Difference between POP3, IMAP, Webmail

Difference between POP3, IMAP, Webmail

Each email account you configure can be accessed through an email program like outlook, using two different setup types. IMAP, POP3. 


IMAP is a what you use when you have multiple devices, and want the same email to be available identically from device to device. You would set up the email account using IMAP settings on each device to have all your mail sync.

Understand that the email is actually being stored on the server itself, and your devices will be syncing to whatever is on the server. If you delete a mail on one device, it deletes it off the server, then syncs the change with your other devices. 

IMAP leaves the messages on the server. It only downloads enough information about the message to display it in your email client on your computer. This is what makes it convenient if you use multiple computers as the email is always accessible because it remains on the Key Web Studio mail server.



POP settings will "POP" your emails off the server as they arrive, and store them on your device. They are not stored on the server with POP. Therefore, POP is not a good choice for multiple devices.

POP3 is designed to support "offline" mail processing. POP3 works best if you use a single computer all the time. When using POP3, mail is delivered to a central server, and the user uses a mail "client" program (Eudora, Outlook, Netscape Messenger, etc.) that connects to the server and downloads all of the pending mail to the user's own machine. Thereafter, all mail processing is local to the personal computer. Once delivered to your computer, the messages are deleted from the mail server (unless you configure your client to temporarily leave your mail on the server.) One of the chief virtues of offline access is that it is less dependent on server resources (takes up no space). However, with pop3 email your email will not be accessible on the server once you have downloaded it to your computer unless specifically configured in the email client. This means that you will not be able to check your email remotely.



WebMail offers complete access to your mail without any mail being downloaded to your computer. It is also where you can manage your email and change passwords, etc. You access your mail with a browser at mail.yourdomain.com. 


Webmail is a direct reflection of the mail and functions of the server. You have the ability to read mail, send mail, make folders for storage, reply, forward, etc. You can also configure rules, setup additional spam filtering, add contacts, and many of the same things you can do in an email client, but all online through a web browser. This is a convenient way to check mail from anywhere, especially if you use IMAP.


You can access your webmail interface by typing mail.yourdomain.com into any web browser (replace "yourdomain" with your actual domain). 

Note: some disadvantages to webmail (vs desktop IMAP/POP clients) are: takes longer to access messages, few advanced features, inability to read or compose mail off-line.

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