When setting up an email you will be given the option to select POP3 or IMAP as your account type, we recommend you use IMAP. To help you decide for yourself and make an informed decision we'll outline the differences here.
Important! You should never mix POP3 and IMAP, once decided, use the same setup on all your devices using that account. You will get very odd behaviour if you mix POP3 and IMAP clients on the same mail account.
POP3 was once the most popular method of setting up email, particularly when slow dial-up internet was the norm. POP3 email works by periodically checking your mail account for new messages and if there are some downloading them to your computer and deleting them from the server.
The main advantage of POP3 is that it saves space in your hosting account as emails are deleted from the mail server, however, this means that if you have multiple devices accessing the same mail account then some emails will only be on one device unless carefully setup it can mean a message gets downloaded on one device and then not available on others so email can become scattered around, It also means that if should your computer or device is lost or damaged, all your email will be lost, unless you have your own backup. POP3 also only works with the Inbox, other folders such as Sent Items are all stored locally on each device.
IMAP email is more popular now that internet connections are faster and people often have multiple devices accessing the same email account rather than just a single computer.
IMAP works by storing all the email on the server, with mail clients on computers and mobile devices or even webmail in your web browser then access the email directly on the server. What this means is that email is in sync across all devices, if an email is read on one device, it shows as read on all devices. If you reply to an email or send a new email, you'll see those replies and sent messages on all your devices.
This also means that all email is stored safe and sound on a Freethought server, where it is secure and backed up, so even if your phone is lost, or computer breaks, your email is safe and can be downloaded onto a new device. However, this does mean that large email accounts with lots of emails will use lots of disk space on your hosting account.
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