IMail - POP3 or IMAP, which is better?

Product: Version: Platform:
IMail All NT,Win2000,XP,Win2003

Question/Problem: Which is better, POP3 or IMAP?

Answer/Solution: As a general rule, POP3 is easier for you and your mail server than IMAP4, since it is much less CPU intensive. IMAP4 is better for power users who use multiple computers.

With POP3, most of the work is done on the client-side; the user pulls the messages to their local machine, and your server's work is done until the next connection. Usually, users do not leave mail on your server with POP3, so it is easier on hard disk space, too.

With IMAP4, the user has more constant connections to your machine, typically downloads just the message headers, and needs to reconnect to view the body of each selected message. Power users like IMAP's additional features, such as the ability to create custom folders that are stored on the server, and the ability to connect from multiple locations with the same account organization. (See also: IMail Server 8.2 User's Guide - Public Mailboxes) Typically, IMAP4 users will leave messages on the server. Hard disk space can become an issue.

Most IMail administrators give their users a choice; they run both the POP3 and IMAP4 services.

In IMail 2006+ the Web Messaging interface uses the IMAP service.

Document #:   Revision Date:
IM-20010226-DM01   01/06/06

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