Mailing is one of the most important communication tools in this day and age. E-mails have replaced the paper-based letters of the past and have quickened the communication medium to a great deal. Within seconds, we send, receive and download mails. But do we wonder how the internal mechanism works in the mail-world? How do we actually receive hundreds of emails? It is the job of POP3 that is assigned to help you in receiving all these emails. Today we are going to know all about POP3. At the end of the article, you should be able to understand why POP3 is needed in the world of e-mails.
What is POP3?
POP3 is a protocol used to retrieve e-mails from the e-mail server. The full meaning of POP3 is Post Office Protocol 3 and it works like a post office clerk. POP3 receives and stores the incoming mail until the client retrieves it. It enables the client to be able to download the incoming mail on the computer, smartphone, or tab-whatever the device is being used.
POP3 does not store the e-mails once they are downloaded. However, the e-mail handling programs can be used to command the POP3 to store the e-mails for a certain period. You can download the e-mails as many times as you wish and from all sorts of devices within that time. But it is not the case when the command is not given.
E-mail software clients including Eudora, Microsoft Outlook, G-mail, etc. can be used to retrieve mails via POP3. When these clients are ready to receive an e-mail using the internet, of course, the POP3 activates automatically to retrieve the mail from the remote server to your local server and the mail gets downloaded on your device.
Brief History of POP3
Post Office Protocol (POP) was first introduced in the mid-1980s as the e-mail receiving protocol. The previous versions of POP3- POP1 and POP2- were modified to reach its current function-ability. POP3 has gained popularity since the decade 1990 and still now, it is one of the widely-used mail protocols mainly because of its simplicity. Although POP4 has been on the list of proposals from the vendor, it is not being developed greatly to surplus the POP3.
E-mail Viewing through POP3
POP3 does the job of retrieving e-mails from the server to your computer. But it only enables you to view your inbox. You cannot get access to the data of outbox, sent box, deleted items, spam box, or customized folder with the help of POP3. Thus, it is only your inbox retrieving protocol on the e-mail client software.
Once an incoming mail is downloaded on your home computer, the mail is deleted from the server, and later, you cannot view the same mail from your office computer. So, you can understand that this protocol is not ideal when you want to use multiple devices to view and read emails.
Again, POP3 does not synchronize the data on your e-mail client. Let’s assume that you have created a folder on the e-mail client with your home computer. Now, go and check it from your office computer and you won’t find the folder here as the change was not synchronized across the devices. This is the reason why the arrangement of folders cannot be viewed as the same from different devices in the case of using this protocol.
How to Configure POP3 on the E-mail Client?
As the configuration on the client software is done automatically, we do not pay heed to what protocols to use and how we can configure a certain protocol on the client. But if you are interested in using a certain incoming protocol after knowing its usefulness, then you can do it easily. Go to account settings on the client software (Let’s say, G-mail) and type in ‘pop.gmail.com’ in the incoming mail server option. You have to put in your user name and password for the e-mail account to proceed.
Another incoming mail protocol, IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol) can also be considered. The main advantage of using this protocol instead of POP3 is that it does not delete the emails even after they are downloaded, viewed, and read. As a result, you can download the incoming mails anytime and from any device, you would like. If you want to use this protocol then you have to type in ‘imap.gmail.com’ in the mentioned option.
For your information in this mailing settings regard, SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) is a widely-used protocol in case of sending e-mails. A combination of these protocols is used by the client to do all the activities regarding mailing.
Advantages of POP3
The advantages of using POP3 as an e-mail retrieving protocol are as follows-
1. As the incoming mails are deleted after being downloaded on the computer, the storage space of the mail server is greatly saved. If you have to deal with thousands of e-mails, then POP3 is really handy in saving the server space.
2. You can view the e-mails without any internet connection once the mail is downloaded on the client software.
3. POP3 is a very simple and almost error-free protocol which makes it popular in the e-mail world.
Disadvantages of POP3
The disadvantages of using this as an e-mail retrieving protocol are as follows-
1. There is no opportunity for multi-device access in the case of POP3 as the incoming e-mail is not stored on the server forever.
2. There is more chance of a virus attack on your computer as the mails are fully downloaded when you use this protocol as an incoming protocol.
All in all, POP3 is a great e-mail handler despite having some issues. You can choose this protocol if you use a dedicated device for mail-viewing. That’s it for today; hopefully, the article was helpful for you.