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Email: What’s the Difference Between POP3, IMAP, and Exchange?

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We send a lot of email these days—at work, at home, on our phones… But do you know what all the email jargon means? Keep reading to find out more about the difference between the various ways to receive email.

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Whether you use Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo mail, or email configured on your own website—there’s more to receiving email that it might seem like on the surface. Today, we’ll be focusing on some answering some of the most common stumbling blocks when it comes to setting up new email accounts, and explaining the difference in clear language. For our geekier readers that already know that stuff, feel free to join in the discussion—let us know how you explain to relatives and tech-challenged coworkers the difference in common email setups… or simply share this guide and save yourself the trouble of explaining it!

Email Clients vs Webmail

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Before we explain the different protocols used to download emails, let’s take a few minutes to understand the simpler stuff—the difference between email clients and webmail. If you’ve ever started a Gmail, Hotmail, or other email account, chances are you’ve used webmail. If you work in an office and use a program like Microsoft Outlook, Windows Live Mail, or Mozilla Thunderbird to manage your emails, you’re using an email client.

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Both webmail and email clients are applications for sending and receiving email, and they use similar methods for doing this. Webmail is an application that is written to be operated over the internet through a browser, usually with no downloaded applications or additional software necessary. All of the work, so to speak, is done by remote computers (i.e. servers and machines you connect to through the internet).

Mozilla_Thunderbird_logoOutlook_Today_-_Microsoft_OutlookMicrosoft_Outlook_Icon

Email clients are programs that are installed on local machines (i.e. your computer, or the computers in your office) to interact with remote email servers to download and send email to whomever you might care to. Some the back end work of sending email and all of the front end work of creating a user interface (what you look at to receive your email) is done on your computer with the installed application, rather than by your browser with instructions from the remote server. However, many webmail providers allow users to use email clients with their service—and here’s where it may start to get confusing. Let’s run through a quick example to explain the difference.

Gmail _UI

We sign up for a new email address with Google’s Gmail and begin sending and receiving email through the webmail service. Google is providing two things for us—a web frontend, and a mail server backend for sending and receiving the emails. We communicate with the email server backend by using the webmail frontend. Through our pointing, clicking, and typing, we’re telling the email server who we want to send email to, and what we want to say.

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But, we might decide that we don’t like Google’s new look for Gmail, so we decide to switch to an email client, like the free program Thunderbird. Instead of using our web based client (Gmail’s web interface) to interact with Google’s Gmail servers (the mail server backend), we use a program installed on our computers (in this case, Thunderbird) to contact the mail server backend ourselves, and sidestep webmail altogether. Google (and other webmail providers) offer all of these products, including the web frontend and the mail server backend. You can use both of them or only the mail server backend and still be using “Gmail.” And with that confusion dispelled, let’s take a look at the common email protocols you’ll run into using email clients or mobile phones.

POP3, Post Office Protocol

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POP, or Post Office Protocol, is a way of retrieving email information that dates back to a very different internet than we use today. Computers only had limited, low bandwidth access to remote computers, so engineers created POP in an effort to create a dead simple way to download copies of emails for offline reading, then remove those mails from the remote server. The first version of POP was created in 1984, with the POP2 revision created in early 1985.

POP3 is the current version of this particular style of email protocol, and still remains one of the most popular. Since POP3 creates local copies of emails and deletes the originals from the server, the emails are tied to that specific machine, and cannot be accessed via any webmail or any separate client on other computers. At least, not without doing a lot of email forwarding or porting around mailbox files.

While POP3 is based on an older model of offline email, there’s no reason to call it obsolete technology, as it does have its uses. POP4 has been proposed, and may be developed one day, although there’s not been much progress in several years.

IMAP, Internet Message Access Protocol

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IMAP was created in 1986, but seems to suit the modern day world of omnipresent, always-on internet connectivity quite well. The idea was keep users from having to be tied to a single email client, giving them the ability to read their emails as if they were “in the cloud.”

Compared to POP3, IMAP allows users to log into many different email clients or webmail interfaces and view the same emails, because the emails are kept on remote email servers until the user deletes them. In a world where we now check our email on web interfaces, email clients, and on mobile phones, IMAP has become extremely popular. It isn’t without its problems, though.

Because IMAP stores emails on a remote mail server, you’ll have a limited mailbox size depending on the settings provided by the email service. If you have huge numbers of emails you want to keep, you could run into problems sending and receiving mail when your box is full. Some users sidestep this problem by making local archived copies of emails using their email client, and then deleting them from the remote server.

Microsoft Exchange, MAPI, and Exchange ActiveSync

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Microsoft began developing MAPI (sometimes called Messaging API) not long after IMAP and POP were first developed, although it has uses beyond simple email. Thoroughly comparing IMAP and POP to MAPI is pretty technical, and out of scope for many readers of this article. Simply put, MAPI is a way for applications and email clients to communicate with Microsoft Exchange servers, and is capable of IMAP style syncing of emails, contacts, calendars, and other features, all tied into local email clients or applications. This function of syncing emails is branded by Microsoft as “Exchange ActiveSync.” Depending on what device, phone, or client you use, this same technology might be called any of the three Microsoft products (Microsoft Exchange, MAPI, or Exchange ActiveSync), but will offer the same cloud-based email syncing as IMAP.

Because Exchange and MAPI are Microsoft products, only companies that own their own Exchange mail servers or use Windows Live Hotmail will be able to use Exchange. Many clients, including the default Android mail client and iPhone, are Exchange ActiveSync capable, giving Hotmail users IMAP style cloud-based email, despite Hotmail not offering true IMAP functionality.

Other Email Protocols

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Yes, there are other protocols for sending, recieving, and using email, but most of us that are using plain old free webmail and mobile phones will be using one of these three major ones. Since these three technologies cover the needs of nearly all HTG readers, we won’t be spending time today talking about the others. If you have any experience using email protocols not listed here, we’re interested to hear about it—feel free to discuss them in the comments.

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In Short: Which Do I Use to Set Up My Email?

Depending on your personal style of communicating and whom you prefer to get your email service from, you can pretty quickly narrow down how you should use your email.

  • If you use check your email from a lot of devices, phones, or computers, set up your email clients to use IMAP.
  • If you use mostly webmail and want your phone or iPad to sync with your webmail, use IMAP, as well.
  • If you’re using one email client on one dedicated machine (say, in your office), you might be fine with POP3.
  • If you have a huge history of email, you may want to use POP3 to keep from running out of space on the remote email server.
  • If you use Hotmail or an Exchange Server Email, MAPI or Exchange ActiveSync will give you similar cloud-based syncing, like IMAP.
  • If you don’t use Hotmail and you want email sync, use IMAP. If you do use it and want email sync, use MAPI/Exchange ActiveSync.

Hopefully that’s dispelled a lot of your questions regarding these common ways we receive email data with our phones and computers. If not, let us know in the comments section below or address your questions to ericgoodnight@howtogeek.com.

Image Credits: Blackberry Email by Ian Lamont, available under Creative Commons. Mail by Pacdog, available under Creative Commons. iPhone: The Home Screen by Pieter Ouwerkerk, available under creative commons. Email? by Tama Leaver, available under Creative Commons. Some screenshots and logos via Wikipedia, assumed fair use.

Eric Z Goodnight is an Illustrator and Graphics Geek who hopes to make Photoshop more accessible to How-To Geek readers. When he’s not headbanging to heavy metal or geeking out over manga, he’s often off screen printing T-Shirts.

  • Published 12/5/11

Comments (49)

  1. karttikeyabihani

    Finally Explained. Thanks.

  2. Dan

    I have 2 gmail accounts, 5 google apps email accounts, 2 hotmail accounts, an AOL account, and my ISP account, and I access all of these via POP3 using a portable email client. IMAP just ain’t my thing. I also have a couple of Yahoo email accounts but I rarely log in to check them. If only they give free POP3 access again.

  3. ScapS

    Nice Thx!

  4. afuhnk

    Very interresting article.
    However, it is important to note that Microsoft Outlook (up to version 2003 – version 2007 and later do not have this issue) the [.pst] file (which store account info such as contacts, folders, messages etc) may (read: likely will) become corrupt once it reaches 2Gb. It is important to archive messages in order to avoid this limitation. This “corruption” issue is also valid for the [archive.pst] file.

  5. afuhnk

    Excellent article.
    However, it is important to note that Microsoft Outlook (up to version 2003 – version 2007 and later do not have this issue) the [.pst] file (which store account info such as contacts, folders, messages etc) may (read: likely will) become corrupt once it reaches 2Gb. It is important to archive messages in order to avoid this limitation. This is also valid for the archive.pst file.

  6. phill

    I have 3 hotmail accounts, 4 gmail accounts, and 1 yahoo account… I filter all my emails through all of them, and have them end up in one gmail account set up for IMAP, I NEVER see spam, unless of course I’m expecting an email from a new source and it gets caught in my security. :)

  7. Howard

    I use Thunderbird with POP3 to download all of my Gmail, along with several other email accounts. Once a year, I create a backup of my email (I have nearly enough to fill a DVD now, so I’m hoping for a better backup medium before I overflow that). While it’s nice to have email-in-the-cloud, I don’t want my email archives to be subject to the whim of “Don’t be Evil (if convenient, or somebody is watching)” Google, or anybody else but me. I have archives, including several technical mailing lists, that I occasionally search for stuff that happened years ago. Some of them pre-date Google by several years.

    If Google ever discontinues POP3 (or stops providing some way to download and locally archive my email), I will discontinue using Gmail. Currently, the main thing I use Gmail for is to consolidate email from dozens of accounts, and filter them for spam. It might be a little less convenient to handle that myself, but I did it before, and I can do it again.

  8. eytan

    I have a shared email account (for work) that multiple people read using Blackberries and Outlook. Any suggestions on the best way to set that up? I currently have it set up with POP.

  9. Kathy

    Thank you so much! Reposting for our customers. Good explanation!

  10. Graycat

    Thanks for the explanation……..easy to understand. I use Outlook 2010 but actually can’t send emails over 2MB. I set up a Yahoo email account that allows me to send any size email but it is a pain to have to use 2 accounts because of this problem. Yes, I have contacted my ISP, Microsoft, and used many “solutions” from blogs etc……even my computer repair service. I like Outlook but I’m ready to get rid of it.

  11. iam_urz

    i don’t see the poing of using Thunderbird or any email client. for one thing, it’s another headache managing those mails, setting up folders, filters, etc.

    emails come the web so i use webmail (Gmail) and handle everything from there. don’t have to mess with folders, filters, or backups on my laptops or the different computers i use to access email.

    privacy concerns? i encrypt them files with Truecrypt. :p

  12. TomSr

    I prefer IMAP since I use many devices: desktop, laptop, Android phone, iPad, iPod and once in a while the web interface for my Google Apps account.

  13. John

    I found the article quite informative. I thought it was concise enough and definitely to the point. It gave the newbie enough useful basic information and added some additional information for others at different levels without obscuring the basic points. I thought it was well done.

  14. EL

    What’s the procedure for switching Microsoft Outlook from POP to IMAP? I have multiple email accounts pulled into Outlook.

  15. Lonestar Jack

    A pox on the nay sayers.
    I have forwarded this article to several friends who are confused about email because you explain how the different protocols work better than I could.
    Nice work.
    I have used Yahoo for years and consider it adequate for most emails, but I revert to other means to embed images and more advanced functions.

  16. jjb

    When I signed up to hotmail you could use it with POP now you can’t and it’s really annoying

  17. Lance

    Nice starting point; however, I expected a little more “difference” explaination or clarification concerning an exchange account. In my understanding, exchange allows, “Simply put, MAPI is a way for applications and email clients to communicate with Microsoft Exchange servers, and is capable of IMAP style syncing of emails, contacts, calendars, and other features, all tied into local email clients or applications,” additional users to share contacts and files as well – potentially enabling assistants to work on emails, calanders… It appears this article is directed at personal use email users and not to business class email users – where the additional MAPI functions considerably differentiate the exchange format from the previous personal use formats of POP3 or IMAP. Great article and explaination – I was hoping for a little more. Thanks.

  18. Envison

    Good, good, good and more good.

  19. Doc

    @Dan – You can use Thunderbird (or Thunderbird Portable) with the Webmail addon (with an additional Yahoo! plugin) to send and receive from your Yahoo! mail account(s). Works for me.

  20. ericssonfan

    Well, not a bad post, but I don’t see the target audience either. Neither simple enough for beginners, nor informative enough for advanced users.
    Anyway, I prefer Exchange with Outlook 2010. So powerful. And don’t forget, with an active Exchange connection you also get push mail! You receive your emails instantly!
    Awesome.

  21. Leonard

    “I wasn’t criticizing his writing – I was criticizing his article.”

    Then why does the first sentence of your original comment say it was “really badly written”?

    “As a matter of fact I did not even look at his “writing” as per your definition. I don’t really care if he used a comma instead of a semicolon.”

    I didn’t define writing as the use of commas and semicolons. You did, just now. Can’t argue about what I didn’t say.

    “I said his article was not clear enough for his intended audience and you said I missed a couple of commas?”

    And I disagreed that the article was intended for newbies. Fair enough.

    “Really? Is that the best you have? My opinion is not valid because I missed two commas?”

    No, I didn’t say that either. I said your opinion wasn’t valid because you didn’t support that opinion with any facts or examples. If I say it’s my opinion that cows can fly, I’m entitled to my opinion, but it’s meaningless.

    “Ha ha! You understand the difference between style and substance, don’t you?”

    Yes. Yes, I do.

    “Go ahead respond, I’ll let you have the last word, but, really, mind your punctuation!”

    I have been for decades. Not sure what else to tell you here.

  22. Max

    I was expecting more info on why POP3 or IMAP instead of webmail.

    Webmail is free, don’t have to manage anything, can be accessed from any number of machines.

    Is Max missing something?

  23. john3347

    I cannot help but be amused at the comments here. I am standing back and looking so I can agree or disagree with either or both sides.

    I have been using computers as a tool since mid 80s and had some familiarization with them when a computer filled a room and the input device was a stack of punch cards. USING computers is a keyword here because the computer has really never been the end, but only the means to the end. I have been using email as a communication device since sometime mid-90s. I did not know the difference between the different email protocols – I still don’t, even after reading this article twice. It is written at a level somewhat above the typical non-professional level computer user. (Yes, all you professional users are going to disagree with me and that is just going to reinforce my point.) In that respect, Rod’s point is correct whether he courteously and precisely made that point or not.

    Another point to consider before making negative comments about an article is to realize that technical writers are typically heavy on “technical” and light on “writer”. As publishing companies seek to trim costs, proofreading departments seem to be the first place they cut. This makes some highly technical and technically correct writings look VERY unprofessional. We, the readers just have to push the publishing companies to realize the error of their ways and, in the meantime, ignore the poor punctuation, incorrect spelling, and poor sentence structure. (grossly poor punctuation is illustrated here by the use of asterisks to set off a phrase where quotation marks should be used)

  24. Jeff C

    I liked the article. I wish it was longer and more detailed, but I agree that it was well written. I am a techie, but email protocols have always confused me a bit.

    Just yesterday I attempted to set up yahoo with thunderbird, and after a couple hours realized that I can only use an email client with Yahoo’s paid service. Unless someone knows a fix… :) ?? Perhaps I will switch to Gmail.

    Here is where I am confused- Yahoo, to the best of my knowledge is a pop3 webmail. According to this article a pop3 account is tied to one machine, and after the mail is accessed it is deleted from the server. However, after I read my email I can still pull it up on any computer or phone. Is yahoo different? I am thinking of creating a new email address and choosing a a new webmail. Any recommendations?

  25. jonrichco

    @Dan
    You can pay for a POP3 Yahoo account. Or open an Australian or UK yahoo account – both allow free POP3 as yahoo.com did once upon a time. Gmail and Hotmail have free POP3, so hopefully Yahoo won’t change any time soon. If they do, I am off to Gmail.

  26. jonrichco

    @Jeff C
    I should have read all the posts before posting. POP3 is not tied to one machine as the article suggests – the second para in the article under POP3 is incorrect as is “In Short”. I use Eudora which gives you the option to “leave mail on the ISP server”, allowing it to be accessed by any number of machines. I presume Outlook and LiveMail have similar options. Thunderbird certainly does and integrates well with Gmail.

    POP3 has a huge advantage which the article fails to highlight adequately – the ability to compose and read mail offline. This means that you can write any number of mails, and send them in a batch at a time that suits. Webmail is far to instant for my liking, pretty much you compose or reply to an email and send it straight away, which can cause problems. POP3 (i) gives you more time for reflection (if you need it), (ii) stores all mail on your machine(s), (iii) allows you to read mail at your leisure (gmail is also good at this), (iv) indexes your mail providing for instant searching, (v) allows easy operation of multiple personas – I have 20, not that I use all of them all the time (vi) allows you to send “as from” your own email address, even if accessing the net through a hotspot or other network and (vii) allows you to leave mail above a certain size (in my case 10kB) on the server.

    Negative are the need to set up a relay personality to send mail through an ISP other than your own (eg, through a hotel wifi – luckily most hotels can tell you what to use). Eudora 7 does all of these brilliantly – hope that Eudora OSE and Thunderbird can catch up one day. Pity Qualcomm pulled the plug on developing Eudora 7 – terrible decision. Eudora still works fine with Windows 7 – hope it also will with 8.

  27. Leonard

    In webmail, you don’t have to compose and send right away. You can write an email and save it as a draft. Then write another one. And so on.

    And with any email interface, there’s no rule that says you have to put it the To: address before you start writing just because that field is higher in the window. Leave it blank. Write your text, then give it a subject, then give it an addressee. THEN hit send.

    As john3347 said, a computer is a means to an end. The end is sending a message. You’re the human. You control the means.

  28. Dennis

    One important point you did not make. Not all email services offer POP3 for free. In the US if you use Yahoo you must pay for Yahoo Plus to get it. IMAP is free but Yahoo does not advertise it. With Gmail POP3 is free for everyone.

    Another thing you must worry about are email links on the web. Many use mailto: which calls the default email client. To use webmail you must have some type of add-on.

  29. KB Prez

    Thank You for this article. Another great reason why I love this web site!

  30. Arne Skov

    Thank you for the attempt to make a reusable explanation on some the differences in email. To my experience private endusers are more interested in 4 other subjects than the protocol stuff (which, as can be seen from the comments, also is interessting for some), so here is a proposal for a follow-up article:
    1: Password: You need a password to get access to your private mail. An application, be it on your computer or inside a browser, might remember this. For a while. You must ALWAYS keep it somewhere else.
    2. Sending and receiving: Why is there to different servers and how come I can receive but not send – or the opposite (Explain smtp server and different authentications)
    3. Message editor: Different programs give different editing possibilities – from plain text to embedded Word editor in Outlook.
    4. SPAM: Different ways to avoid it with build-in functionality or special programs and services.

    BTW: Outlook can use all three protocols, but from Outlook 2007 I’ve experienced increasing number of problems using IMAP – at least when the server is SmarterMail.

  31. ericn3

    Hi,
    I have often wondered where everyone’s emails are stored, in both a server and the actual location of those servers. Can you help please?

  32. Jonny Wilkinson

    I like using POP3 in outlook. Personally I find Outlook the best, it beats most web-mails and is quick, easy and also has desktop alerts and many other features. It only lacks Themes but I’m OK with that.

  33. Taleb

    Thanks,for good explanation.

  34. Arne Skov

    @ericn3
    The storage on the server is a different matter and it depends on which server-program is used: Exchange, Lotus Domino, Smartermail, hMail etc.
    Inspection at the server level requires both access to the physical server and the mailserver program. Both should be extensivily protected.

    As the article explains, using IMAP end MAPI (Exchange) protocols normally leaves the mail on the server (but most mailclients can be configured to make a local (offline) copy, using POP3 protocol normally deletes the mail from the server when it has been transfered to the client (but delaying the delete can be configured in most clients)

  35. bbotzong

    Don’t forget you can set your POP3 client to NOT delete messages from the server, allowing you to have a ‘master’ machine and several ‘mail reader’ machines. For example, my phone, my tablet, etc all can download new mail. I can read and react on the road to important messages as needed. I then use my desktop at home to retrieve all my email when I return home, delete what I don’t need or have already read. The master computer deletes the emails from the server so they’re permanently deleted.

  36. Paul K.

    I have used AOL for years so that is my main account and I go through the AOL desktop client, rarely through web. I also have google, live , yahoo, and my ISP email accounts and I have set them all up through Thunderbird. ( Yes Yahoo too using their mobile IMAP capability) I can have email forwarded to my AOL account so my “private/personal” AOL address is not revealed. Works for me. I loved the way Thunderbird searches for all the servers and settings and you only need to know your email address and password for each account. I do recall I had to do some manual teaking to get Yahoo to play nice. ( Hint: google “Yahoo Mobile”)

  37. DaveS

    I’m not sure what’s happening in my accounts, but I have several accounts from my ISP, and 1 from Google. I thought this article mught explain the way things work but I’m still unsure.

    When I access the ISP accounts via my phone, it acts as IMAP. In other words, deleting the emails from my phone DOESN’T delete them from my account. When I get home and POP them into Outlook, they are all there and no longer on the ISP server. It also appears that sometimes the emails that are downloaded into Outlook are still available on my phone.

    Not sure how this is working…

  38. Roger

    At last somebody explained it.

  39. John T

    Note for Beny: I found the article quite useful and was not concerned about grammar, just substance. I don’t know about the 65 year old youngsters you reference but I have set up my 6 email accounts, including one in France, using both Thunderbird and Macmail with no assistance from anyone and I am 83 years old. Don’t underrate us old guys. Bodies may be falling apart but the brains still work fine in most cases.

  40. Steve

    Geeezes guys!!! What’s with all the criticism? The guy did a fine job of explaining email. No one explanation is ever always enough for anything. And there’s probably at least 10 ways to explain everything. I’m 72 and I’ve been using the computer before there was an internet, or Windows for that matter. I just recently learned the difference between pop3 and imap because I’ve always used pop3.
    So give the guy some slack and credit.
    We have become a nation of faultfinding criticizers. Trying to build ourselves up by tearing others down. That must make you feel good!?
    Get over it!!!

  41. zenpistolero

    I have a three- tier mail system.

    The website for my company has 100 included email addresses at the domain I have registered with the provider, and that’s great for cost and simplicity of management. Heck – I’m not even sure I could pay the electricity for an email server of my own for the TCO of my entire virtual web/mail system. Each employee has a client on their phone and laptop or computer (nobody gets both a laptop and desktop – not even me!) Standard policy is to set each device to download the messages automatically and delete stuff off the server that’s older than 30 days, or that has been deleted off the client. If a new message comes in and I delete it on my laptop before the next time my phone syncs, then the message will never be downloaded on the phone. Since it’s a POP server, however, if I don’t delete the garbage before the other device syncs, then I’ll have to delete it twice. If my laptop has been off all weekend, sometimes I’ll go through the mail on my phone and do all of my deletions before turning the laptop on. I know my people grumble about this, but if you don’t own the company, you’re at the mercy of your pointy-haired boss for the quality of your work email. :)

    My personal stuff is on gmail, and gets stored there. I use IMAP to its full advantage. Anywhere I go, I have access to all my personal stuff and it’s organized into folders that are happily in the cloud. For multiple devices and access when I’m not on my normal devices, it can’t be beat, IMO. Twice is bad enough, but deleting things several times just seems stupid and storage space is not an issue for personal stuff.

    Finally, I have my hotmail account. Anytime I get to abuse Bill is a good day. There are enough problems with hotmail that I only use the the web access. I use it for all the throwaway stuff where I know I’ll get spammed. Say some new product is out and there’s a whitepaper on its capabilities. Their website wants to make you put in an email so that you can get a link to the technical information they’re giving away for “free”? I give’em my hotmail email, go log in, and sitting near the top of the thousands of spams will be the link. Then delete every other email and close. I made one folder called “keep” and anything I actually used goes in there. All else is toast without looking!

    Hope this is of some use to someone. After 30 years in computers, IMAP is my favorite tool, but POP can still work when there are other things to consider. When I worked at companies, I saw the devastation that occurred when in-house mail servers went down. Especially the one from Bill.

  42. justmenan

    “65 years old persons” are not all technology illiterate. Most can understand today’s devices easily because they can read and follow directions and most I know are computer savvy. I watched two women in line ahead of me in a store (50 to 60ish – grey hairs) the other day with their smart phones and a coupon app showing the QR code to the cashier to scan for discounts on their shopping.

    I teach computer software at the local college and I’ll be 69 on Friday. I have fixed computerized equipment on Navy fighter jets; I have been a technician for computer mainframe hardware; repaired terminals and PC’s and built many of them from the circuit boards on up. I supported software and created images for distribution. I’ve done laptop and network technical support, remote service calls and been in IT management for a major corporation. Also VPN support. I started with this in 1976 before a lot of you were born and incidentally I’m a “girl”.

    A good rule is not to criticize what you can’t back up with your own knowledge. Picking on someone’s grammar is immature as are age or sex based references. I found the article very helpful and will pass it on to friends who may need it someday.

    Be thankful we have these types of forums to continue our education and that there is someone willing to take his/her time to do the research and put together this daily blog for us. The internet wasn’t there for me and the learning process was much more difficult.

  43. maybs

    I SUPER LIKE this article :) 2 thumbs up

  44. noman

    i like it

  45. vistamike

    Very useful article which I will share with others. I prefer imap

  46. Johnny

    HTG Deleted many comments, Why?

  47. Al

    I was using Thunderbird and POP3 protocol with my ISP account. That was a bad idea because when I moved and changed ISP and my email address changed too. Then I moved to GMAIL using the POP3 interface, but I could only access my saved emails at home. Now I have moved to a GMAIL and Yahoo accounts because I can access email on my office computer; my home computer or mobile device. I use my GMAIL for personal stuff while I use Yahoo for everything that requires an email address like registering with online stores and websites like HTG. The GMAIL has the more urgent stuff and I read it as it comes in. I read the Yahoo at my leisure. I had a Hotmail address but found I like GMAIL much better. I don’t know but having a Hotmail address sounds so nubbie.

  48. Wally

    Nice article; this is a tough subject for folks to understand at times and even for those of us that work in IT it often isn’t obvious as to what is the “best option” in any given case. As pointed out earlier, the increased storage space available from most providers (particularly Gmail) makes POP3 a decent alternative in a lot of cases as there is typically an option to leave a copy of the retrieved mail on the server. The following are some random thoughts on my email use. I use a couple of different schemes – I have Gmail account that I POP using Thunderbird, and since I don’t delete from the server I can also use the web interface. I actually use this account with multiple instances of Thunderbird across several different pc’s and OS’s. For retrieving gmail with a client, adding recent: in front of your user name in the client settings solves most of the issues that arise when you POP the same account in multiple locations. In this case I actually share the profile on one machine form a storage partition w/ multiple OS’s. The reason I don’t use IMAP for this account? I rarely delete mail, and every time I try IMAP w/ this account it seems sluggish, even w/ a great cable internet connection. There are some minor drawbacks to this setup; for example sent mail also shows up in the inbox but not really a big deal. In another instance I manage several mail accounts through one gmail account and I also IMAP it using Thunderbird as well as Outlook using the Google Apps Sync for Outlook app – which performs much better than a straight IMAP with Outlook and a Google Apps account. I interact with all of these accounts from mobile devices too. On the desktop I prefer the gmail web interface to a client these days, and I see it getting even better w/ the continuous improvements they are making. On mobile devices I like the gmail app but find it odd that I have to use the mobile web version to set a signature or vacation responder.

  49. Jim

    I appreciate the info. However, I have no idea what you’re talking about. You’re way over my “computer illiterate” head.

    I have been given a nextbook tablet and am trying to get it set up to access my email. It keeps asking if my email is pop3, imap or exchange. How do I find out? Any help in getting this #*&% working will be appreciated.

    Jim

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