There are two types of Email hosting services: POP and IMAP. IMAP and POP are two different communications protocols that Email programs and Email servers use to communicate with each other. It's easy to understand that you host your Email just as you would host your website, but understanding the differences and benefits of both POP and IMAP will help when it comes to picking the right option.
What is IMAP?
Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP) is one of the standard protocols for accessing Email from your local computer. Think of your Email program, such as Outlook, Thunderbird, or Mac Mail, as a gateway to your messages. Although the messages appear on your computer while you work with them, IMAP Emails remain on the central mail server. The two-way communication between your Email program and our servers means that your program or device communicates with our servers and syncs your changes automatically when using the IMAP protocol.
When you sign in to your account in a web browser, any actions you've taken in your Email client or mobile device will appear there as well. Since the messages remain on the server, you can access your mail from multiple locations and ensure that your messages are always available to you. Because your Email messages remain on the server you won't have to worry about losing your messages if your computer crashes or if you lose your phone.
What is POP3?
Post Office Protocol (POP) is another standard protocol for receiving Email. A one-way communication path, your device or program asks us for data and pulls it from our server. Things you do on your device have no effect on the server. If you read a message on your phone, then log in to your Email at work, you will see that same message marked as unread. Many users find it useful that POP is designed to handle offline operations. Because the messages are downloaded to your computer you do not need to worry about accruing messages and consuming server space as you would when using IMAP.
In some situations you will have the choice of using either a POP or IMAP account. PSP, Inc. will be offering IMAP as an alternative to POP in the coming months. When choosing between POP vs. IMAP you will need to take into account what you need out of your Email services. If you have any questions or if you would like to learn more about our Email hosting services, please contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org or 425-957-0808.
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