Articles/Articles/Knowledge Base + Help Articles

A Guide to POP vs. IMAP

Postbox
posted this on February 24, 2012 10:42 AM

There are some important differences between POP and IMAP accounts.  Here's a quick rundown of what you need to know.

Summary

IF YOUR MAIL DATA IS IMPORTANT TO YOU, DO NOT USE POP, USE IMAP.  DO NOT STORE MAIL IN YOUR LOCAL ACCOUNT!

Here at Postbox Support we encounter issues with hard drive and file corruptions.  Hard drives can fail.  It's a fact of life, and if you store mail locally you risk losing your mail if your hard drive fails.  Additionally, file corruptions can occur as a result of using 3rd party disk cleaners/defragmenters/utilities, virus checkers, or backup software... or using a combination of all them. Corruptions occur when these types of programs modify Postbox's data files in unexpected ways, for example, resetting permissions.

Using IMAP helps protect your mail data from hard drive failures and file corruptions.

POP / POP3

  • Postbox will only sync the Inbox for POP accounts.  If you have set up POP based storage folders (for example at Yahoo! or Hotmail), they will not be accessible in Postbox.  This is not a limitation of Postbox, it is simply how the POP protocol works for most desktop email clients.
  • When you set up a new POP account in Postbox, by default Postbox will leave the messages on the server (we highly recommend this setting).  You can change this setting to remove messages from the server by going to Options or Preferences / Accounts / [your POP account], however, the only copies of these messages available will be in Postbox's local database, and if you remove this POP account from Postbox your messages will be permanently deleted.
  • When you set up folders within your POP account, they are stored locally on your machine and they are not synced with your email server.  Thus, they will not be accessible within other email clients or the web.  Additionally, if you delete your POP account from Postbox, messages in these folders will also be permanently deleted.
  • Remember, never delete a POP account from Postbox unless you are absolutely sure your messages are backed up somewhere else.
 

IMAP

  • We always recommend using IMAP over POP!
  • Postbox will automatically sync your inbox and other folders with the IMAP server.  Thus Postbox is an exact mirror of what exists on the server.  If a copy of a message exists on the server, Postbox will eventually download it and cache it locally.
  • If you delete a message from an IMAP folder within Postbox, it will also be deleted from the server!
  • Storage folders set up within Postbox will also be set up on your IMAP server, and the contents will be synced.
  • You can choose to show or hide certain IMAP folders by using the Subscribe... function from the File menu.

Creating a Backup for Your POP Messages

It's no secret that we strongly recommend IMAP over POP.  If you store messages locally in your POP account, those messages will be lost if your computer is stolen, or the hard drive becomes corrupt, or if you accidentally delete the account in Postbox.
For any local folder, we highly recommend that you copy them to a dedicated IMAP account.  Here's how:
  1. Go to a free email hosting company and create an IMAP account, for example, Gmail.
  2. Setup this account in Postbox.
  3. Create an Account Group and arrange (via drag and drop) your POP account and IMAP accounts into the same group.
  4. Select the Group, and you will now have a unified view of both accounts, and down below in the Folders pane, you will see the root storage folders for both accounts.
  5. Next, within root storage folder for your POP account, drag and drop a folder from your POP account into the root storage folder of your IMAP account.  Postbox will begin copying the folder over.  Depending upon the number of messages, this can take some time, because Postbox has to upload all of those messages to the server.  Please be patient!
  6. Once that folder is copied over, and the contents verified in the new account, then copy the next folder over.

Conclusion

IF YOUR MAIL DATA IS IMPORTANT TO YOU, DO NOT USE POP, USE IMAP.  DO NOT STORE MAIL IN YOUR LOCAL ACCOUNT!

 

 
Topic is closed for comments