What is the difference between POP3 and IMAP?

When you have one of our mailboxes, you can access it via POP3 or IMAP.  These are two different protocols for downloading and accessing email.

If you choose POP3, you are downloading the email directly from our servers into your email client and deleting it from our servers, whether it is a desktop-based client, tablet or mobile phone etc. You can create local folders on your device to organise the email, but then when you log in to your email account from another device or webmail, you will not see the emails or folders. It can appear that emails are missing or disappearing from your inbox! Another downside to using POP3 is that if your system fails or you lose your tablet or mobile phone, your emails will be lost with it! A benefit of using POP3 is that as your email is being downloaded and deleted from the server, the only mail that counts towards your mailbox storage capacity are the emails that are yet to be downloaded from our servers.

If you choose IMAP, you are downloading the email from the mail server into your email client, but you are also leaving it on our servers. This is useful if you access the same email account from more than one computer, tablet or mobile phone or webmail etc. IMAP synchronises new emails, folders, deletions, moves etc between email clients which makes it much easier and more efficient to manage your emails. If you mark an email as read or delete it, this will be replicated across all your devices and allows you to view your emails on another computer or tablet/phone.  If you create folders on your computer to organise the email, you will also see these folders in your webmail.  You must use IMAP on every device for each particular email account that you want to access on multiple devices. Another benefit of IMAP is that if your system fails or you lose your tablet or mobile phone etc the emails are stored on our servers and will be accessible to your other devices or a new device quickly. Because your email is being left on our servers, you will need to monitor your mailbox storage usage and if you approach its storage limit you may have to cleanup your mailbox or upgrade the mailbox capacity as if you exceed your storage limit you may not be able to send or receive emails!

Of the two options, we recommend using the IMAP protocol.

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