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POP3 or IMAP...Confused!

Discussion in 'Web & Email' started by wisedave, Dec 2, 2011.

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  1. wisedave

    wisedave Thread Starter

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    Hello,

    I am wondering what the difference between POP3 and IMAP email set is all about. We have about 15 email accounts for our business and are about to move them away from our current email host to a new one.

    One of the questions he asked was if I was using POP3 or IMAP. All accounts but mine are set up as POP3. The account mananger of our current host said that was had he had his account set up and I figured if he did then I should. His arguement sounded good at the time, but now I am not sure why I did it! :eek:

    Which is 'better' and why? I guess the word 'better' is a bit vague....how about advantageous?

    I look forward to hearing some comments.

    Many thanks,

    Dave
     
  2. Rockn

    Rockn

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    POP only downloads messages to an email client, that is all it does. IMAP lets you manipulate stuff on the mail server like creating folders, etc.
     
  3. wisedave

    wisedave Thread Starter

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    Thanks for dipping in on this....

    Why would I want to create and manipulate folders though? He was mentioning the ability to sync devices, etc.... My understanding was if I checked my emails on a smartphone, I would still be able to check them on my Outlook 2010. I thought that sounded good....so why not?

    Cheers,

    Dave
     
  4. throoper

    throoper Trusted Advisor

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  5. Rockn

    Rockn

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    There is really no need to sync with IMAP, you are accessing the email on the server directly. POP can be flaky if you are using it between multiple devices.
     
  6. wisedave

    wisedave Thread Starter

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    Thanks for the link......I think being that I don't have a smart phone (for the moment), I should revert back to POP3. I just can't see the reason to stick with IMAP.

    Any other thoughts from the masses?

    Cheers,

    Dave
     
  7. TerryNet

    TerryNet Moderator

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    Terry
    I prefer IMAP because it is easy and automatic to sync all email clients with the mail server. I download mail to my email clients, so I am not dependent on the server for old mail. Deleting a message from one client will also delete it from the server and other clients. When sending mail (and saving it to the Sent folder), that sent mail appears in all clients.

    I find POP to be a little less convenient. You can receive messages on all clients, but then to delete it's necessary to delete from all clients. Sent messages can be saved only to the client being used. To keep a record on other clients you need to bcc yourself.
     
  8. wisedave

    wisedave Thread Starter

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    Hey TN,

    You pose an interesting arguement to stick with IMAP. I am thinking when I make the switch, it will be all of one or the other.

    It would seem as though you have some sort of 'master control' over you email systems so I'm not sure I need all of the 'juice' you have.

    Thanks for the input!

    -Dave
     
  9. Soundy

    Soundy

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    POP3 is a very basic, very limited protocol - it lets you download messages from the server, and optionally delete them as they're downloading. If you ever want to have a second client (be a laptop, a home computer, a smartphone, or even webmail), position pointers can get confused, and you can end up with large numbers of messages re-downloading; plus, there's no way for multiple clients to track read/unread messages, message flags (where you might change the "importance" of a message), or anything else that requires the server to be updated by the client.

    With IMAP, you're normally interacting directly with the messages on the server; if you log in from a laptop and read some messages, they're marked as read on the server, so when you log in later from work, they still show as read. If you read a message at work and decide you need to set it as "high-priority", that setting is saved on the server, so when you pull it up later on your home computer, it shows up as "high priority" there as well. If you set the clients up to save deleted messages in a "Trash" folder, those are kept on the server as well, so if you delete a message from a smartphone, then get to work and realize you still need it, you can un-delete it from your work computer.

    From the user's perspective, there should be no visible difference between the two; they'd never know whether they're using one or the other, unless they know how to use the additional features of IMAP (server-based rules, folders, etc.). From an IT perspective, it's no more complicated to set up - enter the user account and server info, and you're done.

    Pretty much all mail servers support POP3... not all support IMAP. But there should be no reason you HAVE to pick one or the other up front - you could have one computer set to access an account with POP3 and another set to access the same account with IMAP. There's no difference in the actual mail stores on the server; they're just two different methods of accessing the same information.

    In the end, I'd say forget POP; set everyone up with IMAP, and just be done with it.
     
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