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What is POP3?

POP3, short for Post Office Protocol 3, is an email delivery protocol. It is responsible for retrieving emails from an email server and delivering them to an individual local client. 

POP3 is often referred to as a store-and-forward service, meaning that the server only stores the email momentarily and removes it once a local client downloads it.  

As a result, you save space on your email server. However, it is impossible for you to access the email on other devices.  

While it is the default setting of most email providers, some of them allow you to change this, so you can view the email even after it has been downloaded. 

Default POP3 ports

There are two default ports that POP3 uses:

  • Port 110 ‒ unencrypted port
  • Port 995 ‒ a secure port that’s protected by SSL/TLS encryption

What is the difference between POP3 and IMAP?

POP3 is designed to store your emails on a single device after downloading it from the email server. 

On the other hand, the Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP) allows you to access your emails on multiple devices. 

It synchronizes your computer or smartphone with the email server and doesn’t store your emails on your device.

Also, POP3 and IMAP use different ports. 

Default IMAP ports

To connect to an email server, IMAP uses these two ports:

  • Port 143 ‒ unencrypted port
  • Port 993 ‒ a secure port that’s protected by SSL/TLS encryption

When to choose POP3 over IMAP?

POP3 is more suitable for those who have limited email server storage and regularly receive a lot of emails with large attachment sizes. 

By saving the files locally, you won’t run out of email storage. You can also read the emails offline, which is useful if you experience a bad internet connection. 

Another benefit of using POP3 is that it gives you more privacy. After you download the emails, the corresponding server will delete them. 

IMAP, however, is better for those who access their emails from different devices. 

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Duncan is obsessed with making website building and eCommerce accessible to everyone. He explains the best tools and the latest digital marketing trends in ways that are clear and engaging. His focus is on supporting the sustainable growth of small to medium-sized enterprises. When not writing, he enjoys deep sea fishing and endurance cycling.

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