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Differences between IMAP and POP
Updated Tuesday October 5th 2021 / Category Email Hosting

IMAP and POP are the protocols that are used when streaming email data from a mail server, and most email clients (such as Outlook, Thunderbird, Windows Mail) will accept either when configuring email accounts. VentraIP email hosting products support the use of either protocol.

What you decide to use is ultimately up to you – one may be better than the other for your circumstances.

IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol)

When you receive a message, the mail app will leave the message on the mail server and stream a copy to your devices. The email remains on the server, and you can access it via another IMAP mail client and view your mail exactly as it appears in your other devices, which will keep everything in sync.


  • Access the same emails across multiple devices.
  • Emails are kept on the server as a backup.
  • Access your messages any time from Webmail.


  • Contributes to Disk Space usage on your hosting plan.
  • Some mail clients might sometimes fail to sync your folders back to the server.
  • Can get expensive as your storage rises.

POP (Post Office Protocol)

All of your emails will be downloaded to the device you access it from (into the mail client) and removed from the mail server. This will allow you to read your emails while online or offline. This is a great option if you do not wish to invest in more Disk Space or email storage as part of your plan.


  • Does not build up Disk Space usage on your hosting service.
  • Emails are accessible offline.
  • Cost-effective.


  • Emails can only be saved to one device.
  • Messages are removed from the mail server – no backup available.
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