The Difference Between POP & IMAP

This chart sums up the main differences between POP (Post Office Protocol) and IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol) email configurations (email protocols). Any mail server at Thexyz supports both IMAP and POP3 connections and the choice is yours for how you wish to connect and access your mail.

  • Email is deleted from the server as they are retrieved
  • No remote web synchronization
  • Local copies of messages are vulnerable to data loss
  • Very little server storage required as email is downloaded
  • Has to download full message when connected to the server (slower)
  • First introduced 1984
  • Rest assured knowing a copy of email is saved to server
  • Inbox and sub-folders sync with webmail/mobile
  • Email is backed up securely on the server
  • Archive is limited by server storage
  • Downloads only headers, rest as requested (faster)
  • First introduced 1986

What is a use case for POP email?

As POP email is not deleted from the server, is often used when more than one user, shares the same email account. This allows emails not to be missed if one user deletes an email. If storage space on the server is limited, a user may opt to use a POP email configuration to allow for downloading email without keeping in on the server. Some users also prefer POP if they read email on their phone and delete it. They can then come back to the email later on Webmail or an email client. This use case is rare and most users will prefer an IMAP setup instead of saving email locally.

Why is IMAP the preferred protocol?

Due to the server synchronization IMAP is the preferred choice for setting up on mobile device or email client. This allows your email data to be backed up on the server as it will leave a copy in your inbox. It also remains synchronized if you access your email on different devices. When you configure email on a mobile with IMAP, it usually allows to set a period of time for how long to sync email. This keeps data usage on your mobile minimal, as it will not start downloading email from the complete inbox. IMAP will also be the preferred protocol to setup with to allow for multiple devices as mail data is stored on the remote server. If for example you have an email account setup on multiple devices and delete a message on a single device, it will in turn sync and delete the message on all the devices that are setup with the email account.

Get the best of both with Thexyz

Thexyz Webmail allows you to access your own private or business email server by POP3 or IMAP, giving you secure access to check your email anywhere in the world, from any device, all you need is an internet connection. Thexyz supports TLS/SSL connections and authentication for data security on SMTP servers. Thexyz Webmail can also help you access your email account if your ISP blocks popular webmail sites or ports.

Questions about POP and IMAP

With our Business Email, you can configure your device to use both POP and IMAP configurations. We generally recommend IMAP as this will keep a backup of email messages on the server. Whereas the POP protocol will simply deliver the message to the device, without keeping a copy on the server. While there is little difference when it comes to receiving email, it is how email is stored that is different. IMAP email is basically backed up on the server where as POP email is not. Whichever email protocol your prefer, both imap and pop can be used on all email accounts at Thexyz.

Many people do not realize the limitations with POP until it is too late. This usually comes in the form of a computer crash, virus or a lost/stolen device. It is only once the device that held all the email without a backup, (or maybe only a local backup) becomes corrupt or lost, does the user then realize they have lost all their email data as emails are stored locally and not on the server with POP. POP works by delivering messages via the server to your local device. POP stands for post office protocol and once delivered, they are usually removed from the server and can only be accessed on your local device.

Having your email stored on an IMAP is far more secure than your local device as this keeps messages on the server. With most people not having a backup of their device, they rely on the backups of the email service provider. It is only when the device as been setup with IMAP email configuration that data is stored on the server. As added protection and enhanced data retention polices we also recommend adding email Archiving to your business email hosting solution.

You can check this by checking the account settings. If you do know where to find this, we recommend using our wizard. Once you see how to set the device up with IMAP, you will see how to check. Visit our Knowledgebase for guides on how to set up an email with IMAP.

If you are looking to backup and sync your email folders with multile devices, then IMAP is the way to go. This will not only sync email with all your mail clients (Outlook, Apple Mail), it will ensure all emails are stored on the server and continue to keep downloading messages to your devices.

With all messages stored on the server instead of locally, storage can become a problem for high volume email accounts. Our Premuim Webmail accounts allow for storage of 25GB per user. This is upgradable to 100GB with Hosted Exchange and can also become unlimited with the Email Archiving add-on.

Yes you can. By default Office 365 may try an connect via Exchange ActiveSync, especially if you a using a client like Microsoft Outlook, you can however setup the email account to send email with either POP or IMAP.

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