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Email Account Setup – IMAP vs POP Accounts

The difference between setting up an email as an IMAP or POP account.

Email accounts setup as POP, download emails onto the device onto which the email account is setup. POP accounts can be set to remove emails/messages from the server or to keep messages on the server either permanently or for a certain amount of days. Should you have important emails, then it is important to backup emails on an external device, such as an external harddrive.

IMAP does not download emails onto the device (i.e. PCs, laptops, tablets or smartphones) on which you are wanting to view your emails. It rather accesses your email account’s mail box on the server and shows you the emails in this mailbox.

When to setup a POP account

We advise that a POP account be setup on your main device, i.e. PC or Laptop. The POP setup will download and store the emails to your main device from the server. When also accessing emails from secondary devices you may set your email settings so that it only “removes messages from the server” after a certain amount of days. Normally 15 to 30 days, but this can be set pending your needs. This will give you a 30 day window to access mails on the server from the secondary device.

POP accounts can also be used on secondary devices, but ensure that these devices do not remove messages from the server. This functionality should be left to the main/primary device. By setting up POP accounts on multiple devices, emails will be downloaded to the different devices.

When to setup an IMAP account
This is recommended more for the secondary devices. Should you have a POP account setup on another device, it is essential that this main device leaves a copy of messages for a sufficient amount of time on the server. As mentioned above, the IMAP accounts do not download emails from the server and only show you emails that are currently on the server. If the POP account removes emails from the server, they will not be visible to the device on which IMAP is setup.


Consider using a cloud based email service provider such as Gmail. This doen not mean that you will have to send and receive emails via gmail. You can still use your personalised email accounts within your Google account.

The advantagese are :

  • 15 Gig of free email storage
  • Up to 5 personalised email addresses¬†
  • Seamless integration between all your devices
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