What exactly is the IMAP Protocol?
The IMAP protocol stores a copy of the email on both the user’s local computer and the mail server, allowing the user to access the email on multiple devices. To access email on an IMAP server, you must have an Internet connection.
After establishing a TCP/IP connection between the IMAP client and the IMAP server, the IMAP server defaults to listening on port 143, but this port number can be changed.
IMAP connects to two ports by default:
- Non-Encrypted IMAP Port 143.
- SSL/TSL port number 993.
POP3 and IMAP are the most commonly used protocols for retrieving email from remote servers. Almost all email clients and web servers support both of these protocols.
What is the full meaning of IMAP?
IMAP is an acronym that stands for Internet Message Access Protocol. It is also known as Internet Mail Access Protocol, Interactive Mail Access Protocol, and Interim Mail Access Protocol.
The IMAP Protocol’s History
Versions of the IMAP protocol
We have told you all the version RFCs of IMAP and the year they were launched in the table below.
|Version name||RFC||When was it launched|
|IMAP4||RFC 1730 and RFC 1731||1994|
How IMAP Protocol Works
The IMAP protocol, which adheres to the Client-Server Architecture, is the most widely used protocol. It is a collection of client and server processes that run on other computers linked by a network.
The IMAP protocol communicates via TCP/IP connections, listens on port 143 by default once communication is established, and communicates securely via port 993.
When emails arrive at the IMAP mail server via SMTP, the mail server forwards them to the client’s local computer using the IMAP protocol. However, unlike POP3, the IMAP server keeps a copy of the email even after it has been transferred, allowing the user to access the email from the server via another device.
IMAP Protocol Characteristics
- Allows the client to send and receive email from a remote server.
- The message flag is set by the IMAP protocol so that the user can see which emails he has previously viewed.
- Only a portion of the email can be downloaded in this case. Most of the time, the header is downloaded first.
- Users can organise their email on the mail server according to their needs.
- As a result, they have the ability to create, delete, and edit mailboxes on the mail server. Even after the email is accessed via the IMAP protocol, a copy is kept on the server.
- Users of the IMAP protocol can access email on a variety of devices.
- It communicates via ports 143 and 993.
The Benefits of the IMAP Protocol
- The IMAP protocol allows the user to view all of the mail server’s folders.
A user can access email on multiple devices using the IMAP protocol.
Before downloading an email, it is possible to read it in part.
It enables the user to sync their email.
The user can configure the email on the mail server to meet his specific requirements.
Large-size images, videos, files, or documents can be attached and sent with its assistance.
IMAP Protocol Drawbacks
- Maintaining IMAP is difficult.
It is difficult to keep IMAP running.
Even if there is no internet connection, the user can access his or her email.
Even if the user does not have an internet connection, he or she can access the email.
- The IMAP protocol is slower than the POP3 protocol.
IMAP is slower than POP3.
The IMAP protocol raises the server’s overall cost.
The IMAP protocol raises the overall cost of the server.
IMAP does not download the entire email at once.
What is the difference between IMAP and SMTP?The following are the key distinctions between IMAP and SMTP:
|IMAP Protocol||SMTP Protocol|
|The full name of IMAP is Internet Message Access Protocol.||The full name of SMTP is Simple Mail Transfer Protocol.|
|IMAP is used to receive email.||SMTP is used to send emails.|
|IMAP is used between the client and the client’s mail server.||SMTP is used between sender and mail servers.|
|IMAC is one of two popular protocols for receiving email.||SMTP is the popular protocol for outgoing email.|