The difference between IMAP and POP3 Print

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When adding an email account to cpanel, you can decide between IMAP (remote folders) and POP3 (keep mail on your computer). IMAP and POP3 are different methods (often referred to as protocols) of accessing your email.

IMAP: Messages and folders are kept on the server. Changes made in the email client are mirrored on the server, and changes on the server are mirrored to the client.
POP3: New incoming messages are in a mailbox (Inbox) on the server, which the client downloads to store on your computer, and client immediately removes from the server unless you choose otherwise from the client settings for your account.

To help you decide what is best for you, here are some things to consider:

  • Do you want to access the account from more than one device? Choose IMAP.
  • Do you want to access the account from a web browser? Choose IMAP.
  • Does your email provider support IMAP or POP3? Most of them support both, but you should verify first.
  • What is the size limit of your mailbox? Most mail providers provide more than enough space to keep everything on the server, but if you plan on storing more than 15GB, choose POP3.
  • Are you typically on a high latency or extremely high cost connection (such as satellite), or rarely have an internet connection? Choose POP3.


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