POP – IMAP difference is one of the point you consider when you configure mail clients. You need to do either IMAP Email client configuration or POP Email client configuration. For example when you configure mail clients for your Gmail or Yahoo mail accounts, you have to choose between these two. Knowing the difference and features will help you to decide on which protocol to use while configuring the email clients.
In internet standards SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) is used for sending e-mail and POP and IMAP for retrieving e-mails.
POP (Post Office Protocol) is an application-layer protocol used by local e-mail clients to retrieve e-mail from a remote server over a TCP/IP connection. Similarly IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol) also a different protocol with almost the same purpose. But they are different in terms of features and modes of operation. IMAP, when compared to POP, provides more complete and complex remote access to typical mailbox operations.
Let us check the features and feature difference of IMAP and POP.
What is POP and POP3 ? POP Supported features?
In simple terms the Post Office Protocol or POP is an application-layer protocol used by local e-mail clients to retrieve e-mail from a remote server. The current version is 3 known as POP3. POP3 is supported by almost all major webmail services such as Gmail and Yahoo! Mail.
The general feature of POP clients generally is to connect mail server, retrieve all messages, store them on the user’s PC as new messages, delete them from the server, and then disconnect. Connect, Retrieve, Delete and Disconnect are the major operations done by POP3 email clients.
Many POP clients have an option to leave mail on server after download, so that it will not delete the email from the mail server. This feature is sometimes really useful. POP3 server listens on well-known port 110 and also supports secure communication with the mail server on port 995.
Since all the mails are getting downloaded to the local PC you can access all your mails even when you aren’t connected to the Internet.
What is IMAP ? IMAP supported features?
IMAP or the Internet Message Access Protocol is also an application-layer protocol used by local e-mail clients to retrieve e-mail from a remote server. The current version of IMAP is IMAP version 4 revision 1 or IMAP4
Most of the email client supports IMAP. IMAP clients generally leave messages on the server until the user explicitly deletes them and this allows multiple email clients to connect and retrieve and manage the messages from the same mail server.
IMAP4 clients allows to manage mailboxes (typically represented as folders) on server . IMAP clients can create, rename, and/or delete mailboxes on the server. Also you can move messages between mailboxes. This feature of multiple mailbox support also allows servers to provide access to shared and public folders. IMAP clients also supports server side searches and this allows you to search messages that meets certain criteria without downloading all the messages to the client. Normally IMAP server listens on port 143.
IMAP vs POP – POP IMAP difference- What’s the difference between IMAP and POP?
- IMAP Unlike POP offers two-way communication between your webmail server and your email client. The operations you perform on email clients wil appear in email server also. If you directly access the email server you will find the changes you have performed in email client. For example you have created a mailbox in client and the same will be reflected in server.
- Using IMAP you can access your mail server from many different clients. Since IMAP has two-way syncing capabilities, it avoids problems like downloading same messages multiple times by your email clients. This usually happens in POP clients.
- Normally IMAP creates a constant connection between mail clients and the Mail server. But POP clients generally connects to mail server, retrieve all messages, store them on the user’s PC as new messages, delete them from the server, and then disconnects. There is als no two may communication between mail server and client.
- Finally you have to remember that POP and IMAP are e-mail only protocol. Items such as contacts, appointments or tasks cannot be managed or accessed using IMAP or POP.
Here is a list of popular email clients
- Microsoft Outlook
- Outlook Express
- Windows Live Mail
- Windows Mail
- Microsoft Entourage
- Pegasus Mail
- Mozilla’s Thunderbird
- Netscape Messenger
- Apple Inc.’s Mail
- SeaMonkey Mail
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Comments on “IMAP vs POP. What is POP ? What is IMAP? POP-IMAP Protocol Differences”
On my mobile phone, i prefer using IMAP rather than POP. Of i delete the message from my mobile, it will sync to the gmail server as well so i won't see the message twice.
Great article by the way. It's very useful for anyone who want to know the difference between POP and IMAP.
I Agree with you.
Thanks for the comment Ivan..