IMAP vs POP3 in SMTP

There are multiple technologies associated with the retrieval of emails to your email inbox. It would be based upon numerous protocols, such. Two of the most prominent protocols that are available for you to consider here would be IMAP and POP3. You can go through this IMAP vs POP3 comparison, which will help you to locate the best protocol for receiving emails.

What is POP3?

POP3 is the older protocol for retrieving emails. You may also call it the simpler protocol available out there. POP3 stands for Post Office Protocol 3^rd^ version. It was initially developed back in the year 1985. The POP3 protocol would establish a connection between the email client and the mail server for retrieving emails. It would then download all the emails from the server. The emails will be saved within a device, which would initiate the connection. All the emails will then be deleted from the mail server and the transmission would end.

What is IMAP?

IMAP is the newer protocol used for receiving emails. This technology was developed in the year 1986. As of now, the fourth version of IMAP protocol, or IMAP4 is being used. The IMAP protocol would establish the connection between the email client and the server. Then it will fetch the requested content and catch that along with headers. Then it can be used to perform all user-initiated actions, such as reading content, archiving the mail, deleting the mail, and indicating the mail as read. After that, the transmission would end. The main difference that you need to keep in mind here is that the IMAP protocol would not fetch emails from a server.

IMAP vs POP3 – Understanding the differences

POP3 would download email content to your local device. However, IMAP will keep mail content within the server. If you make any changes to a mail in POP3, it will not be visible on the other devices. That’s because you will be making changes to the local version of the email that is downloaded to your device. If you are using POP3, you will only be able to use one device for accessing a mail at a given time. There is no option for you to read the mail without downloading it.

There are some benefits associated with the POP3 protocol as well. For example, you can download emails and go through them without having the need to connect to the internet. It is simple and easy to set up as well.

Which one should you select?

In case if you have a need to sync the emails across all your devices, you should be using IMAP. Then it will be possible to sync and access the emails whenever you want on the server. IMAP is a recommended solution available for people who have access to reliable and stable internet connections. You will need to have sufficient storage space available within the server to store all the emails as well. If not, you will have to delete your emails regularly. This is a great option available for people who wish to have a backup of their emails on the cloud.

People who don’t have access to stable internet connections may think about using POP3. You will be able to download the emails and keep them on your device. It is a good solution available to consider if there is only one device being used to fetch the messages. If you are receiving a large volume of emails, and if you don’t have sufficient storage space in the cloud, you may consider using POP3 as well.