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What is the difference between POP and IMAP for receiving emails?

There are two common protocols for accessing incoming email messages, which can usually be specified when you set up the email account in your email software.

Although POP was almost universally used in the past, in more recent times IMAP has become the default for most email clients.

To summarise the difference between the two;

POP (or POP3) - Post Office Protocol

Your email is downloaded to your local device (normally a PC or laptop), then deleted from the server. Uses Port 110 as standard for incoming mail server.

Advantages:
  - You can read downloaded emails even if offline.

Disadvantages:
  - Once downloaded, you can't access an email from a different device.
  - You must make your own provision for backups.


IMAP - lnternet Message Access Protocol

Your email is stored on the server. Uses Port 143 as standard for incoming mail server.

Advantages:
  - Your email is accessible from multiple devices, eg PC, phone, tablet, etc.
  -  Your service provider may make backups that are accessible to you if needed. **  (Our server is backed up daily, and these backups are stored for 2 weeks).

Disadvantages:
  - You may need to be online to read your emails (unless you have copied them to a local folder).
  - If you receive a large volume of email you can easily exceed the disk allowance of your hosting account and may incur extra monthly charges.

** Even if your ISP does make backups, it is always recommended to make your own regular backups that are stored at another location.

Date Added: 2018-04-25

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