Discover the main email protocols (IMAP, SMTP, POP3)

Get rid of useless Emails in minutes with Cleanfox
100% free

The computer protocol specifies the rules for exchanging information between two machines. Emails, being one of the main uses of the Internet, are based on a number of communication protocols. The email protocols used to pass emails from server to server greatly contribute to securing your identification data (login and password).

What are Email Protocols ?

Outgoing protocols (SMTP) are used to manage the transmission of email between servers. On the other hand, incoming protocols (POP and IMAP) are used to manage the sending of messages to mailboxes. So, they are in a way protocols for receiving and distributing messages.

How many email protocols are there ?

There are 3 main types of email protocols: SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol), POP (Post Office Protocol) and IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol).

The POP3 protocol

POP3 full form

Standing for “Post Office Protocol,” POP3 has been in use for many years. 

How POP3 works?

With POP3, emails are downloaded to your email client as you view them. This protocol is ideal for users who prefer accessing their emails from a single client. However, it’s important to note that downloaded emails become unavailable for download via other clients. Some email clients do offer the option to keep a copy of the emails on the server, but this doesn’t ensure email synchronization. Deleting an email on one client might not delete it on an alternative client, necessitating manual deletion.

The IMAP protocol

what is imap

IMAP full form

The full form of IMAP is Internet Message Access Protocol

How IMAP works?

It operates differently from POP3. Rather than downloading emails, IMAP simply connects to the mailbox and allows you to view your emails. This modern email protocol is designed to support our dynamic lifestyles, enabling easy access to emails from multiple locations. Unlike POP3, IMAP ensures email synchronization. When you delete an email on one client, it is also deleted on any other client where you check your emails. You can check how to set-up IMAP on Gmail in our blog.

POP3 vs. IMAP: A Scenario

Pop3 vs Imap
 Let’s consider a scenario to highlight the contrasting behaviors of POP3 and IMAP. 

Imagine you go to bed, and overnight, a stack of emails accumulates on your mail server. Upon waking up, you access your mail from your phone. 

With POP3, the emails are directly downloaded to your phone, removing them from the server.

 However, if you use IMAP, you receive a copy of the emails while the original messages remain on the mail server.

Later in the day, you want to check your emails on your computer. 

Using POP3 to connect to the mail server will only allow you to download new emails received since you last checked your phone in the morning. 

However, if your mail server is configured with IMAP, you can view a copy of your recent emails as well as any previous emails on your computer, while the original emails continue to reside on the server.

Choosing the Right Protocol: POP3 vs IMAP?

Your choice of email protocol depends on your lifestyle and how you access your emails.

If you require access from multiple locations, clients, and devices, IMAP is the recommended option.
It eliminates the need to download email contents, ensuring easy connectivity even if a device fails.

On the other hand, POP3 is a straightforward choice for users who prefer downloading all their mail to a single location managed by them.
However, it’s essential to manually back up your emails or select the option to leave copies on the server to ensure backup in case of device breakdown.

In conclusion, we recommend using IMAP as it allows you to manage your emails across various clients and devices while providing peace of mind. 

The SMTP protocol

SMTP full form

SMTP means Simple Mail Transfer Protocol, it was first created in 1982.

How SMTP works?

It is the most complete of the electronic communication protocols.

It is used to forward an email from server to server. The SMTP protocol centralizes the e-mails sent in a kind of special envelope, on which it places different tags, such as the name of the access provider, the name of the recipient and his email address.

Clean your mailbox

cleanfox app

Certain actions can be taken to optimize the security of your personal data. Improve the management of your emails by sorting and filing them in different folders. You can also set up your mailbox to receive all your emails in one place. Another way to secure your information is to clean your mailbox regularly.

If you don’t have time to manually delete your emails, use Cleanfox. This intelligent software allows you to delete spam and unsubscribe from newsletters in one click. Thus, you should associate it with your mailbox so that it can scan your messages according to the senders. Also, the tool is available on mobile devices.

Scan the QR code with your mobile to get rid of useless emails.

cleanfox app logo

Clean your inbox for Free

cleanfox app logo

Get rid of useless emails and spam in minutes with Cleanfox.

You may also like