Post Office Protocol (POP)

What is it?

What is it?

The "Post Office Protocol (POP)" is a standard email protocol used for retrieving email messages from a mail server to a client device, such as a computer or mobile device, for offline access. POP operates on port 110 by default and allows users to download emails from the server to their local storage, typically removing the messages from the server.

Key points to remember

Key points to remember

  • Email Retrieval: POP enables email clients to connect to a mail server and retrieve emails stored in the recipient's inbox or designated folders, facilitating offline access to email messages without requiring a continuous internet connection.

  • One-Way Communication: Unlike the IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol), which synchronizes email actions between the server and client, POP typically operates as a one-way communication protocol, downloading emails to the client's device and removing them from the server by default.


  • Message Deletion: By default, POP clients delete emails from the server after downloading them to the local device. This can lead to potential data loss if backups are not maintained or messages are not archived.


  • Configuration Settings: POP clients require specific configuration settings, including server address, port number, encryption method (if applicable), username, and password, to connect with the mail server and retrieve emails securely.


  • Limited Features: POP offers limited functionality compared to IMAP, lacking folder synchronization, server-side storage management, and real-time email access across multiple devices, making it less suitable for users who require advanced email management capabilities.

Example of Use

Example of Use

  1. Desktop Email Clients: Users configure desktop email clients such as Microsoft Outlook, Mozilla Thunderbird, or Apple Mail to retrieve emails from their POP-enabled email accounts, allowing them to access and manage their messages offline.


  2. Backup and Archiving: Organizations may use POP to download copies of emails from their mail servers to local storage or backup systems for archival purposes, ensuring data preservation and compliance with retention policies.

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