Bigpond, Optus, iiNet users. Are you still using a POP3 Mailbox?

pop3 email

POP v IMAP ….. which email protocol are you using? If POP you need to change ASAP

Older Australian’s are often still using the original email protocol (as it was the only one back in the day) called “POP3” (POP for short) which stood for “Post Office Protocol version 3” which is no longer used, but still supported as a legacy system by most ISPs

All ISP’s stopped using POP3 mailboxes many years ago and replaced by IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol) however, they have mostly failed in communicating this to their users.

The difference between POP and IMAP mail accounts is boring but should be of great interest to those of you, still unwittingly using POP accounts.

There is a third Protocol involved called SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) but that is only used when sending emails

POP moves the email message from the email server to the local computer, although there is usually an option in email clients to leave the messages on the email server as well, it is usually disabled to reduce the size of the mailbox.

IMAP always leaves the message on the email server, simply downloading a local copy.

In simple terms, if your computer uses POP, when you receive an email, the email is only stored on your computer in the “inbox” or the email folder you put it in. If you have multiple devices accessing that email box, only the first device gets the email.

However, if your computer uses IMAP, when you receive an email, the email has already been stored on your providers server and the email you receive is a copy of that ORIGINAL. Meaning that email is stored locally (on your computer) AND the providers email server.

If you follow the logic you should see the inherant dangers and advantages of the two protocols

POP3 emails are only stored locally (on your computer/device) and if your device fails, is stolen or becomes corrupt, those emails are lost forever.

Also with POP, if you have multiple devices accessing the emails (say 2 computers or a phone and a computer) then only the first device will have the email and not subsequent devices, which can be very confusing.

IMAP emails are duplicated between the mail server and your devices and only get deleted if you delete them manually. Once that deletion is replicated to the mail server (and usually held in the trash can for 30 days) … IMAP is used extensively these days, meaning your can access your mail on multiple devices, delete on any of those devices and that change will be replicated and synced to the other devices.

ISPs would rather wait for the over-quota issue to arise and then fix the issue rather than devoting manpower to proactivly fix the issue.

What email quota do I have?

Email Problems
Business Email Options