WiscMail / WiscMail Plus - Differences between POP, IMAP, and WebMail

To configure your email client, use these instructions.

IMAP

IMAP (recommended connection type) is an especially convenient method of delivery for those who use multiple computers. A growing number of email users have one machine at work and a different one at home, possibly also a laptop for travel, or they use public PCs in a library or computer lab. Like POP3, mail is delivered to a central server, but the mail client (Outlook, Thunderbird, Vista Mail) does not copy it all at once and then delete it from the server. It's more of an interactive model, where the user can ask to view all messages or messages meeting certain criteria. Messages on the central server can be marked with various status flags (e.g. "deleted" or "answered"), moved to folders either on a local computer or on the server, and they stay on the server until explicitly removed by the user. This way the messages can be viewed from other computers until they are marked for deletion or downloaded to a folder on a computer. In short: IMAP is designed to permit manipulation of remote mailboxes as if they were on a local machine.

POP3

POP3 is designed to support "offline" mail processing. POP3 works best for people who 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 less dependent on server resources (meaning less time needed to stay connected to the internet.) However, email access for the mobile user is limited.

The leaving mail on server option in a POP3 system is designed to be a temporary central storage location when using multiple machines. An example of an appropriate use of this feature would be setting your local POP3 client to leave mail on server at work and setting you home PC to not leave the mail on server thus allowing you to view your mail at work, but always store your mail at home. Leaving mail on server in a POP3 system is not designed to be a permanent message storage location, in fact many internet service providers offering POP3 mail will only allow mail to remain the server for a limited time period.

Webmail

WebMail offers complete access to your mail without any mail being downloaded to your computer. You access your mail with your web browser. You have the ability to read mail, send mail, make folders for storage, reply, forward, etc. Since your mail is never downloaded to a computer, the method is ideal for use on public computers. It is convenient for someone who seldom uses the same computer to access mail.

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.

What is the difference between IMAP and POP?

IMAP

IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol) is a standard protocol for accessing e-mail from your local server. IMAP is a client/server protocol in which e-mail is received and held for you by your Internet server. You (or your e-mail client) can view just the heading and the sender of the letter and then decide whether to download the mail. You can also create and manipulate folders or mailboxes on the server, delete messages, or search for certain parts or an entire note. IMAP requires continual access to the server during the time that you are working with your mail.

POP

POP3 (Post Office Protocol 3) is a less sophisticated protocol than IMAP. With POP3, your mail is saved for you in your mailbox on the server. When you read your mail, all of it is immediately downloaded to your computer and no longer maintained on the server. WiscWorld used the POP3 protocol.

What is SSL?

Secure Socket Layer (SSL) allows your client to communicate with the server with an encrypted certificate, ensuring the security of your password and your email. Both IMAP and POP support using the SSL encryption protocol to access your mail. The POP protocol using SSL is commonly called SPOP; the IMAP protocol using SSL is generally referred to as Secure IMAP.

What is the difference between using IMAP and leaving your mail on the server using POP?

The "leaving mail on the server" option in a POP system is a temporary central storage location when using multiple computers.  An example of an appropriate use of this feature would be setting your local POP client to leave mail on the server at work and setting your home PC to not leave mail on the server thus allowing you to view your mail at work, but always store your mail at home.  Leaving mail on the server in a POP system is not designed to be a permanent message storage location; many internet service providers offering POP mail (including WiscWorld) will only allow mail to remain the server for a limited time period.  

IMAP is designed to be a permanent message storage location. It also allows you to organize and store your messages in folders that also remain on the server. These messages and folder structure are designed to be viewed from any location you are set up to access them.

Which is better: IMAP or POP?

Although IMAP is a superior technology and we recommend using it, the POP protocol still works with WiscMail. Many people prefer POP's straight-forward approach to email, so you can decide which is better for you. You can set up your email clients to use the POP or the IMAP protocol, but not both. You may experience synchronization problems if you use an email client configured for IMAP on one computer and an email client configured for POP on a different computer. You should decide which protocol is best for you, and then use it on all of your email clients.




Keywords: wiscmail pop imap webmail mail protocols email vs vs. versus client   Doc ID: 1535
Owner: Ara M.Group: WiscMail
Created: 2002-06-30 19:00 CDTUpdated: 2014-10-20 09:42 CDT
Sites: DoIT Help Desk, DoIT Staff, WiscMail