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What is POP3 and how does it compare to IMAP4?


POP (Post Office Protocol) is used to provide simple remote access to mailboxes. POP3 is the latest version of POP. With POP3, once mail clients connect and download their messages, the messages are typically removed from the server and stored on the client’s local machine.

IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol) is richer in functionality than POP and is designed to allow clients to access and manage mailboxes on the server as if they were local. IMAP is a much more complex protocol than POP, with less client support.

GMS Webmail and IMAP/POP are designed to work together. This means that when you look at your email through POP/IMAP, you will see exactly the same results as if you had used your web browser through GMS Webmail. The reverse is also true.

For example, POP clients can typically only download their messages. IMAP allows the client to select which messages and parts of messages a client wishes to download, allows mailboxes to be created, and allows messages to be moved among mailboxes. IMAP lets the client ask the server for headers and message parts, or search for messages that meet a certain criteria. IMAP4 is the latest version of the IMAP protocol. Improvements include:

  • Support for synchronization with off-line and mobile clients when they are connected to the IMAP4 message store
  • Extensive text searching capabilities
  • Hierarchical and shared folders
  • Status flags
  • Remote folder management

Keywords:pop3 imap4 compare folders status mobile clients

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