POP3 vs IMAP Which one to Choose?

We are often asked what are the differences between POP3 and IMAP email accounts and which one should be selected when setting up an email account. This guide explains the pros and cons of both email protocols.

The main difference between the two email protocols is that IMAP leaves a copy of the message on the email server and POP3 keeps it locally on your computer (although you can get it to leave it on the server too). This means that in todays world where you might have your PC and smartphone accessing your emails IMAP is the ideal solution.


Ideal for people access emails on multiple devices or shared accounts where a number of people are accessing a generic account like info@yourdomainname. This is the slightly more modern protocol and we recommend that you use this type of email account. However you may run out of space on your email server and you may need to archive older messages if you run out of space - How to archive IMAP emails in Outlook 2016


There are two reasons for using POP3. Firstly if you have not got a large email quota with your account then not storing messages on the email server will mean you aren't constantly managing your emails. Secondly if you are not happy keeping your emails on a 3rd party email server then POP3 provides more privacy if you download them onto a device that you have control over.


So there you have it. IMAP is the preferred method giving you the best control. POP3 allows you to manage space and privacy more. We would recommend IMAP but you can go one step further and have your contacts and calendars syncing as well at your emails by using Micosoft Office 365 Exchange server.

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