In this article; we'll be going over the differences between POP3 and IMAP, as well as their use-case scenarios. One of the first things you should know is that both of these are what is called "Email Protocols".
These services are used for communication between a device and the server for incoming emails. They can be used for various applications, including but not limited to websites too.
Now days, email is relied on for most important communications due to how quickly it can reach another individual, as such, it's important to know which protocol would work best for the individual using it.
With that in mind, we'll go over each protocol and their advantages/disadvantages to help better inform you, the reader!
IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol) is usually the recommended choice of email protocol when it comes to handling your emails. This is because it has the best advantage for those with the busy lifestyle. Many people now days utilize multiple devices and have their email setup across all those devices, so IMAP works best as it allows all of these devices to have the same access to emails whenever necessary.
IMAP Protocol uses two ports
Secured port is over SSL/TLS and the preferred method of connection for encryption purposes. Don't want those emails out in the open. :)
There are some caveats to this and we'll go over them in the advantages and disadvantages of IMAP.
Advantages of IMAP
Disadvantages of IMAP
When using IMAP; there are some recommendations to ensuring that your mail is safe.
In the event of a server failure; you'll want to have your own backups.
It's not recommended to rely on your hosting company as your primary source of backups – it's always best to have local copies of your own backups.
When all is said and done the advantages mostly outweigh the disadvantages when it comes to using IMAP.
If you need to access your email anywhere; then IMAP is going to be the protocol to use. It syncs across all devices and is always accessible via webmail (if applicable)
POP3 (Post Office Protocol) is the other email protocol used for incoming mail on devices with email capabilities. This method involves downloading the email to a single device for local storage. This relies on the local storage to maintain copies of that email for viewing. When this occurs; it removes the email from the server making it unavailable for any other device.
This can cause problems for those who use IMAP on their primary mailing devices such as their workstation; but POP3 for their mobile devices.
The function can be disabled if the email server handling the mail offers that configuration.
POP3 operates over two protocols
As with IMAP; you want to be using the secured protocol.
Here are some advantages and disadvantages of POP3:
Advantages of POP3
Disadvantages of POP3
POP3 is useful if you only ever plan on accessing mail from one device due to how it handles mail by default.
When mail is accessed via POP3; it gets removed from the server – which means if you plan to utilize webmail, your mail won't be there.
In the end; it's really up to you how you you want to handle your mail, we hope this has been informational for you to understand the differences between to two to help decide which might fit your use case better.