|POP3/IMAP Information and Comparison|
|POP and IMAP are two email protocols commonly used today. While POP continues to be the most popular among single client users, IMAP is also available for users who have multiple computers or who need to access their email from multiple locations.|
|POP3 (Post Office Protocol)|
The POP protocol was originally designed around the offline mail delivery model due to the high costs of having to stay online to retrieve mail. With POP, users connect on to their mail server, download the mail to their local computer, disconnect from the server letting them read the emails while offline. Emails are stored on the server until the user downloads the mail using a mail client such as Microsoft Outlook or Eudora.
|IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol)|
|IMAP was recently developed for users who needed access to their email on the server without having to download the mail to a local machine. Users can manipulate mail and folders on the server side. Folders and mail boxes can also be given shared access for uses such as announcements and common projects.
WebMail is a great example of the IMAP protocol although it is accessed through the web and not an email client such as Microsoft Outlook or Eudora.
|POP email is designed to be used by one client and one computer where as IMAP is designed to be used by various users using different computers.
IMAP stores mail on email servers whereas POP stores email on a clients computer
POP clients have facilities for organizing mail into folders on the clients computer where when using IMAP, folders can be on the server or client side.
POP sends messages one way, from the server to the client. IMAP can copy and move messages back and forth between mailboxes on multiple accounts as well as between servers and clients.
POP email only supports one user to access one mailbox. IMAP mail allows users to access multiple public and private folders where users can change the status of message to share for multiple viewing.