We offer web hosting services here at AshWebStudio and along with that comes email hosting. This allows our clients to have email@example.com which looks much more professional than firstname.lastname@example.org. Many people don’t realize there are two ways to access your email – and I don’t mean Outlook and Webmail.
What is POP access?
Accessing your email via POP is what most people setup because it is the default in most email applications like Outlook. When you access email via POP, Outlook or whatever email program you are using downloads the email message from the server to your computer. The email message no longer resides on the mail server after you have retrieved it. When you go to check for new messages on the email server, it won’t come up again because it doesn’t exist there anymore.
What is IMAP?
Accessing your email via IMAP is what we use at AshWebStudio and recommend for most of our clients. When you check your email using Outlook, a copy of the email is transferred to your computer but the message remains on the server. Outlook is simply an interface for looking at your email and not a program that grabs your email off the server like with POP. If you mark an email as read in Outlook, then the email is marked as read on the server. If you delete an email in Outlook, it is then deleted from the server (actually it’s moved to the Trash before being permanently removed).
What method should I use?
If you only ever check your email in one place, then POP access is perfectly fine. Because you remove email messages and attachments from the mail server via POP, it is less likely you will have storage space issues.
IMAP is recommended for those who like to check their email from multiple devices. We recommend IMAP because everyone has a computer and their smartphone and use both to access email. With IMAP, if you mark an email as read on your computer it will show up as read on your smartphone. Again, with IMAP the device being used is simply an interface with the email server. With POP, if you read an email on your computer it would not show up on your smartphone since the email was removed from the server when you used your computer.
Hope that helps anyone who is confused about the two and trying to figure out which one to use.