Skip to main content

Should I go with POP or IMAP when setting up email on my device?

Written by KCOM Support on 23/03/2022. Posted in Broadband.

When you set up your KCOM email on a device or an email client, you need to choose either POP or IMAP as the server type. There are good and bad points to using either one which we explain in this article.


Something to note

We recommend that you use only POP or only IMAP across your devices, rather than both. Using both can cause issues with syncing and emails may display on one device but not another.

What's an email client?

An email client is an app or a program on your computer or device that lets you manage, receive and send emails. An example of some email clients on a computer are: Microsoft Outlook, Apple Mail, Outlook Mail and Thunderbird.

We have many guides for setting up your KCOM email onto different clients. Try searching the knowledge base for help.

I'm thinking of using POP

POP (otherwise known as POP3) is the most popular type of setup for customers using our email service and the one we recommend.

What's the advantage?

  • Using POP means that all of the emails in your inbox will be pulled from our server and stored within your email client on your device. The benefit to this is that it'll help to keep your 250Mb inbox free so that your inbox doesn't get full.
  • You can setup POP to leave a copy of your emails on our server so that they're viewable on all of your devices and on KCOM webmail
  • Because POP stores the emails on your device instead of the server, this means you're keeping a backup of the emails and can store thousands depending on the size of the storage on your device

What's the disadvantage?

  • Unless setup differently, POP will pull your emails from the server and store them on your device. This means that your other devices or webmail won't be able to see any of your emails - they'll only be accessible from that one device.
  • When using POP, your client will only connect to the email server briefly while it downloads new messages. This means you won't necessarily receive new emails as soon as they come in.
  • There are no flags when using POP. This means that if you were to read an email on one client, it wouldn't show as being read on another device. Another example is if an email was deleted on one device, it'd still be there on another device.

I'm thinking of using IMAP

IMAP (otherwise known as IMAP4) isn't as popular as POP but is great for easily managing your inbox and keeping everything in the same place.

What's the advantage?

  • When using IMAP you can create, rename and delete folders on our server directly which means that all of your devices will see the same changes. You can also move messages between folders.
  • Using IMAP also keeps a connection to the server whilst your client is open. This means you should see emails as soon as they come in.
  • IMAP uses flags which means that if you read an email, it'll show as read on other clients. This is the same if you were to delete an email - once deleted, it won't show on other devices.

What's the disadvantage?

  • As IMAP looks directly at the server rather than pulling your emails onto your device, your 250Mb inbox may fill up quickly
  • You'll need to keep checking your inbox frequently and deleting emails you won't want otherwise your inbox will become full
  • When you create a folder on webmail or another device, this won't instantly become available on other devices until the folder list is reset. You'd need to do this on the settings for your email on your device or client.

Was this article useful?