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Should I use POP3 or IMAP when setting up my e-mail accounts?

There are two primary protocols for retrieving e-mails from a server – IMAP and POP3. But what is the difference, and which protocol should you use when setting up your e-mail account with your favourite e-mail client – whether that’s Thunderbird, Outlook or Apple Mail?

What is POP3?
“POP3″ is version 3 of the POP protocol – “POP” is short for “Post Office Protocol”. The Post Office Protocol downloads your e-mail messages to your computer unlike IMAP, which means you also have a local copy of the e-mails on your computer.

What is IMAP?
“IMAP”, short for “Internet Message Access Protocol” has the same outcome as POP3 – it allows you to read your e-mails using a user-friendly e-mail client – however, the primary difference as you may guess, is that your e-mails are NOT directly downloaded to your computer. Instead, you are reading your e-mails directly off the web server in which your e-mail account resides. In other words, your e-mails are not downloaded locally to your computer unlike POP.

Which protocol should I use when setting up my e-mail account?
Both work very well and if you have your e-mail account set up with our cPanel Hosting Services, you can make use of any two of the protocols for retrieving e-mails – if you want to keep a local copy of your e-mails, we’d recommend you opt for POP3. Otherwise, choose IMAP.


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