POP or IMAP? What type of configuration suits you?

IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol) and  POP (Post Office Protocol) are protocols with which you can configure your e-mail in your mail client and manage your messages from that program.


The difference between IMAP and POP

With IMAP, actions are directly applied to your mailbox server.
If you read an email on your phone, it is immediately marked as read on your mailbox server.

With POP, the e-mails are downloaded to your devices and you manage them locally .
If you read an e-mail on your phone, it will remain unread on your mailbox server. That is why you may find a lot of unopened mail when you log in via webmail.

When to choose IMAP?

IMAP is recommended if  you use your mail on different devices . If you read a message on your laptop, it will also be marked as ‘Read’ on your iPhone / iPad. If you send a message from your laptop, it will also appear in the ‘Sent’ folder on your iPhone / iPad and other devices.

When to choose POP?

POP is strongly recommended in the following situations

  • When you want to keep a local archive of your messages. This prevents mail from being erased from the old server when you switch mail hosting providers.
  • When the size of your mailbox is limited and you want to store your mails locally.
  • When you want to make sure you have a backup copy of your mails on the servers, in case you erase something important by mistake.

Tip: you can automatically delete emails with a POP configuration. Some e-mail programs allow you to delete downloaded mails from the mailbox server so that they do not fill up. This is important to know, so check your configuration.

Updated on 29 June 2020

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