Discussion in 'Web Design and Development' started by EricNau, Jul 9, 2006.

  1. EricNau Moderator emeritus


    Apr 27, 2005
    San Francisco, CA
    For those of you who have the choice, which email protocol do you use, and why?

    I'm setting up and new email account and can't decide. What are the pros and cons of each?

    Thanks :)
  2. Mitthrawnuruodo Moderator emeritus


    Mar 10, 2004
    Bergen, Norway
    If your provider gives you an IMAP option, go for it.

    That means you can archive some messages back to the server if you want to access them from other computers. Other than that I don't see any big advantages, but I'd still go for IMAP because you might find some use for it. POP is really good and simple, but not as flexible, IMO.

    Edit: An oldie but goodie: IMAP vs POP. Though this is from 1993, most of the pros and cons are still valid. :)
  3. SpaceMagic macrumors 68000


    Oct 26, 2003
    Cardiff, Wales
    In I have an IMAP uni email account and a POP email account. There are pros and cons to both.

    IMAP is great, as it gives you very speedy full control over your mail box on the web. However, you have to be connected to the internet to read most of your mail, as only a little is cached (think this can be adjusted). The best thing of IMAP is that changes are made on the server, so if i do something on one computer it'll be reflected on every computer. Mail clients are obviously easier to use than many webmail clients so being able to use any mail client (entourage/outlook/mail/etc) and see all my mail up to date with changes etc is a big bonus.

    POP is good cos you save the emails on your computer and the text is faster to search, but deleting mail doesn't delete them on your server, which is extra work (unless you've set them to delete after they've been downloaded).

    I'd never used IMAP until university and I have to say I like it a lot. It's fast, easy and gives me full control of my uni space.
  4. WildCowboy Administrator/Editor


    Staff Member

    Jan 20, 2005
    I use POP because e-mail storage on my server is rather low (100 MB). I get a fair number of rather large attachments, so I'd fill that up quite quickly. I'd rather just bring it all down to my computer and manage it there.
  5. Cooknn macrumors 68020


    Aug 23, 2003
    Fort Myers, FL
    I use IMAP so that I can access my messages from anywhere. allows me to set my Sent folder up so that it uses the IMAP server. That way when I send messages from my Mac they are viewable via the web as well as any messages I drag to various folders on the IMAP server.
  6. tjwett macrumors 68000


    May 6, 2002
    Brooklyn, NYC
    if you have more than one computer IMAP is a must. your mail will always be in sync across both machines. i use IMAP for every account. be aware that can be a pain with IMAP, this will depend on your host. for example, dot Mac is IMAP and it works beautifully with because Apple sort of uses their own special version of the IMAP protocol. the result though is that IMAP accounts from other hosts may not work so great. i have several accounts that are hosted on a Linux box and feels the need to create these ugly and annoying special web folders for them. then i have another that is hosted on OS X Tiger Server and it works "normally", only sometimes it just refuses to connect to the server. the bottom line is IMAP is awesome but is not so hot so your mileage may vary. i know Thunderbird works pretty nicely with most IMAP accounts if you're interested in an alternative. hope that helps.
  7. balamw Moderator


    Staff Member

    Aug 16, 2005
    New England
    Big IMAP fan here since 1992 when pine first hit the streets!

    I only wish more providers provided IMAP service. (Hint, gmail, hint!)

    For a while there I was downloading my e-mail to an internal IMAP server so I could access it from all my boxes, I;ve since given that up for keeping most of my e-mail archived at gmail and downloading a copy in Thunderbird.

  8. bigandy macrumors G3


    Apr 30, 2004
    IMAP all the way.

    POP just got me angry constantly because I have four or five regular places to check my mails:

    • Home (

    • Work (Thunderbird)

    • University (

    • Mobile (Windows Media 5 PDA Phone)

    All of them support IMAP. It's fast and syncronises my read/unread and folders for every device.

    And that's very useful when you have hundreds of emails a day to sift through.

    If they give you server side rule processing too, that's one helluva bonus :D
  9. theappleguy macrumors 6502

    Apr 19, 2005
    I use POP3 myself. If you need to access older emails from many different locations then IMAP is the best choice as all the email is still on the server, but for general use POP3 is the better option in my opinion.

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