SMTP POP3 and IMAP
 


SMTP, POP3 and IMAP are TCP/IP protocols used for mail delivery. If you plan to set up an email server such as hMailServer, you must know what they are used for. Each protocol is just a specific set of communication rules between computers.

SMTP
SMTP stands for Simple Mail Transfer Protocol. SMTP is used when email is delivered from an email client, such as Outlook Express, to an email server or when email is delivered from one email server to another. SMTP uses port 25.
The SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) protocol is used by the Mail Transfer Agent (MTA) to deliver your eMail to the recipient's mail server. The SMTP protocol can only be used to send emails, not to receive them.

POP3
POP3 stands for Post Office Protocol. POP3 allows an email client to download an email from an email server. The POP3 protocol is simple and does not offer many features except for download. Its design assumes that the email client downloads all available email from the server, deletes them from the server and then disconnects. POP3 normally uses port 110.

It provides a simple, standardized way for users to access mailboxes and download messages to their computers.

When using the POP protocol all your eMail messages will be downloaded from the mail server to your local computer. You can choose to leave copies of your eMails on the server as well. The advantage is that once your messages are downloaded you can cut the internet connection and read your eMail at your leisure without incuring further communication costs. On the other hand you might have transferred a lot of message (including spam or viruses) in which you are not at all interested at this point.

IMAP
IMAP stands for Internet Message Access Protocol. IMAP shares many similar features with POP3. It, too, is a protocol that an email client can use to download email from an email server. However, IMAP includes many more features than POP3. The IMAP protocol is designed to let users keep their email on the server. IMAP requires more disk space on the server and more CPU resources than POP3, as all emails are stored on the server. IMAP normally uses port 143.

It is a standard protocol for accessing e-mail from your local server. IMAP is a client/server protocol in which e-mail is received and held for you by your Internet server. As this requires only a small data transfer this works well even over a slow connection such as a modem. Only if you request to read a specific email message will it be downloaded from the server. You can also create and manipulate folders or mailboxes on the server, delete messages etc.