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POP or POP3 stands for Post Office Protocol. This mail delivery protocol was the standard for a number of years, particularly when server-side storage space came at a premium. Most distinctively, a client using POP to check your e-mail will retrieve all of the messages from the server and store them on your computer before opening or reading any of them. (You may select an option not to delete these messages from the server with most clients; doing so will cause you to download these messages again each time your check your mail.) This choice is handy when you have an inconveniently small storage quota on your mail server, or you prefer to retain all of your messages locally so that they can be accessed offline. Once downloaded, you can read messages retrieved with POP anytime without reconnecting to the internet. The biggest drawback to this, for many, is that you can only access previously-read messages from the computer onto which you downloaded them. In a multiple-computer environment, this can be a severe disadvantage.


IMAP stands for Internet Mail Access Protocol. The most distinctive feature of IMAP is the fact that your mail messages remain on the server, instead of being downloaded to your computer. This is advantageous if you access your mail from multiple computers (such as an Open Access Lab environment), or if you expect to need access to your mail from any computer on the World Wide Web. Checking your mail with a client or web-based environment using this protocol will allow you retain your messages in a universally-accessible place for access whenever and wherever your need them. IMAP supports the use of folders for mail organization, but instead of organizing the messages on your local computer, these folders are kept on the server as well. Another advantage to IMAP is quicker access to mail. If you access your e-mail from a slower connection, such as modem dial-up, you will notice a substantial increase in speed; only the message headers are initially downloaded, so you can choose to download, open, and read only those messages of interest to you at that time. One drawback to using IMAP and saving messages on the server is that you will be restricted by any quota limitation on the mailbox size. Once you have stored enough messages to fill your quota, e-mail may be returned to the sender.

POP or IMAP: Which Should I Use?

TCGEP Designs allows you to use your favorite email software with either POP or IMAP services. This gives you the flexibility of using any of the popular email programs such as Outlook, Entourage, Netscape and many others. IMAP is a newer, more advanced protocol and has some major advantages over POP, for many types of users. You can choose which is right for you.

IMAP Features…

Messages and Folders Stay Synched

Access all of your messages and folders no matter where you are or what computer or browser you are using. No more having to manually sync up your laptop before you go on the road.


Now supports true “push” email allowing your mobile users to stay up-to-date, and fully sync their mail on the road. No need to buy and maintain tens of thousands of dollars of equipment!*


Messages Stay Safe

Computer crashed? Since IMAP keeps track of your messages on our servers, the next time you log in all your messages will be re-synched automatically.


Lightning Fast Over Slow Connections

Don’t wait for messages to show up one by one. IMAP is optimized to display a list of your messages right away.

Space Saver

Retrieve a message only when want to read it. IMAP is great for cell phones, PDAs and other devices where storage is a premium.

Work With Your Messages Off-Line

Like POP, IMAP lets you work with your downloaded messages off-line and will send any new messages as soon as you reconnect. Unlike POP, IMAP will also re-sync any of the changes you made to a message while off-line, including creating and moving messages.

* Requires the use of third party IMAP IDLE client.

When to choose IMAP…

  • You check your email with different computers or devices

  • IMAP lets you keep all of your messages, file attachments and folders in sync, and remembers the condition that you last left them in (read, replied, forwarded, and so on).

  • You use Web Mail in addition to an email program such as Outlook

  • IMAP lets you keep all of your messages, file attachments and folders synchronized between Web Mail and your email program.

  • You use SpamShield Pro

  • IMAP works with SpamShield Pro so you can filter out junk email before you download the entire message.

  • You want the peace of mind of having your email backed up

  • IMAP messages, file attachments and folders archived online are automatically backed up.

  • You use a slow connection to the Internet

  • IMAP lets you selectively download messages and file attachments.

  • You use a computer or device with limited storage space

  • IMAP lets you store messages and file attachments online and lets you selectively download only the ones that you need.

  • You use POP and leave messages on the server

  • IMAP is designed for this scenario; thus, you avoid the pitfalls of leaving messages on the server with POP.


When to choose POP…

  • You check your email exclusively with one computer

  • You perform your own email backups

  • You must use an email program that does not work with IMAP

  • You used POP before and are satisfied with its limitations


Choosing IMAP

  • When using IMAP you need to insure you have sufficient email box space to handle holding the email on the server.

  • TCGEP Designs must create a CNAME in DNS for your domain if you decide to use IMAP.

  • Your inbound mail server would be set at

  • Outbound mail server should be set at

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