POP or IMAP for your email?

One of the things you have to decide when getting your own site is how you want to handle your new email accounts. Now that you have your own URL, and can set up as many email accounts as you want with your own hosting, picking the right one for your devices is important.

One thing to remember, don’t go crazy creating new email accounts for your site- like info@ contact@ etc- a lot of that can be handled with forwarders to your main e-mail. Email accounts should really belong to people- who are responsible for responding- not to “the business” where no one is responsible.

All business correspondence by employees should be handled with company email- so don’t forward company emails to private accounts since you won’t be able to track them or recover possibly important email if an employee dies or leaves.

As to which protocol to choose, here’s some great information from our friends at DataYard:

You should be aware that the two protocols offer a different end-user experience. If you are used to POP and switch to IMAP, at first you might perceive normal IMAP behavior as problematic, but really you just have to get used to it. The main difference between the two is that, when using POP, all of your mail is downloaded and stored on your local hard drive, whereas IMAP stores everything on the server and the actions performed within your mail client are replicated on the server. IMAP is particularly useful in scenarios where you need to access mail from multiple devices, but you can leverage a POP account to allow you to do the same thing (though you will be taking up storage space on all devices used). With IMAP, the folders you create will exist across all devices you use, whereas you will have to manually create the folders across all devices with POP.

In a nutshell, POP is great for single-device use and can be used across multiple devices if you configure your clients to save messages on the server. IMAP makes e-mail across multiple devices much simpler, and you are not taking up storage space on your devices since the mail will only be saved on the server.

via Switch From POP to IMAP (Outlook 2010) | DataYard.

Note, as part of your NextWaveHosting solution- you have access to webmail at www.yourdomain.tld/webmail this is the mail that’s on the server and you have three different applications to access the same account: Horde, Roundcube and Squirrelmail. You could use any of these and keep all the mail on the server and never have to deal with an email client, and your mail would be sent from the server, never using your own IP address (which comes from your ISP – and can, on occasion get blocked).

However, most people want to access email on their smart phone and also on their computer as well as a tablet.

Remember, if you set up one device to access email as a POP account- it downloads and keeps the mail on that device (although it can be set to leave it there for a specified period). I keep my laptop as a POP account- and leave the mail on the server for up to 7 days before it gets deleted. I set up my iPhone and iPad with IMAP accounts- so I can view mail and still leave it for the laptop to download.

We recommend using Thunderbird for your email client because it’s open source and versatile. However, Apple mail is also good if you have a Mac. We’re not huge fans of Microsoft Outlook, although it is improving.

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