What to choose between IMAP and POP? Print

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When you create an e-mail account you can access it mainly in three ways or methods: WebMail, IMAP or POP. To help you choose the access that suits you best, you will find here a description of their main characteristics, in order to have the necessary criteria to make the choice that suits you best.

Attention: You can freely choose the connection mode that suits you best, but it is important to know that as much as you will be able to switch in a relatively easy way from a WebMail or IMAP access to POP, as much as in the other direction (switching from a POP access to IMAP/WebMail) it is not really simple, unless you accept to end up with an empty e-mail box. Take this parameter into account when making your choice.

WebMail access

WebMail access allows you to view your messages on our servers from any computer or mobile device with Internet access and a browser that allows you to connect via its interface. To find out how to connect, follow the instructions described here : How do I access WebMail?

Benefits:

  • You can easily connect from anywhere;
  • Your messages are stored on our servers and can be accessed from any device with Internet access and a browser;
  • The storage of your messages on our servers can therefore be considered as a backup, which means that your messages are not lost in case of failure or loss of your devices used to access them.


Disadvantages:

  • You will need to log in (enter your email address and password) each time you log in to view your messages;
  • You cannot consult several e-mail accounts using the same interface: you will have to disconnect and then reconnect to another account to consult a second account, and so on for each account;
  • Your messages being stored on our servers, you are limited either by the quota you set when you created your account, or by the disk capacity that is allocated to you according to your subscription.


Our advice: this solution is practical if you only have one e-mail account to consult, when you are traveling or in a place where Internet access is difficult to obtain other than through cybercafés or business centers offering this service (Be careful, however, to protect and enter your password well away from prying eyes!).

IMAP access

IMAP: Internet Message Access Protocol. The principle is simple: just like WebMail access, you consult and manage your messages that are stored on our servers, except that you can do this from your own application or e-mail client software (Outlook, Thunderbird, Windows, MacOS, iPhone, Android, etc.). This way you can use the same software or application to view multiple email accounts.

Advantages:

  • The main advantage is that your messages are stored on our servers and can therefore be viewed from any other device that has access to them (computer, tablet, phone, etc.) as well as through WebMail access;
  • You enter your connection settings once and for all per connected device and your software/application takes care of the rest;
  • The storage of your messages on our servers can therefore be considered as a backup, which means that they are not lost in case of failure or loss of one or more of your devices used to access them;
  • You have the possibility to consult several e-mail accounts using your favorite software or messaging applications.


Disadvantages:

  • You must have access to the Internet at all times to be able to view your stored messages, not only for new ones but also for those received in the past. This can be a handicap when traveling abroad for example.
    However, some client applications offer the option of a "cache" that allows you to have a local copy of your messages on your computer, thus allowing you to consult the contents of your mailboxes even if you do not have access to the Internet.
  • Accessing and synchronizing your e-mail box may be slower than using other methods, especially for very large e-mail accounts (containing many messages). In the latter case, performance may decrease and certain functions such as searching may take longer to perform.
  • Your messages being stored on our servers, you are limited either by the quota that you set when you created your account, or by the disk capacity that is allocated to you according to your subscription.


Our advice: when in doubt, it is better to opt for IMAP access, which is nowadays one of the most commonly used methods because it is very suitable for the currently widespread "nomadic" and "cloudsourcing" usage, which consists in accessing the same account from several devices (computer, phone, tablet, desktop, etc...).
Just remember to clean upyour mailboxes regularly(delete unnecessary messages, empty deleted items, spam, etc.) and your access performance will always remain optimal.

POP access

POP: Post Office Protocol. The principle of this access is slightly different: your messages are downloaded to your device (computer, phone, tablet, etc...) and deleted from our servers once picked up.

Advantages:

  • You enter your connection parameters once and for all and your software/application takes care of the rest;
  • Your messages can be consulted without being connected to the Internet (except for new messages);
  • When you pick up your messages, they are deleted from our servers. This means that you consume little disk space on your hosting: only the emails waiting to be picked up will be stored there;
  • Performance: access to your mailbox does not require any particular synchronization other than the removal of new messages, which makes it much faster and more efficient (for example to search for a message) since they are stored on your device;
  • You have the possibility to consult several e-mail accounts by using your favorite software or e-mail applications.


Disadvantages:

  • As your messages are no longer stored in our servers, the main disadvantage of this method is that you can only consult your messages from one workstation or device that has access to them: WebMail or IMAP accesses will show you empty boxes if you combine them with a POP access;
  • Your messages are no longer stored in our servers and will not be saved on any other computer than the one that has access to them. If this one were to fail, you would lose all your messages received until then.


Our advice: this solution is practical if you receive and store a large volume of messages, to relieve your client space of their storage. It can also be useful if you are often disconnected from the Internet, to allow you to reread your received messages and to prepare their answer "quietly" while waiting for the next Internet access. Finally, if you only use one computer to access your messages, this method can be practical from a performance point of view.
However, this method should be avoided if you want to access your same email account from several devices (phone, computer, tablet, etc...).

Here is a comparative table that tries to summarize all the advantages of the access methods presented:

 WebMailIMAPPOP
Messages saved on our serversOUIOUI 
Viewable from multiple devicesOUIOUI 
One application can view multiple accounts OUIOUI
Messages can be viewed without an Internet connection*. according to
the application
OUI
Access performance depending on your
Internet connection
OUI

*Archived messages: messages already received. To consult new messages, you must of course always have an Internet connection.

 

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