POP3 VS IMAP Email Format

So here’s the thing, whether you receive your emails using the POP3 or IMAP format is up to you.

It’s an ‘user end’ setting and nothing to do with how the email is setup on the hosting/server end.

The primary difference is this –

– POP3 downloads the emails from the server to the device (held on the server for short time then cleared)

– IMAP shows the the emails on the device BUT they’re actually held on the server, and viewed on the device

Why have 2 Email Format options?

– POP3 is generally used when there’s only 1 device used to read/process emails

– IMAP is generally used when there are multiple devices used to read/process emails

Pick ONE!

POP3 vs IMAP Email FormatMake sure you ONLY use one format. We sometimes see clients use POP3 on the main PC and then IMAP format on their mobile device. Yeah nah!

Imagine this scenario: Client is out and about, they see an email on their mobile, they get back to the office, using the PC they open emails and respond and file said email.

Then when they’re out and about a little later, they want to view the email, it’s GONE. PANIC!

Why is it gone? Because the PC running POP3 has now downloaded the email from the server onto THAT PC, so the IMAP format cannot retrieve what is not there any longer.

With me so far?

If you use multiple devices ONLY use IMAP format. Do not use POP3 on one machine and IMAP on the other.

I hope that helps.


If you’re a Microsoft user we RECOMMEND Office365 Exchange.

It still uses your @businessname but major benefits over domain hosted email setup, and cheap as chips….

There are major benefits to having your emails managed through Microsoft.

> You get a massive 50 GB mailbox per user and can send messages up to 150 MB in size (massive).

> Superior syncing between devices if you receive emails on a mobile, a desktop or tablet. This one multiple device syncing feature is worth the switch.

> 24/7 Microsoft Support Portal. You can access email support online directly with Microsoft.

> This service also includes a web-client access portal, so you can access your emails online.

> Every mailbox is protected with premier anti-malware and anti-spam protection via Exchange Online Protection.

> Keep your inbox clean by automatically moving old messages to an In-Place Archive.

> Calendar syncing between devices is totally automated. Never double-book or miss an appointment again.

> Share calendars, have appointments set for you by your team, set appointments for others (if multiple account users).

> Shared contacts, create contact lists, only share contacts as you see fit with who you see fit

> Shared mailboxes, perfect when 2 or more need to handle a certain email account


Prices start from as little as AU$5.50 user/month (annual commitment)

View the link for more details on Microsoft Office 365 Exchange

> https://products.office.com/en-AU/exchange/compare-microsoft-exchange-online-plans


You will need to engage an IT specialist to set it up but when it’s done that’s it.

When it comes to IT, there is ‘WEB IT’ which is us, and then there’s ‘COMPUTER IT’ and that’s NOT us 🙂

We can refer you to our recommended IT people to help with this, it’s outside of the scope of website support.

And you get Microsoft Support all built-in, and they’re really responsive.

Let us know if you need direction and we can make the IT Support introduction.

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Peter B Butler

Passionate with serial ‘hobbiest’ tendencies. Love WordPress & software 'toys'. Raving 70's Jap Bike collector. By day we convert dead dormant websites into profitable sites, hence ‘Smarter Websites’ - making them 'work', one at a time if necessary. On target for world domination, albeit our part of the world...

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