In this article you'll learn the difference between POP3, IMAP, and SMTP. When configuring a new email account on a device, whether it be a computer, mobile phone, or tablet you'll need to make sure to use the correct settings for both incoming and outgoing mail to work properly.
What is POP3? (Protocol to RECEIVE email messages)
POP3 (Post Office Protocol version 3) is a standard protocol to receive email messages from a remote server to a local email client. Local email client being a single device (computer, mobile phone, or tablet) that you setup your email account on. For many years, this email protocol has been made obsolete by the growing popularity of IMAP. However, some may still prefer to use POP3 to receive email since it reduces the amount of space used on the server (since emails are being stored on your device, where space is being used).
NOTE: When using POP3 you can access email offline since the email is stored locally on your device. Since this email is stored locally on the device the email was opened from this means that you cannot view this email on another device. In this day and age people use multiple devices to view email from, which is why we highly recommend using IMAP to receive emails.
What are the Default POP3 Ports?
POP3, by default, will typically work on either of these two ports:
- Port 110 (non-secure) - this is the default port
- Port 995 (secure) - this is to be used to connect using POP3 securely
What is IMAP? (Protocol to RECEIVE email messages)
IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol) is a widely used standard protocol to receive email messages from a mail server. If you wish to access your emails from multiple devices you'll want to use IMAP. Your email messages will be stored on the mail server allowing you to access and read those emails with another device that has your email account setup and configured.
A real world example would be reading email messages from Outlook or Thunderbird on your computer, Apple Mail on your iPhone, and Gmail app on a tablet. All four email clients (Outlook, Thunderbird, Apple Mail, and Gmail) would be configured for IMAP using the username and password for the email account you wish to access allowing you to read the same email messages from every device in real time.
What are the Default IMAP Ports?
- Port 143 (non-secure) - this is the default port
- Port 993 (secure - SSL) - this is to be used to connect using IMAP securely
What is SMTP? (Protocol to SEND email messages)
SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) is a standard protocol to send email messages securely (encrypted). You may also see SMTP referred to as SMTP Authentication.
NOTE: When using SMTP/SMTP Authentication you will need to make sure to use the hostname of your server. For example, instead of using mail.yourdomain.com for both your incoming and outgoing server settings you'll want to use ph50.peopleshostshared.com as your incoming and outgoing server (this was just an example so don't actually use ph50.peopleshostshared.com). You can retreive your server's hostname in the Welcome email we sent to you after you ordered your hosting account.
You will want to use the hostname of your server since it has an SSL. If you try to use mail.yourdomain.com, and yourdomain.com isn't secured with an SSL, your email will not work with SMTP Authentication.
What are the Default SMTP Ports?
- Port 25 (non-secure) - this is the default port (often times blocked by your ISP - Internet Service Provider)
- Port 26 (non-secure) - use port 26 if port 25 is not working and is blocked by your ISP
- Port 465 (secure - SSL) - this is to be used to send email via SMTP securely over SSL
- Port 587 (secure - TLS) - this is to be used to send email via SMTP securely over TLS
We hope this article gives you more insight to the differences of POP3 (to receive email), IMAP (to receive email), and SMTP (to send email). Please contact support if you are having difficulty configuring your email client.
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