The RazorBall Mascot RazorBall Designs & Develops Affordable Dynamic Websites with Content Management that are Simple for you to Change. Subdivision Websites
Better Website Designs at an Affordable Price Subdivision Websites Subdivision Websites
Welcome to RazorBall Email Help: POP3 vs. IMAP [Printable Version]     
Website Design Dynamic Websites Affordable Hosting Content Management Simple for You to Change Custom Designed Custom Designed
About RazorBall
Contact Us
Email Help
Affordable Developement St. Louis Based
Affordable Developement St. Louis Based
Custom Solutions


POP3 vs. IMAP…Which Should I Use?


• POP3 (or POP) stands for Post Office Protocol. The main “feature” of POP is the fact that it retrieves mail from the server and downloads it to your computer, thus allowing you to be able to read emails without being connected to the Internet.

• This means that if you access your mail in any way other than the WebMail page (i.e. through OutLook, etc.) your mail will be removed from the server and stored on whatever machine you access your mail through. This can pose a problem for people who want to be able to check their email from multiple devices, such as their BlackBerry or iPhone.

• Once mail is received through a mail client such as OutLook, the message will only be available through OutLook on whatever machine you’re using. The message will no longer show up in the WebMail client and therefore will not be accessible via mobile device since the device checks the server for messages that aren’t there since they’ve already been downloaded to OutLook.

• This also means that any email pulled from the server will only be accessible on whatever computer the mail was pulled with. This means you cannot view your email from other computers or automatically have copies of emails if you ever change machines.

• POP is great for people that have space limitations on their email accounts (i.e. an allocation of 250MB). Since mail is removed from the server, your “online mailbox” is practically empty. POP is also good for people that aren’t concerned with being able to access their email from more than one device or machine.

• If you’re very concerned about losing emails, most email clients have an option to leave a copy of an email message on the server for a set period of time, giving you some “wiggle room” to get messages organized. This also allows you to access your email from your mobile device for that set period of time. Keep in mind, after the set period of time, messages will be removed from the server.


• IMAP, or Internet Message Address Protocol, does the exact opposite of POP. It stores email on the server and can be accessed at any time from any device.

• IMAP also gives you the option to create folders to help sort your mail that will apply to any device you access your mail from. For example, if you set up two folders in your IMAP account from work and you check your email on a computer in a hotel’s office center, the two folders will still be there and would be accessible.

• IMAP allows for multiple-device access, so checking email is easy while on the go. You can check your email (past and present) from just about any device that has an Internet connection, such as your BlackBerry or iPhone. Since messages are stored on the server, there’s no need to confine yourself to one device.

• One drawback of IMAP is that messages have to be manually deleted, as once you hit your storage quota, new mail will stop coming in. Another potential downside is that messages are never automatically downloaded to your local machine, so if you delete the message from the server it’s likely gone for good.

• IMAP is perfect for people that want to be able to check their email from just about anywhere. They can require a little bit more work to maintain, but the organizational aspects and “back-up” capability allow for an extremely reliable protocol.

Overall, both protocols have their pros and their cons. If you worry about storage space and don’t feel the need to check email from a mobile device, go with POP. If you have multiple devices and want to be able to access your email from anywhere, go with IMAP. If you have more questions or concerns, feel free to contact us via the “Contact RazorBall for Help” link or talk with us live via the new LiveHelp! Video Chat!


  1. Most RazorBall email accounts come with at least 500 MB of disk space - enough to suffice most individuals email storage means. Meaning IMAP should be find to use. 500 MB of disk space is enough to generally hold 1000's of emails. As an example, one customer currently has a 1 GB IMAP storage plan.  They have well over 10,000 emails actively stored in their account on the RazorBall email server.
  2. If you need to actively retain more than, roughly, 2500 email messages, you will either need to purchase more server space or think about using POP.
  3. If you already have 1000's of emails in your email client (Outlook, Thunderbird, Mac Mail, etc.) and you are migrating to a RazorBall email account you may want to think about using POP.
  4. If you like the idea of accessing your email, calendar, contacts list, and other information from any computer, anywhere, at anytime, then you should consider IMAP.
  5. If you fall into 2, 3, and 4, meaning that you have 1000's of emails stored on your local computer and you have a BlackBerry or iPhone, or other decive. Then look into the option of using a POP account that retains 10-20 days of emails on the server. This is basically a POP solution with some IMAP-like benefits.
Ultimately, IMAP is the way to go in my opinion. It allows you to get to your emails anywhere at anytime. Further, if you use IMAP and your computer crashed, you lose your computer, or your computer is in the shopf or repairs - then you can still get to all of your email, even without your primary computer. This is because the emails are stored on the server.



Website Design Dynamic Websites Affordable Hosting Content Management Simple for You to Change Custom Designed Custom Designed
home   |    about   |    contact   |    webmail   |    privacy
A Dynamic Web Application with Content Management Developed and Hosted by RazorBall: A St. Louis based hosting provider of affordable websites that are simple for you to change!
All Rights Reserved - © 2003 RazorBall.Net, Inc.