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What's the difference between POP3 and IMAP

When setting up an email account on a desktop based email client, as oppose to a webmail email client, it will ask you whether to use an email exchange server, POP3 or IMAP.

The email exchange server will only work if you have an email server which will allow all emails to be downloaded to the server and then people within a team or organisation will connect to their emails via the exchange server so that each individual computer doesn't need to download their emails. This also makes backing up a lot easier.

For a home email account you're more likely to need to pick between a POP3 or IMAP email account.

POP3 email accounts

The POP3 mailbox will download any new emails every time the email client is opened.

There is an option to leave them on the server - but this will soon clog up your email quota. It is an idea, however, to leave your emails on the server for a couple of days for backup purposes.

POP3 accounts should be used if only accessing your emails from one computer, and having the emails being downloaded to your computer makes it easier for you to back them up also.

IMAP email accounts

The IMAP mailbox will connect you directly to the email server where your emails are sent.

If you delete on an IMAP mailbox it will delete the email from the actual mail server.

IMAP email accounts are especially useful if you will be accessing your emails from multiple computers.

For backup purposes it is sometimes a good idea to have one main computer that uses a POP3 email account so that you can download the emails and keep backups.

When sending and receiving a lot of emails with one or more attachments you should make sure that you clear out your mailbox regularly incase you reach your email server quota.

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