Once you understand how email works and have created an email account, now you can check your email!   There are a few important decisions you will make to begin checking your email for the first time, including choosing your email client and deciding if you want the email protocol to be IMAP or POP3.

Which Email Client should I use?

An email client is a program used to manage your email.  It allows you to send email, receive email, and much more.  There are many different email clients available that you can use, ranging from free ones to ones that have a purchase fee.   You do not have to use one of the ones we have highlighted, but we have chosen the most popular ones as examples of clients that are fully compatible with Web Hosting Hub. 

Webmail Clients

With your hosting plan, three webmail clients are offered at no additional charge.  The advantage of using a webmail client is that you can check your email from any computer with Internet access.  SquirrelMail is the most basic and recommended for new users, while Roundcube and Horde have more advanced features.

Desktop Clients

You can also use email clients that are located on your desktop.  The most popular clients that our customers use include Microsoft Outlook, Mozilla Thunderbird, and Mac Mail.

What is the difference between POP3 and IMAP?

What is a POP3 Email Account?

When you setup your email address using POP and check your email, the emails are downloaded directly to the client and are removed from the server.

Advantages:

  • If you have a lot of emails with large attachments, the emails will open much faster if they are stored on your computer.
  • An Internet connection is not needed to read any emails already received.

Disadvantages:

  • Once an email is checked by the POP3 Client, no other client will be able to read the email.  For example, if you check your email with Outlook and it has a POP3 setup, if you then check your email with your Blackberry you will not be able to receive those emails as they are stored on the computer with Outlook.
  • If your computer with the POP3 email client crashes, you will lose all your emails as there are no other copies.

What is a IMAP Email Account?

When you setup your email address using IMAP and check your email, the emails still remain on your hosting server and are only viewed by the client, not downloaded to the client.

Advantages:

  • IMAP allows you to see the same emails from multiple clients and/or webmail since the emails stay on the server.
  • If multiple people check the same email account from different computers or devices, with IMAP if one person reads the email then another person will still be able to read the same emails as well.

Disadvantages:

  • Since each time you connect with IMAP it re-checks all the email on the server, if you have a large account or emails with attachments it will make the process longer to complete.
  • If you do not have Internet access, you will not have access to your emails, even if you already read them.

Recommendations

Most business owners prefer to use IMAP, as it allows you to check your email through a desktop client, phone, or webmail and not miss any emails that were already received.  However if you only use your email with one client from one location, then using POP3 will make your connection faster.  Just make sure if you use POP3 that you keep a backup of any important emails, as once they are downloaded to your client there will not be a backup of the emails on your hosting server.

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Comments

2012-07-01 11:22 pm
You don’t have to choose between IMAP and POP. You have several options to get all the benefits of both.

Option 1. Configure your email client to connect by both IMAP and POP. Use IMAP until you are ready to download via POP.

Option 2. Create a second email account. Then set your primary account to forward all messages to the secondary account. You can then configure your email client to check one account via POP and the other via IMAP. This method allows you to download via POP at any time and still have all messages available via IMAP.

Option 3. Exactly as option 2 except you would set your account to forward a copy of messages to a third-party service such as Gmail. Configure your email client to check your own domain via POP and Gmail via IMAP (or the other way around). This is a good way to keep backup copies and also assure that you have an alternate method of accessing your mail in the event that one of the servers is temporarily down. (I think Yahoo and MSN also allow you to connect via IMAP. I’m not sure about AOL.)

NOTES:
You can configure your email client to leave the original (server side) copy of messages intact after downloading, rather than deleting them. This method allows you to move priority messages to a folder before deleting the rest. You can set Thunderbird and most good email clients to automatically delete messages in the Inbox when they reach a specified age. Or you can easily delete them manually using IMAP.

You can also configure your client to download only the message headers. You don’t need to download the message body or attachment until you specifically select a message for viewing.

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