When using your free POP3 email account, mail is first delivered to the email provider’s servers. Your email program (e.g. Outlook, Firebird, Eudora etc) then downloads these messages to your computer, and you can have the option to choose whether to leave the messages on the servers or have them deleted.
The main advantage of POP3 is that you can you can read email messages when you are not connected to the Internet.
IMAP stores your email on the the email provider’s servers, not on your computer. Your email program then connects to the servers and allows you to read, send and delete your email.
There are number of advantages of using IMAP, specifically you can:
– Access your email from anywhere there is an Internet connection
– Use different computers and devices (mobile, pda, IPhone, Wii, Internet café, wireless hotspots etc..) to access your email.
– Unlike POP3, whatever has been read will be marked as read, deleted as deleted etc. In POP3, you will always get a fresh copy of all the emails and you have to mark the email as read or delete them again (if you have chosen he option to leave received messages on the server)