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What is the difference between IMAP and POP3 email


POP3 Post Office Protocol 3

Original email service has been around since the birth of email, downloads and deletes emails when receiving through Outlook or other Software* (* See NOTES below)

IMAP Internet Message Access Protocol

Newer service which allows you to view or copy emails from the Mail Service Server



POP3 - downloads email messages from the Mail Server and deletes them from the server to prevent your mail space filling up.
You then have a copy of these emails in a file/folders on your computer or device, so you control backup/amending/deleting of these files.
IMAP - views emails on the Mail Server you do not have control over backing up or storing unless you drag them into a folder on your computer or device.


POP3 - When sending emails from Mail software (outlook, thunderbird, Evolution they appear in the Sent folder for that software not on the mail server

IMAP - When sending emails or storing in folders this is all carried out for you on the mail server


Outlook - Microsoft
Outlook Express - Microsoft
Windows Mail and LiveMail - Mircosoft
Thunderbird - MAC or Microsoft
Evolution - MAC


1. With either email type, make sure you Synchronise or backup your contacts list on a regular basis
2. Most Email software now allows you to leave a copy of email on the server with POP3 email
3. Webmail Allows you to access POP3 email as if it is an IMAP account