Email Beginner’s Guide: What is POP3?


It’s started to feel as if a new social media brand pops up every single day, but no matter how many brands we partner with to expand our online presence, nothing beats good old email as a means of communication – especially for people who run businesses. But if you’re using a POP3email connection, you might just be missing out on some of the power-packed productivity features of hosted exchange.

And we get it:

“POP3email”, “IMAP”, and “hosted exchange” are all terms that techies throw around as if everybody’s supposed to know what they’re talking about. But in this guide, we’ll explain exactly what you’re getting with POP3. This way, you can see how it stacks up against IMAP and hosted exchange, and you can make the best decision for your website and your brand.

Let’s begin, shall we?

What is POP3email?

POP is an abbreviation for Post Office Protocol, which is a popular protocol used for receiving emails. The “3” in POP3 means that POP3 is the third version of this protocol. When you use POP3 to receive your emails, your emails are held until you collect them. And once you download an email from the POP3 server into your email program, the email is automatically deleted from POP3.

POP3 is a popular protocol because it makes it easy for people to check their email from any computer, no matter where they are in the world. (If you think that’s amazing, wait until you hear about hosted exchange!)

But first, let’s compare POP3email to IMAP.

What’s the difference between POP3email and IMAP?

imap and pop3
Source: elements.envato

IMAP stands for Internet Messaging Access Protocol, and the idea behind its creation was that it would prevent users from being bound to a single email client. It was probably the first iteration of what we’ve now come to know as “the cloud”.

Unlike POP3email, which deletes emails as soon as they’re downloaded, IMAP stores all your email messages on the server. When you connect to your IMAP server, you can read the emails and download them for online viewing, and when you delete messages from the client, the message is also deleted on the server. But as long as messages aren’t deleted, emails that are sent and received are stored on the IMAP server.

This makes IMAP great for people who need to connect to their email from multiple devices.

But that doesn’t mean IMAP is a perfect alternative to POP3. And here’s why: Emails on IMAP are stored on the server, so you can run into trouble when someone tries to send you an email when your inbox is already full. Sure, you could just store copies of your emails on a separate server and delete them from the main IMAP server, but this is quite a lot to keep track of.

Enter: hosted exchange. (The best alternative to POP3email.)

What’s the difference between POP3email and hosted exchange?

We’ve already looked at POP3, so let’s talk about hosted exchange for a bit.

Hosted exchange is a hosted version of Microsoft Exchange. And Microsoft Exchange is a computer server that stores your calendar, tasks, address book and to-do list in a central location so they’re always available, whether or not you’re online and whether or not you’re using a particular device.

With hosted exchange, you still get to use Microsoft Outlook (which is great, since Microsoft Outlook has tons of benefits), and this power couple means you get to enjoy the best perks of both systems.

For instance, here are some of the benefits you’ll get:

  • Consistent access to contact information
  • Secure, remote access to emails
  • A calendar that’s always synced between your computer and other devices
  •  Synced, multiple-computer access
  • State-of-the-art spam filtering
  • Automatic out-of-office notifications

And the best part is that all of these features are constantly being backed up. So, even if something happens to your devices, your Outlook data will be protected!

Hosted exchange is different from POP3 email or even IMAP, because it gives you constant access to your email, tasks, calendar and contacts, which are always updated in real time.

The Takeaway

Which is better: POP3email, or hosted exchange?

mobile email user
Source: elements.envato

Well, POP3 email is great, but it was never meant for the fast-paced world of business. A single piece of crucial communication can leave you out in the cold.

However, if you want to use emails for keeping in touch with friends and family, use POP3. But if you’re looking for a productivity tool to elevate your business and your brand, you’ll want to choose something a bit more robust.

You’ll want to choose hosted exchange. And, since you’re in the mood to boost your productivity, you’ll also want to create a free custom business email!

If you loved this article and want to continue reading, you can learn more about POP3 here.