits while it is left on the server.
In contrast, with IMAP the mail is left on the server (where it will continue contributing towards your mailbox limit).
However, with IMAP if you create folders/organise your mail in your desktop client, you will see this update when you log in with the webmail client (and vice-versa). Similarly, when you mark a message as “read” in webmail, it will appear “read” in your desktop client
If you are looking for email only web hosting providers remember that you can find a list of the best email hosting providers on the email providers section of our website.