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Advantages and Disadvantages of POP3

POP3 or the Post Office Protocol is the oldest and best known of the two Internet message access protocols.  It was designed to support "offline"/local email processing.  Email is delivered to an email server and a remote email client periodically downloads  messages from this server to the user's PC.  Once the messages are delivered to the client they are permanently deleted from the email server.

POP3 stands for Post Office Protocol (version 3), comprised of mailboxes for email systems so that a user can retrieve email from a central location where the email is stored. POP3 accounts allow users to have mailboxes on a server with their domain name. Post Office Protocol Version 3 provides a simple, standardized way for users to access mailboxes and download messages to their computers.

One of the advantages of POP3 is that once the messages are delivered to the client PC the messages can be read whether connected to the Internet or not.  Another advantage is that it is a very popular email protocol and just about all email clients support it.

A disadvantage of the POP3 protocol is that it is inadequate for the mobile user. Since messages are permanently downloaded, the user will only be able to access the messages from one PC.  A couple ways around this are mobile PCs (laptops, palmtops, etc.) or some email programs have an option to "leave the messages on the server".  The best way to work around this problem is to use IMAP.


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