If you have ever set up an email account like Thunderbird, Outlook in MS Office, or an email app on your smartphone, you have likely chosen between IMAP and POP in settings. IMAP stands for Internet Message Access Protocol and POP is stands for Post Office Protocol. Both of these protocols are used to process the transfer of the emails between a mail client and an email server as well.
Many users get confused or face difficulty choosing between the IMAP and POP mail protocols while setting up their email accounts. Which is the better option and which one should you choose?
Quick Pros & Cons for POP vs. IMAP
Both systems have their advantages and their drawbacks and it would be up to you to determine if you prefer one or the other. What you need will depend on the type of device you use, the amount of data you send, as well as your security concerns.
If you are planning to start your email marketing career, both of these options might be viable. You might want to consult the Email Marketing Rules by Chad S. White and go point by point before you finally decide.
POP was launched in 1984 and every email message was downloaded from your mail server and deleted immediately for the server. This meant the only copy that you had was stored on your computer.
POP also made it impossible to check emails from more than one computer system. Eventually, to improve the system, the designers made it possible to download messages without deleting them from the server so they could be easily retrieved again by any other computer system.
But there is no way in the POP server to know that the messages were transferred multiple times. So each computer that gets the message will see it just like a fresh message, forcing you to file it in each place or to delete as well.
IMAP was introduced in 1986 and was designed to keep all of your emails on your mail server. This way more than one computer can easily access the same message. Anything you do to your message such as reply, delete, or file on your email application on one PC also means it will happen on the IMAP server. If you need to check or download any email from another PC, it will reflect all the previous actions that were performed.
In today’s world where you may check all of your emails from just about any location or device, as long as the internet company is using IMAP protocol than anything that you do with your messages while using any of your devices will be reflected on all the rest of the messages. You’re able to search any of your mail whenever you want by using any device. This is considered as an extra bonus IMAP.
It should be noted, however, that some of the ISPs are still relying on POP and people like you who are using the same email account for several years shouldn’t assume IMAP is being used. Even if your ISP is supporting the IMAP, it might not be able to switch you over. It’s better to call and officially have your email switched over or confirm it’s been switched over instead of just assuming this is the case.
In Windows, if you want to set up your mailing accounts for the first time, supports for mail clients are all the standard mail systems such as Yahoo, Gmail, Outlook, and any IMAP or POP account you may have.