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Difference between IMAP and POP/SMTP

By Ian_Large ·
Hello Everyone,
Can someone point me to an article or documentation regarding the differences between IMAP and POP/SMTP or perhaps definitions of them. We have a mail server that supports all three and I would like to see if we can exploit IMAP which I believe have better facilities.
Newbie question re: e-mail servers really.
Hope you can help.

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by Churdoo In reply to Difference between IMAP a ...

IMAP and POP are different protocols that do similar things. Your observation is correct in that IMAP does provide better functionality than POP3.

The main differences in the two are that IMAP manages the email that's on the server, whereas POP3 downloads email from the server, leaving the client to manage the email locally.

Since IMAP leaves the email on the server and manages the email on the server (including folders), it's better suited for mailboxes that will be accessed by multiple users or from multiple locations.

Here's one tutorial for IMAP,

POP3 (POP=Post Office Protocol) is a protocol for client access to a mailbox. It downloads email from the mailbox and allows the client to manage the email internally.

SMTP is the common protocal for DELIVERING email, i.e. Simple Mail Transport Protocol. Clients send outbound email via SMTP, but they don't receive via SMTP, it's otherwise a Server-Server email transport protocol.

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by Ian_Large In reply to IMAP vs. POP

Dear Churdoo,
Many thanks for posting the response. It has answered a couple of questions. I can see now the difference. Our e-mail program Goldmine, does not seem to support IMAP so we'll just have to continue with POP from the mailserver.

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by s_k72000 In reply to IMAP vs. POP


Our management decided to move mail client from Outlook 2007 to Outlook express. Now we have a question which to use either POP3 or IMAP. I prepared IMAP because it has more features than POP. But one of our manager says POP is more secure than IMAP. We have exchange 2007.
Please any one give which is better in security concepts.

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imap vs pop3 ... vs Outlook/OWA/Exchange???

by Churdoo In reply to IMAP vs POP

"management" decided to move from Outlook 2007 / Exchange 2007 to Outlook Express with Exchange 2007? Hmmm strange, probably the same manager that says that POP3 is more secure than IMAP. Nevertheless I'm not here to question, getting back to the subject I'm not aware of any generalization the suggests that POP3 is more secure than IMAP. With Exchange 2007, both POP3 and IMAP can be configured to communicate via SSL, and I agree with you that IMAP has better functionality than POP3.

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