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Difference Between POP3 and IMAP Email Accounts

IMAP and POP3 are methods used by your computer to access e-mail messages from a remote server. Grey Media e-mail accounts are compatible with both IMAP and POP3. We suggest using IMAP for your phone or laptop and POP3 for your desktop computer. Read on to find out why.


IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol) is an advanced protocol for viewing your e-mail. It is a method of accessing e-mail messages which are stored on a mail server.

The main advantage of IMAP over POP3 is the ability to keep the original e-mail stored on the mail server and the ability to access the same account from multiple locations. Unlike POP3 where e-mail is downloaded to the computer or device checking for mail and completely removed from the mail server, IMAP simply downloads a copy of the e-mail. This is much more convenient as the e-mail account can be set up on multiple computers and devices using IMAP and the original e-mail will always remain on the mail server.

In cases where a mobile phone or personal computer was configured to be the primary means of checking e-mail and malfunctions, is lost, stolen, or totally inoperable, the e-mails will not be lost. Set up the account using IMAP on another computer or device or simply check on Webmail at and find that all e-mails are still intact!


POP3 stands for Post Office Protocol version 3. When an e-mail is sent to your address, it is stored on the mail server until it is downloaded via your e-mail client (Outlook, Apple mail, laptop, etc.) using POP3. After the e-mail has been downloaded to your client, it is removed from the server altogether. (Although you can choose to leave it on the server for a specific number of days)

Simply, this means if one were to set up an e-mail account on your desktop as POP3, your computer would download all e-mails, removing them from the server. If one were to then check the webmail or your phone for the same e-mail account, there would be no mails viewable as they have already been download by the mobile phone. This is why we recommend going into advanced settings and setting mail to remain on the server for 30 or 60 days or more after it is downloaded. This means you will still see your mail on the server for the specified amount of time after being downloaded.

Grey Media Hosting

Kitchener, Ontario

Ph: (226) 240-7150


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