Have you ever encountered following situations while accessing your emails
- You downloaded all the mails on your PC or laptop and it crashed. Your entire data in mails is gone and you have nowhere to go
- You downloaded all the mails on your PC or laptop and you urgently want to refer to those mails on your phone as you are not near your PC or laptop
- You chose to leave a copy on server and downloaded mails on your laptop. You then deleted some mails, moved some to other folders, kept them unread to take action later. Now when you download those mails on other device like mobile, you have to do all these actions again.
- You access your mails from multiple devices; however ‘Sent mails’ from laptop or PC are not available in Mobile phone and vice-versa.
You face these situations because you are using age old POP protocol to access your emails. There is solution to all these problems – IMAP. IMAP achieves complete mail sync across the devices.
POP or post office protocol delivers mails to your laptop from server at once. It is a traditional one way email transaction protocol emails are downloaded from server but no information is sent back server. Email client like outlook periodically connects to server to check if there are any new mails. If there are any new mails on server, it downloads them on your local device. If you have not selected ‘Save a copy on server’ option, the downloaded mails will be deleted from server. No information is sent back to the server.
IMAP or Interactive mail access protocol is another method by which you can access emails on various devices. Unlike POP, in IMAP protocol, all the mails are stored on server unless and until explicitly deleted by user. This makes sure when user accesses mails from multiple devices, he gets to see exactly same mailbox across all the devices. Moreover all the actions such as delete, read, unread, etc. which user takes on the one device synced back with server. Thus user does not have to
take same actions again when he accesses mail from another device
Advantages of IMAP over POP protocol
- IMAP protocol makes sure that you get to see same mailbox across all the devices, be it laptop, desktop or a mobile phone. The action you take one device is synced back with all other devices from where you are accessing your mails. For ex. If you delete a mail from your laptop and then check your mailbox from mobile, the mail would have been deleted from mobile also.
- In POP protocol, when you send a mail from your PC, the sent mail is stored in local sent folder. When you access mail from other device, these sent mails are not available. With IMAP, your local sent folder gets synced with sent folder on server. Thus the mails sent from one device are also available in sent folder of another device.
- IMAP has facility where it downloads only the header of the mail which includes from address, subject line and short snippet of mail. Only when you decide to read complete mail, it downloads entire mail with attachment. In POP protocol, you don’t have control over which mails to download and all the unwanted mails with heavy attachments get downloaded on your PC. IMAP protocol helps you to save your bandwidth cost by allowing you to decide which mails to download.
- In IMAP, since all your mails are on server, you don’t have to worry about the backup even if your laptop or PC crashes.
- POP has a major advantage over webmail that you can access your mail even when you are not connected to internet. In IMAP, there are option available where email client can download entire mail on local device and access it even when internet is not connected
- IMAP helps you to reduce TCO significantly as you don’t have to invest in automatic backup, 24×7 monitoring, local storage devices
How to enable IMAP or complete mail sync service for my email service on RediffmailPro
Administrator can buy and assign IMAP a.k.a. complete mail sync accounts to selected users. Once the account is assigned, users can configure their email clients such as outlook etc to access email using IMAP protocol. The settings required for this configuration are as below
IMAP Server: imap3.rediffmailpro.com
SMTP Server: smtp.rediffmailpro.com