May 13, 2009

POP3/SMTP Email Accounts


Hostway Team

If you're looking for a simple, inexpensive email solution that includes your domain name in your email address, POP3/SMTP accounts are for you. They're inexpensive as a stand-alone plan, and included free in most Web hosting plans. Basically these accounts connect you to a POP3 and SMTP server for receiving and sending email messages.


POP stands for post office protocol. And 3 refers to the generation of the protocol. In the simplest terms, it is a method for downloading mail from a server to your email client.


SMTP stands for simple mail transfer protocol. It is a protocol for sending mail from your email client.

How it Works

When you receive an email message from a POP3 account, here's what happens:

  1. The new message is attached to the file located on the POP3 server for your account.
  2. You log in to your email account, and the message downloads to your email client where you can open it and read it.
  3. The server then deletes the message.

When you send a message using SMTP, here's what happens:

  1. Your email client connects to the SMTP server.
  2. The server reads your recipient's address.
  3. It connects to a domain name server to get the IP address for the SMTP server for the recipient's email account.
  4. Your SMTP server passes the message to the recipient's SMTP server, which hands it off to the corresponding POP3 server where it awaits retrieval.

The Downside

Because messages are deleted from the POP3 server after they're downloaded, email can be accessed once from the server. They can only be read on the machine where you downloaded the message—you cannot access your already read email messages remotely. That's the disadvantage of using a POP3/SMTP accounts.

Looking for remote access?

Learn about IMAP and hosted Microsoft Exchange.

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