Email: The difference between POP and IMAP

This article is about how my hosting handles email

There are two basic types of email POP and IMAP, theres a more detailed (read geeky) explanations on the net but the essential difference for this article is that POP stores email on your computer  and IMAP stores email on the web server.

My basic hosting account only has limited disk space, (200mb) so includes POP email rather than IMAP, what this means is the mail has to be downloaded to clear the server.

Unfortunately, Gmail, Hotmail and Outlook offer IMAP, implying unlimited space (it’s not, but effectively it is) for free, meaning that email hosting like mine that uses a different system, POP, can cause confusion.

In this day and age we want to look at our emails when away from the office on phones and tablets. Whereas it is straightforward to do this, it does have implications for management of your email.


Your computer is set to download the messages and thus empty the mailbox on the server. So, if you have email set up on another device,  that device will only pick up messages since the last time you did a Send and Receive on the computer and they will disappear from the device once you do another Send and Receive on the computer.

This isn’t a problem, it’s the way POP work.


The advantage of IMAP is that all of your email history is available everywhere, it is also stored in a more secure place with much less chance of losing that history.

The disadvantage of IMAP is that you have to load that history each time you log on, meaning an increase in bandwidth and time. Mostly IMAP will only download a limited portion by default.

I do offer IMAP but, as this space costs me money, I have to charge extra for it. Most of my clients manage with POP but the increase in the use of devices mean that IMAP is becoming more popular.

Please speak to me if you want to upgrade. It currentlycosts £60 a year. I am looking at ways of offering this with less premium but at the moment I can’t.


Gmail offers a service, Gmail for business, now called G Suite, which offers Gmail functionality (essentially IMAP plus all the Google Apps) whilst using your domain name and existing email addresses. It costs £36 per email address per year.

There are ways of using other email addresses without paying for an account, an advantage if, for instance, you want info@yourdomain or accounts@yourdomain without having an extra account.

Please speak to me if you would like me to set this up for you.