When securing an email account, you might come across a number account styles and systems, the most common being IMAP, POP, and Exchange. It’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with each of these, so you can get the most out of your email account.

In this article, we’ll look at each in more detail, and discuss the pros and cons. Let’s get right into it.

POP

Post Office Protocol – or POP – is the oldest type of email system. The original purpose of POP was to help email applications like Outlook and Apple’s Mail app connect, and send and download emails.

Although POP has evolved over the years with many versions of the software being developed, POP3 remains the most popular.

How does POP work?

When using a POP email system, each individual email is downloaded onto the first device that connects to it. In other words, if you open a POP email on your laptop, your laptop is the only place the email exists. If you then try to access that email on your smart phone, the email will not show up.

The pros and cons of POP

Pros:

  • Quick and easy to setup
  • Very common and popular
  • Each email downloads to one location only

Cons:

  • No message syncing available
  • No syncing of contacts, calendars, or any other associated data
  • Once an email is downloaded, it is removed from the server

IMAP

Internet Message Access Protocol – or IMAP – is newer than POP, and offers greater syncing functionality.

How does IMAP work?

As we mentioned above, when you download an email via a POP account, that email exists in one place, and one place only. IMAP is different. If you download an email on your phone, it will download onto your computer. If you open an email on your computer, it will show up as ‘read’ on your phone.

At first glance, IMAP seems like a superior email solution – but, that isn’t always the case. If, for example, you have multiple people accessing the one email account, POP may be preferable. POP can prevent two or more people working on the same email.

The pros and cons of IMAP

Pros:

  • Message download and read status, and all peripheral data can be synced across all devices
  • Messages are saved on the server, and can be downloaded by new accounts
  • Simple to activate and use

Cons

  • Messages are stored on the server, which can fill up fast
  • Because IMAP accounts are more complex, syncing issues can occur
  • Message syncing can cause confusion if two or more people are accessing the one account 

Exchange

The most complex and involved of the three, Exchange – officially named MAPI or Messaging Application Programming Interface – is a practical option for corporate accounts, companies, and businesses.

How does Exchange work?

Exchange was developed by Microsoft, and is, in many ways, similar to IMAP. Although many of the differences between the two are quite technical, the main difference is this: the Exchange protocol allows users to sync messages, contacts, calendars, and other peripheral data between devices and services.

The pros and cons of Exchange

Pros:

  • Message download and read status, and all peripheral data can be synced across all devices
  • Messages are saved on the server, and can be downloaded by new accounts
  • If sent within the server’s domain, emails can be un-sent

Cons:

  • Limited support across desktop clients
  • The implementation of an Exchange server is necessary, which requires expertise
  • When a device is connected to a corporate Exchange server, all emails can be accessed and read by the company
  • Syncing issues may occur
  • Setup can be challenging 

Get help with your email account

Whether you’re setting up a free, personal email account or looking for a professional messaging solution, the experienced technicians at Computer Cures can help. Call the team today on 1300 553 166 or fill out the form on this page for a fast and accurate quote.