7.3. IMAP versus POP3 e-mail

There are two common standards for e-mail management, IMAP and POP3. Your server supports both protocols. You will need to select the protocol that is right for your organization.

POP3 is the earlier, better-known e-mail protocol. POP3 was designed to permit on-demand retrieval to a single client machine. E-mail is stored on the mail server until you retrieve it, at which time it is transferred over the network to your desktop machine and stored in your e-mail box there.

Benefits of POP3 Drawbacks of POP3
Even when you are not connected to your network, you have access to the e-mail stored on your desktop. POP3 was not originally intended to support users accessing and managing their e-mail from remote systems. Because your e-mail is stored on your desktop, setting up remote access of your e-mail when you are at a different computer can be complex.

IMAP e-mail, in contrast, is designed to permit interactive access to multiple mailboxes from multiple client machines. You manage your e-mail on the mail server over the network. You read your e-mail over the network from your desktop, but the e-mail is not stored on your desktop machine - rather, it is permanently stored and managed on the server.

Benefits of IMAP Drawbacks of IMAP
You can access all of your new and stored e-mail from any machine connected to a network.

Because all employee e-mail is stored on the server, backup of e-mail is easily accomplished.

If you are not connected to a network, new and stored e-mail messages are not available to you.
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Chapter 7.2. Configuring the Computers on Your Network Table of Contents Chapter 7.4. Configuring Your E-mail Application