What is the difference between POP 3 and IMAP

A question we are asked quite often is, “What is the difference between IMAP and POP3 and which one to use.”

If you are not sure which e-mail protocol, IMAP or POP, you want to use to setup your e-mail program refer to the following basic differences between these two protocols and choose the one that fits your needs.

The e-mail protocol is the procedure which your e-mail program will use to communicate with the server where your e-mail messages are stored. Currently there are two ways to receive your mail from our system: IMAP and POP. Following is a short comparison of major differences between these two protocols.


The IMAP protocol, by default, allows the user to keep all messages on the server. It constantly synchronizes the e-mail program with the server and displays what messages are currently present. All the actions performed on the messages (reading, moving, deleting…) will be done directly on the server.

Because everything is kept on the server the user will be able to access the e-mail in the inbox from any computer in the world connected to the Internet and can will always find the same settings in their e-mail account.


The POP protocol, by default, is set to download all the messages from the e-mail server onto your computer. This means that all the actions performed on the messages (reading, moving, deleting…) will be performed on the clients own computer. Because everything is kept on the user’s computer, the user will not be able to reopen messages from any location other than the computer where the messages have been downloaded.

“Once e-mail is downloaded it can be accessed only using the same computer.”