Email account – IMAP, POP3 or EXCHANGE?

Mailbox type for emails?

Advance decision: What kind of email management do you need, the modern IMAP, the classic POP3 or even an EXCHANGE server? Find the solution that’s right for you.
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    1. IMAP

    Allows you to share your emails with multiple email clients (web, office computer, home laptop, Android, iPhone, iPad…).

    All emails remain on the server and it compares the received, sent, sorted and deleted emails and the drafts on demand. You always have the current, same status of your edits on all devices.

    IMAP is a bit more complex to set up, but very convenient once it’s up and running. Note that you need much more space on the mail server than with POP3, since all mails remain on the server until they are archived or deleted locally in the overall system.

    IMAP for teams? – IMAP is not designed for multiple users. If you still use IMAP for teams (technically possible), there may be confusion if, for example, several team members reply to the same mail at the same time.

    2. POP3

    The POP3 protocol is optimal if you quite classically process your e-mails typically with a program: Either on the Internet via the web browser or with the e-mail program on your computer or with your smartphone or tablet.

    With POP3 you load a copy of the e-mail from the server to your e-mail program using the respective program.

    The email is removed from the server after a specified time and remains stored only in your email program. With this trick, even different devices (e.g. computer or mobile) can load the latest mails.

    However, synchronization does not take place: It is not compared which mail has already been read, answered, sorted or deleted and reply mails are only stored on the device on which they were written.

    Since the emails are always downloaded, they will eventually only be present on your device and not on the server. As a result, the server requires much less storage space (cheaper), the system is less prone to errors, and there is a higher level of data protection, since e-mails are only stored online for a short moment.

    POP3 is also faster and easier to set up and use.

    In a team, POP3 can be used when several employees share the same e-mail program (on one computer) or the e-mails are only processed online alternately via webmail in the browser.

    Comparison table
    POP3 and IMAP

    A comparison of the two widespread
    Email types in tabular form




    • An email program handles the emails (usually a user or a team’s shared computer).
    • Difficulty: Easy
    • Multiple e-mail programs process the e-mails in parallel (e.g. PC, MacBook, mobile devices of a user)
    • Difficulty: Medium


    • Easy and quick to install, basic PC knowledge is enough.
    • Inexpensive: Requires hardly any space on the e-mail server
    • All e-mails are stored locally, which is easy to understand and use – just like classic letter correspondence. Operating errors hardly ever occur.
    • Perfectly synchronized: All e-mail programs show the same current status of an e-mail processing, because received, sent, drafted and deleted e-mails are synchronized. You can quickly switch from Mac to mobile and just keep working.


    • Complications when accessed by multiple email programs (e.g. PC+Mobile). This is more or less possible with tricks to load incoming mails to all e-mail programs.
      However, replies and drafts are saved locally and the other e-mail programs do not get to know about them (or only via complicated detours). And if you want to delete emails, you have to do it on all programs individually, which can mean a lot of work in the case of spam emails.
    • It is not easy to switch to IMAP later when you need more flexibility.
    • An on-site IT professional to help with setup and maintenance is recommended for first-time PC users.
    • The concept with server folders and local folders is not easy to understand and leads to duplicate folders if installed incorrectly.
    • Discipline is required when archiving old e-mails, as the server will sooner or later be full and will then no longer accept new mails. Business people are required to archive business correspondence.
    • No real team management: problems are possible when several users edit the same mail at the same time. (In that case, a separate MS EXCHANGE server is probably a better choice).

    3.MS-EXCHANGE server

    You can rent a pre-configured Exchange server from TBA as an add-on option to your TBA web package. – The perfect solution for professionals and real teamwork.

    Exchange offers perfect synchronization of mails, appointments, addresses, etc. and provides high data and archive security even for complex requirements. MS EXCHANGE works smoothly with all major PC and Apple systems, as well as mobile devices.

    For more information about the Exchange server, see Microsoft.

    This solution is comparable to Google Mail (Gmail) in terms of convenience and technology, but has the great advantage that your data is protected from Google’s data collection rage. Especially companies with sensitive customer emails (doctors, IT, banks, etc.) should benefit greatly from this.

    It is also easy to integrate your own Exchange servers with our systems and TBA only manages the website and not the e-mails.

    Detailed questions about MS-Exchange

    Perhaps clarify the following question in advance:

    When are “normal” e-mail accounts sufficient and when does a Microsoft Exchange server come in handy? For the many startups and smaller customers IMAP is quite sufficient.

    There are basically 2 variants how you can operate a MS-Exchange server, if the associated domain is managed at TBA-Berlin:

    1. TBA-Berlin provides you with a MS Exchange server
      We offer “managed” MS Exchange servers for a monthly fee. Here you will be relieved of the rather complex technical setup and operation of an MS Exchange mailbox and you will be able to use it right away. (1 MS Exchange server is required per e-mail mailbox).
      This variant is interesting for customers with only one or a few mailboxes to be managed in a team.
    2. You operate your own MS Exchange server
      You yourself (or a specialized IT provider working for you) can of course operate your own external MS Exchange server. This must then be networked with TBA-Berlin.
      We recommend this to our customers from medium-sized businesses with larger teams.
      Read about this: Connecting MS Exchange Server to Your Domain at TBA.

    Further information about the MS Exchange Server can be found at the manufacturer Microsoft.


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