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Difference between POP3 and IMAP Protocols

section: Support

All e-mails that are delivered to your inbox are first stored on a server where you can retrieve them directly through a browser on the webpage webmail.platon.sk.

In order to comfortably work with the mail directly on your computer, it is necessary to first download them from the server. There are two way (protocols) to load the mail to your computer: POP3 and IMAP. They both have their advantages and certain disadvantages, so you should decide based on your needs which one to choose.

The IMAP protocol stores your mail on the server. For those who need to access all of their email from more than one computer it is probably the best choice. The POP3 protocol, by default, downloads messages to your computer and then deletes them from the mail server. If you leave all of your mail on a primary computer (for example, your office computer), but want to have access to recently received mail on a secondary computer (a home computer), you should leave your messages on the server for a limited period of time.

Post Office Protocol

Post Office Protocol (POP3) POP3 protocol will physically download incoming mail from the server to folders of your e-mail client.

The disadvantage of the POP3 is that it will download all mail from the mail server. Thus, if you receive a mail with a large attachment, but are expecting an important e-mail sent later, you have to wait until all previously received messages are downloaded. The advantage is that received messages are already stored on your computer and you can work with them, even if you are not connected to the Internet. New mail will not be downloaded unless you are connected.

E-mails that will be downloaded to the computer will no longer be on the server (unless it is set by default that e-mails will be stored on the server after downloading)

Internet Message Access Protocol

Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP) In the case of an IMAP server, the e-mail client will download only a “list” of received e-mails to your computer, where you can select which ones should be downloaded.

In other words, you will only see the “headings” of received mail. Their opening is, however, very prompt. Compared with downloading a complete e-mail, the process is very quick. Afterwards, you can decide which e-mail should be actually downloaded to the computer, which do download later or not at all.

All messages, regardless of whether they have been downloaded to the computer, remain on the server. If you erase a mail from the e-mail client, it will also be erased from the server (e-mail client and server synchronize).

Protocol Selection

If you still have not decided which of the protocols is more suitable for your needs, here are some tips to help you:

  • In your mobiles, you should definitely select IMAP; most clients use their phones during the day only to briefly check their mailbox to see if an important mail has been delivered.

  • If you do not have regular Internet access, or pay for the volume of transported data, or you want to have access to your e-mails also when you are not on-line, select the POP3 protocol for your computer;

  • If you have a relatively stable and frequent Internet access, use IMAP. Incoming mail will stay on the server, where it is regular backed up at night, so you do not have to do it yourself. In addition, you have constant access to your mail from your mobile or webmail.
Your e-mail client will have to be set up based on the selected protocol. We provide detailed configuration instructions for various e-mail clients and respective protocols
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