Difference between Email Protocols (POP, IMAP & SMTP)

Difference between Email Protocols (POP, IMAP & SMTP)

May 30, 2019

As we all know the Electronic Mail service (Email) which is one of the most used communication technology in the world, but have you at any point addressed yourself how it really functions?


There are two parts of email convention, the one used to receive new email (incoming mails) and the other used to send mails (outgoing mails). The three main protocols are POP, IMAP and SMTP, in this POP and IMAP are used for incoming mail service and SMTP is used for outgoing mail service.


All three mail protocols use ports, for receiving and sending mail, the port number means a gateway to enter or exit any service. A port number is the logical address of each application or process that uses a network or the Internet to communicate, every service has its unique port number.




SMTP stands for Simple Mail Transfer Protocol. It was first proposed in 1982. It is a standard protocol used for sending e-mail efficiently and reliably over the internet. SMTP is an application-layer protocol that enables the transmission and delivery of email over the Internet and uses port number 25, 465 and 587.




IMAP stands for Internet Mail Access Protocol. It was first proposed in 1986. IMAP permits the Client program to control the email message on the server without downloading them on the client system. The email is held and kept up by the remote server and download when we open/click on the message. IMAP is an application layer Internet Protocol using the underlying transport layer protocols to establish host-to-host communication services for applications.  The well-known port address for IMAP are 143 and 993.




POP stands for Post Office Protocol. It is generally used to support a single client. The Post Office Protocol (POP) is an application-layer Internet standard protocol used by local e-mail clients to retrieve e-mail from a remote server over a TCP/IP connection. .  The well-known port address for POP are 110 and 995.

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