What is an Incoming Mail Server?

To handle e-mail uniformly across networks such as the Internet, Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) was developed and is the standard protocol used for exchanging e-mail. At the server level, SMTP is responsible for sending and receiving e-mail between relay hosts that route e-mail through the network to its destination. At the client (user) level, most people associate SMTP with sending email only, and the outgoing email server address is usually smtp. [Thedomain] .with . The incoming mail server address, however, can be named after a retrieval protocol, such as Post Office Protocol 3 (POP3), pop3. [Thedomain] .com or Internet Message Access Protocol ( IMAP ), imap. [Thedomain] .with .

Incoming mail servers can be named according to the retrieval protocol used.

Internet Service Providers (ISPs) often provide their customers with a POP3 address. Authentication is required to collect messages from an incoming mail server and takes the form of the email address and associated password. This can be a proprietary password used for email only, or the password assigned to the account. Only one client can access a POP3 mailbox at a time and once the mail is collected it is automatically deleted from the server.

SMTP is a protocol for sending and receiving email.

While POP3 is efficient, it is not always useful. The IMAP protocol allows retrieval of mail from the server, leaving copies behind. This is convenient for people who collect messages from multiple customers or locations. For example, using IMAP, user can collect personal emails while working to stay updated and then delete them from work machine and collect them again at home to reply. The home email client can then be configured to delete the email from the server.

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Those using personal digital assistants (PDAs), cell phones, and other personal electronics with email access and IMAP support will also appreciate being able to check mail without the process deleting mail from the server. While some messages can be quickly replied to using a thumb pad, longer replies are more conveniently typed on a standard computer later. Using the IMAP protocol, mail on the incoming mail server can also be tagged or flagged to indicate various states or conditions. For example, collected mail can be marked as read.

POP3 is most often associated with the ISP’s email service, while IMAP is typically used by web-based email services. The flexibility of IMAP can be used with most POP3 accounts, however, using an IMAP-compatible email client. The most popular email clients today support both POP3 and IMAP protocols.

Only one client can access a POP3 mailbox at a time and once the mail is collected it is automatically deleted from the server.

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