POP3 and IMAP email set-up and how to use them to your advantage

Image of woman's hands accessing emails via laptop and mobile phone at the officePOP3 and IMAP are two different methods used to access emails from the server. It is useful to understand this so that you can set up your email systems in such a way that you don’t keep running out of space on the server but have the facility to access your emails when on the move as well as when you are sitting at your PC.

POP3 downloads emails from the server to your computer and saves them locally. So even when they have been deleted on the server they are still saved on your hard drive until you delete them completely (i.e. not only have you deleted them from your Inbox but you have also deleted them from the Deleted Items box).

When you use IMAP your email client (such as Microsoft Outlook or Microsoft Mail on a PC) synchronises with the email server, so sees everything that is on the server. So once an email is deleted from the server you will no longer have access to it on your computer.

Advice is often to use IMAP if you are using multiple devices for accessing email. However, unless you are very good at managing your emails and deleting all those you don’t need any more (including sent items, trash and deleted items) you can easily get to a situation whereby your mailbox is full so you lose emails that are sent before you have a chance to have a clear-out. In my experience it doesn’t make much difference how much space you have on the server – you can add more and more space but if you don’t make a conscious effort to save important content and delete emails as you go you will just keep on running out of space.

Here is an admission: I am not good at managing my emails! So I use a combination of POP3 and IMAP to enable me to see all recent emails on my phone and tablet whilst not running out of space on the email server. The Microsoft Outlook account on my PC is set up as POP3, whilst the email accounts on my iPhone and iPad are set up as IMAP. On the hosting control panel I set up the Mailbox to delete mail after 30 days (UK Servers Account Manager gives you the option to delete mail never or after 1,2,3,7,14,30,60 or 90 days). This means I can access all emails that I haven’t deleted from the server on my phone and tablet for 30 days. I don’t generally find I need to access anything older than this when on the move, but if I anticipate a need for this (for example, if I need a booking confirmation that I received more than a month ago) I simply forward it to myself from my PC so that it appears in recent emails once more.

One small drawback of this system is that you sent items aren’t stored in one place (they could be on your PC, phone or tablet depending on where you sent them from). I get over this by using the setting  on my phone and tablet to automatically send myself a copy of emails sent.

For anyone on UK Servers (this may also work with similar settings with other hosting companies, but you will need to check whether they offer the facility set up the control panel to delete mail after x days) the settings would look something like this:

  • My name: Fiona Storey
  • Email address: fiona@fionastoreydesign.co.uk
  • Account type: POP3
  • Incoming mail server: mail.ukservers.net
  • Outgoing mail server (SMTP): smtp.ukservers.net
  • User name: fiona@fionastoreydesign.co.uk
  • Password: ********
  • Under More Settings:
    • Server Port Numbers:
    • Incoming server (POP3): 995 Check “This server requires an encrypted connection (SSL/TLS)”
    • Outgoing server (SMTP): 465 Use the following type of encrypted connection: SSL/TLS
    • Delivery
      • Check “Leave a copy of messages on the server”
      • Check Remove from the server after _ days and enter the same number of days as you have set on the control panel.

 

On my phone/tablet the account was set up as IMAP and the settings are:

  • Name: Fiona Storey
  • Email address: fiona@fionastoreydesign.co.uk
  • Description: Fiona Storey Design
  • Host Name: mail.ukservers.net
  • User name: fiona@fionastoreydesign.co.uk
  • Password: ********
  • Outgoing Mail Server: smtp.ukservers.net
  • In Advanced settings scroll down to Incoming Settings
    • Use SSL: On
    • Server Port: 993
    • S/MIME: Off

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