What is the difference between IMAP and POP?

We at Hosting often get asked by our customers whether the mail should be set up as POP or IMAP and what the difference in type is. In this article, we explain this difference and hopefully can better help you in making your choice.

Using POP protocol

If you set up your account in your e-mail client as a POP account, then all mail is downloaded to the e-mail client and taken from the receiving server. This way you manage the backup of your mail yourself. You can also choose to leave a copy of the mail temporarily on the server so that it can be viewed via webmail if necessary.

When do you use POP?

If you only use your e-mail account on one device then you are fine with setting up a POP account.

Using IMAP protocol

If you set up your account in your e-mail client as an IMAP account, then all mail is read directly from receiving server. So your received and sent messages remain on the Web server. This way, mail is synchronized from the server on all devices where mail is set up. If you have read an e-mail on your phone, it will also appear as read on your computer. In addition, IMAP is useful if the mailbox is managed by more than one person. You then know whether messages have been picked up and avoid duplication of effort.

When do you use IMAP?

As briefly described above, use IMAP if you want to read your e-mail account on multiple devices or if the e-mail box is managed by multiple people.

Advantages and disadvantages of POP or IMAP

You have control over your mail archiveEmail syncs across all devices
Your mailbox can’t fill up, forcing you to take more charges for a higher packageThe mail can be managed by multiple people
If you delete your account, you lose everythingWhen you delete mail, it is deleted from the server
Mail does not sync with other devicesAll mail stays on the server and thus can cause your mailbox to fill up over time. You can then clean up or expand your e-mail package to a larger one.


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