The choice between selecting POP or IMAP when setting up email can be pretty confusing. First of all, POP and IMAP are two diverse protocols (methods) used to gain access to email from your laptop, phone, tablet and any kind of device.

Here are the big differences between POP and IMAP:


POP – Post Office Protocol 

POP and IMAP post box

Basically, POP puts the email in one mail box (one copy on one device)

POP downloads email from a hosting server to a single computer, then erases it from the server. Because your messages get downloaded to a single device or computer and after that deleted from the server, it can appear that email is disappearing or missing from your Inbox if you attempt to check your mail from a different computer.

  • You can use just one computer to check your email (no other devices).


  • Mails are kept on the computer that you use.


  • Sent mail is saved locally on your PC, not on the mail server.





POP and Imap multi devices

IMAP can put a copy of the email on any device that can view mail.

IMAP is Internet Messaging Access Protocol.

Of the two, IMAP is the more desirable option ,not to mention the suggested option, when you have to check your emails from multiple devices, like a work notebook, a personal computer, or a tablet, mobile phone, or other mobile device. Take advantage of your synced (updated) account from any device with IMAP.

  • You can use several computers and devices to check your email.


  • Mails are saved on the server.


  • Sent mail remains on the server so you can view it from any type of device.


The simple summary:

POP and IMAP multi box

Do you use more than one device for email (e.g. desktop & smartphone)? IMAP is your best choice, but watch out for disk over usage on your hosting account.

Do you download email to just one device e.g. your computer? POP is an option.

IF  in doubt use IMAP.

POP downloads, while IMAP shares. Sharing is caring, after all.


Some other email questions you may have:

Q: I have selected POP and IMAP is actually what I need. How do I fix this?

A: When switching between protocols you will have to keep the following measures in mind:.

1) Make a local backup of the emails presently on the device – making sure that if the current protocol is IMAP that the emails being backed up include the full email body content along with the attachment.

2) Remove the existing account.

3) Recreate the new account selecting the new protocol.

4) Import or “drag and drop” the locally backed up emails and folders into the new created account.

5) You will have to allow some time for the newly imported emails to re-synchronised (upload) to the server, if the recently selected protocol is the IMAP protocol.


Q: What about Email Backups?

A: SillyMoose Designs have automated daily email backups on the server going back fourteen (14) days. All emails on the server during the time a backup will be available for recovery for fourteen (14) days, which will be the same for POP and IMAP, just in case you are wondering.

Our humans can also help you get the backup replaced and restored (most popular request) or copied into a different folder on the server.

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