The all-in-one domain name and web hosting solution
Back to Helpdesk
What is IMAP? Difference between IMAP and POP3

When you create your business email address at, you can choose to link your email address to your own email app. You don't have to use our webmail to read your emails, but you can easily use the email app of your phone or laptop. When you want to do this you have the choice between two protocols for retrieving your email messages, IMAP or POP3. You can use either of these protocols to set up your email account on a mail client of your choice. In this article, we'll explain the difference between POP and IMAP.

What's the difference between IMAP vs POP3?

IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol) and POP3 (Post Office Protocol 3) are two different ways to retrieve email from a server. There is one main difference between IMAP and POP.

The IMAP protocol is the latest and most advanced method. It allows you to retrieve your emails from different devices and store your email on the server. This means you can always access your email no matter where you are or what device you are using. IMAP is an online protocol used to retrieve email from an email server.

The POP3 protocol is an older method where email messages are downloaded to your device and then deleted from the server. This means that you can only access your email when you are on the device you downloaded the email with. POP3 is an offline protocol used to retrieve email from an email server and store it on the local computer.

POP3 meaning: What is POP/POP3 (Post Office Protocol)?

POP3 is short for Post Office Protocol 3. POP3 is an Internet protocol used to retrieve e-mail from a mail server. The protocol was designed by RFC 1939, and is the latest POP version.

POP3 is a protocol used to retrieve email from a mail server. It works by 'polling' the mail server for new email. When there is a new message, the server will send the message to the user's device.

POP3 works in a number of ways, but the most common is that it deletes email from the server as soon as it is retrieved. After that, emails are stored locally on the device where they were downloaded. This can be a problem if you want to read your email on different devices, as the message will only be present in one place at a time.

IMAP meaning: What is IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol)?

What does IMAP stand for? The name IMAP stands for Internet Message Access Protocol. It's a protocol used to retrieve emails from a mail server. It was developed in 1986.

IMAP is widely used by email providers because it has a number of advantages over other protocols, such as POP3. For example:

  • IMAP allows you to retrieve email messages from different devices, such as your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone. Your email is stored on multiple devices. This is useful if you're outside and still want to check your email.
  • If your computer crashes, or some other problem occurs that causes you to lose a device, you always have a backup of your emails on the server.
  • IMAP synchronizes email messages with the server, so you always have the most recent version of a message.
  • IMAP offers more possibilities to organize email messages, for example by using folders or labels.
  • IMAP allows you to use encryption (SSL/TLS) for extra security.

IMAP is thus an excellent protocol for retrieving email messages. It's widely used by email providers and is supported by all popular email apps. You can therefore set up your email account on apps such as Microsoft Outlook, Apple Mail, and Mozilla Thunderbird. Such an app is also called an email client.

IMAP allows you to access your email on different devices in different locations and synchronize the email across all devices.

POP3 or IMAP? Pros and cons of POP3 and IMAP

POP3 or IMAP? The IMAP protocol is better than the POP3 protocol because:

  • You can view your email on different devices in different locations and synchronize the email on all devices.
  • You can leave your email on the server and download it at any time when you have an internet connection.
  • You can leave email on the server and mark it as read, unread, sent, unwanted, and so on. This can be useful if you want to backup your emails.
  • Because your emails remain on the server, you can also log into your mailbox through the webmail. This can be useful if you ever use a device other than your own.
  • While POP3 can be set up on multiple devices, it only receives an email one one device, which is the first device that receives it.

POP3 or IMAP? The POP3 protocol is better than the IMAP protocol because:

  • POP3 uses less bandwidth than IMAP.
  • POP3 uses less battery than IMAP (IMAP constantly loads new email).

Our opinion on IMAP vs POP3

POP3 is a simple protocol that takes email from a server and stores it on your local computer. This means that you always have access to your email, even when you're not online. The disadvantage of POP3 is that your email is in one place. If you lose email on your computer or if your computer breaks down, you lose your email.

IMAP is a more advanced protocol that leaves email stored on the server. This means that you must always be online to access your email. The advantage of IMAP is that your email is synchronized on multiple devices. If you lose email on your computer or if your computer breaks down, you can always log on to the server and retrieve your email again. After all, your emails are stored on the IMAP server.

In most cases, when comparing POP vs IMAP or POP3 vs IMAP, an IMAP account is the best choice. However, if you travel a lot and are not always online, POP3 may be a better protocol for you. We recommend most customers to use IMAP, mainly because of the fact that your mailbox is stored on the IMAP server. With IMAP, emails are preserved in case of a crash, unless a user explicitly deletes them of course.

Regardless of which protocol you use, an SMTP server (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol server) handles the sending of your emails (outgoing mail).

When you use the webmail, you're accessing it through the hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP) or hypertext transfer protocol secure (HTTPS), but HTTP/HTTPS only handles the loading of the webmail client, not the sending or receiving parts of email.

IMAP vs POP3 for your email addresses at

At, we support both POP and IMAP for your business email service. After you create your email address you can choose between using POP or IMAP for your email account yourself, or you can just use our webmail.

At, creating unlimited email addresses is included with every domain name, just like web hosting, SSL security and our website and online store builder. With us, you only pay for your domain name. Whether you have one domain name or multiple domain names, is the best hosting for you.

Hopefully, this article has helped you if you've searched for things like, "IMAP vs POP" or "What is a IMAP server?". If you have any questions, you can always contact our support team.

Ready to search for your domain name?

Couldn’t find what you were looking for?

You can always chat with one of our experts for any questions you might have!

New articles added