SSL Secure Server and Pop3 Server Explained

Technology is a wonderful thing but it can also be downright confusing.
This is very true when it comes to hosting websites and setting up your own email accounts.

Once such term that is often confused is a Pop3 Server, just what does this mean?

Well Pop simply stands for Post Office Protocol.
This is an application which is used by email clients to retrieve their mail. The number 3 stands for the version number. Pop3 is the current model which is used by services like Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo mail.

If you have Outlook or Outlook Express on your computer this will also use the Pop3 protocol.  
The server collects your mail from a remote location by listening in on a port and collects the mail at a pre-set interval. The port used is a well known one Port 110. You can force the server to check for mail or set it to check every 15 minutes or more.

To make the Pop3 server work you will need a username and password.
The protocol, which can be compared to a simple program, uses certain commands to instruct the Pop3 on what to do.

The commands that the Pop3 Server understands are:

  1. USER – Enter your user name
  2. PASS – Enter your password
  3. QUIT – Quit the Pop3 server
  4. LIST – List the messages and their sizes
  5. RETR – retrieve messages
  6. DELE – delete messages
  7. TOP – show the top number of lines

Your email service instructs it on what to do and you end up with mail in your inbox.
Most servers will delete messages from the originating server unless you have instructed them not to.

A Pop3 server removes the emails to your computer. If you lose them from your hard drive they cannot be retrieved.
Another thing to remember is that you cannot download via Pop3 to your mobile device and computer.
So if you want to check your mail while away from home you may need to use a different service.

An IMAP server which is what Yahoo mail and Gmail use allows your email to stay on the main server. IMAP stands for Internet Mail Access Protocol.
While this is a great option it does mean that you can only access your mail while connected to the internet. A Pop3 Server allows you to read mail while not online.  

You probably use a combination of both types of mail protocols depending on where you are.
This is one benefit of technology that has made our lives that much easier.

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Posted on by MATFlawless Posted in Misc
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