IMAP and POP3 are protocols that allow you to receive e-mails from a server. Your e-mail client uses these protocol to connect to your mailbox server. This is where POP and IMAP differ. We recommend IMAP as it's a faster, safer and more convenient way of receiving mail.
POP3 downloads mail from the server and often deletes it from the server after it has done so. This means that depending on when your mail client checks for mail, you'll only receive the e-mail on one device or mail client. This also means that when you delete an e-mail from one device, it will not be deleted from another. For example, if you receive e-mails on your smartphone, deleting them won’t also delete them on your desktop mail client, so you will have an e-mail that you have viewed appear as unread. Since POP3 downloads e-mails from the server and saves them in a local storage area, losing or damaging your local storage may cause you to lose all of your e-mails.
IMAP on the other hand, is suited for people who want to receive e-mail on more than one device, which will be helpful if you have a smartphone. IMAP stores e-mail on remote servers rather than downloading them to local storage, which is how the e-mails can be viewed on different devices. When you read, download or make any changes to e-mails on one device, it will synchronise across any other device using the same account.
How do I know what I'm using?
When you first set up your email with your email client or device you will have been asked to enter incoming server details, this will have either been pop.yourdomainname.com or imap.yourdomainname. As the names suggest, using pop.yourdomainname.com will mean that you are using the POP protocol, whereas imap.yourdomainname.com means you are using IMAP. If you cannot remember what you've used, you can find this information on your mail client settings.
How do I change to IMAP?
Changing to IMAP is a very easy process and should be done as soon as possible to ensure that your email continues to work correctly. You just need to make sure your emails are backed up and you can then set up your email again on your device(s) using the IMAP protocols, which means setting your incoming server address to imap.yourdomainname. We have guides for the popular email clients in our Knowledgebase.