IMAP, which stands for Internet Message Access Protocol, is a method by which one can access emails or bulletin boards stored on a remote mail server as if they were local. The data located on such a server can be accessed from anywhere, depending on your needs: your home desktop, laptop or office workstation.
How does IMAP work?
For those less technically inclined, IMAP can be understood an intermediary between your email client and your email server. When you sign into an email client like Gmail, it contacts the email server using IMAP. The email you need access to can be downloaded only upon request, not automatically. This method enjoys a lot of popularity and it has become extremely important as reliance on electronic messaging and use of multiple computers increase.
Is POP a better choice?
IMAP is frequently discussed in comparison with POP (Post Office Protocol), as some people argue that the latter is a better option for those seeking services. The reality is that the two are not really that interchangeable.
As opposed to IMAP, POP work by contacting your email server and automatically downloading all of your messages from it. Once these emails are downloaded, they are erased from the server. If you decide to check your email from a different device, those emails will no longer be available to you.
In other words, POP works fine for those who generally only check their email messages from a single device, which realistically speaking, is rarely the case in a world where most business owners have at least two working devices at their disposal at all times.
What are the main advantages of IMAP?
So, what makes IMAP an ideal choice for business owners? Besides being very fast and efficient, it is extremely flexible as it enables you to access your email messages from anywhere, via as many different devices as you wish or need. Another great advantage it offers is that it doesn’t automatically download attachments, so you can check your messages a lot more quickly and have greater control over which attachments are opened.
As the world becomes more mobile than ever, the demand for IMAP grows stronger by the day. POP remains a popular choice for people with slower connections to the internet and only one electronic device, but for all the rest, IMAP is set to be the protocol of choice.