First and foremost they are protocols used to connect your mailbox server to an email client. So they allow you to send and receive emails.
These emails may be from desktop email clients such as Microsoft Outlook or even online Webmail Servers.
POP3 stands for Post Office Protocol.
- POP3 downloads your email as you view it in the email client
- Suitable for users who want to access their emails from only one client.
- The downloaded mail then becomes available in the selected client and becomes unavailable for download for another customer.
- By downloading, POP completely removes your emails from the server and brings them to your phone/tablet.
- With POP the next download of emails will be from the point you downloaded last hence downloaded emails cannot be accessed again.
- Can only download emails from one location that you are managing. In the case of device failure, you will not be able to get a backup of your previous emails unless you had backed them yourself manually.
IMAP stand for Internet Message Access Protocol.
- IMAP allows you to connect to the mailbox hence enabling you to view your emails rather than downloading them.
- Allows you to view emails from multiple locations.
- Since there is synchronization of emails, therefore an email deleted in one client would be available for another client.
- IMAP allows you to view a copy of the email while the original stays in the server.
- Since the original copy of the email remains on the server, previous emails could still be accessed as well as recent ones.
- Best to access emails from multiple locations, clients, and devices since it does not require downloading meaning in the case of a computer failure you can be able to access your account on another device.
IMAP is the best option as it gives you the ability to manage your account from the client to the device and also gives you the ability to access your emails from multiple locations and different devices.