What is the difference between using IMAP or POP for my mail?

Post Office Protocol (POP) and Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP) are two methods of accessing your Internet mail from your mail server.

Each method has its own merits, and which one you utilize is entirely dependant upon your needs.

Mochahost supports both methods, and each requires you to specify your complete email address for your login.

That is, if your email address were [email protected], then your login for either POP or IMAP is the full email address. Your POP/IMAP server or "incoming mail server" is one of the following, depending on what you are using (POP or IMAP). - www.yourdomain.com (substituting 'yourdomain.com' for your actual domain name) - www.yourdomain.com (substituting 'yourdomain.com' for your actual domain name)

POP Advantages

  • Nearly all mail clients support POP
  • Efficient
  • Most ISPs allow its use
  • Works great if mail needs to be kept and stored on one workstation (your computer)
  • Simple If you're managing just one email account, POP will suit the needs.

However if trying to manage mail between the home or office, or when you are away from your main computer, you may want to use IMAP.

POP likes to download mail and store it on a central PC, and even if you elect to leave the messages on the server, not all POP email clients fully support this feature.

IMAP allows you to access your mail, access specific parts of messages, create and manage mail folders, store and share mail messages between locations and copy mail between folders and sub-folders. IMAP is a feature rich protocol, but the price is that the mail clients that support it tend to be at least a little more complex.

IMAP Advantages

  • Sort and store mail in different folders
  • Easily manage mail from home or office
  • Keep mail on central server
  • Full support for message status
  • easily know if you've read, replied, etc.
  • Access individual messages without having to download entire mailbox
  • Delete messages without downloading or viewing

Some mail clients that do an excellent job of supporting IMAP and POP are Outlook 2000, Outlook Express, Netscape 6.x, Eudora. Most Netscape products before version 6 have a problem when trying to log into mail using the complete email address. Netscape will truncate the entry after the "@".

Of course, the POP/IMAP server rejects the login. To get around this, we advise that you replace the "@" symbol with a slash "/". Therefore, if your email address were "[email protected]", you could use "test/developerschoice.net". Again, this is only for early versions of Netscape and only if you are getting login failures with Netscape, but successful logins testing with other mail clients.