Table of Contents
Updated by Gerhard Kleewein
The de-facto standard for email retrievals since the late 1990s is POP3.
The acronym "POP" refers to the Post Office Protocol. When you use POP, your mail application downloads the entire message from the email server to your computer, smartphone, or tablet. After you've downloaded your emails using POP3, messages are no longer stored on the email server. POP protocol is not designed for simultaneously retrieving emails (sharing a mailbox) or synchronizing emails across multiple devices.
The IMAP4 protocol emerged in the early 2000s
IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol) downloads messages to your computer only when you read them. Messages themselves stay on the EDIS server and are only marked as being read, but are not downloaded or deleted. This allows groups of people to share the same email address (e.g. info@ yourdomain.com) without stealing one another's emails. IMAP also allows you to have different devices access your personal e-mail address simultaneously (laptop, mobile phone, tablet). Your mailbox is automatically kept in sync with IMAP across all your devices. EDIS ensures that your emails are backed-up on the server.
For both POP and IMAP, your e-mail's physical storage location is always in Austria. This is independent of the hosting location you choose.
If you're using IMAP to share an e-mail address across multiple computers (e.g. a team of people), it's crucial that all of the devices work with the same (IMAP) protocol. If not, a single POP3 user would easily retrieve all emails (and delete them from the server) and leave all IMAP users confronted with an empty mailbox. bye, bye shared inbox! Experience has shown that the latter is a risk above all if you allow technically inexperienced users to connect themselves to a shared IMAP account (without giving explicit instructions or supervision).