POP3, IMAP and Exchange

POP3, IMAP and Exchange

Nowadays emails are a vital part of any successful business, but are you aware of the different options available to your company? It is important to know the difference between the various solutions to ensure you choose the one which suits your companies needs.

In this post I will run through the basic pros and cons to try and assist you in making the right choice…

POP3 (Post Office Protocol, version 3)

POP3 is the most commonly used for most startup companies. It goes back to a time where we had a very different internet to the one we use today. We can now connect to the internet on a range of devices and generally have access to high speed broadband – but back when POP was created, we had limited access to computers as well as a slow connection. With this in mind – POP was created as a quick way to download emails for offline reading.

Although POP was created back in a completely different age of the internet to the one we are currently living in, it still has its uses today and is by no means obsolete. If you are looking for a simple way to send and receive emails whilst you get your small business off the ground, POP will suffice.

The Pros

  • Your email will be available to access offline.

The Cons

  • Speed of sending / receiving mail relies on your internet speed.
  • Your sent emails are only available locally.

IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol)

Although IMAP was developed some time back in 1986, it still seems fitting to todays internet. With the internet being readily available and high download and upload speeds, IMAP stops you from being tied to one email client, on one computer. It gives the user the opportunity to access their emails as if they were ‘in the cloud’.

Unlike POP3, IMAP users can log in to a webmail service or setup their emails on multiple email clients and view the same emails – which is ideal for keeping your email organised. This happened because the emails are kept on a remote server and will remain their until you chose to delete them.

So in the modern world of many devices (e.g.. laptop, tablet and smartphones) IMAP has become ever more popular.

The Pros

  • Incoming emails can be accessed anywhere and on multiple devices, enabling you to be more organised and refer back to a previous email no matter where you are.

The Cons

  • Because your emails are held on a remote server, you have a limited mailbox size which could lead to a full mailbox if you don’t delete unwanted emails.
  • Sent items are only available locally.

Microsoft Exchange

Compared to POP and IMAP, Exchange is much more sophisticated. If I put it simply, Microsoft Exchange is capable of syncing emails, contacts, calendars, and other features. So in a nutshell, you will be able to access all sent and received emails via multiple email clients or webmail interfaces, as well as organising your calendars and contacts.

The Pros

  • Both incoming and sent emails can be accessed from multiple devices and a webmail interface.
  • Calendars and Contacts are also synced.
  • Exchange is supported by most mobile devices.
  • A secure backup of all your emails are saved remotely.

The Cons

  • Not all mail clients fully support Exchange emails

Ideally Exchange is the best solution for any company but due to its features is also the most expensive. If you’re a small company it may be best to start with the simplest option (POP3) but as your business grows and becomes more reliant on emails, you should probably evolve your email type.

I hope this post give you a little insight of email options available to you and your company but if you would like to find out more please contact our team and we will be happy to advise you in choosing the correct solution for you company.