How Does IMAP Email Work?

How does IMAP email work? IMAP or Internet Message Access Protocol works by connecting with a server mail and helps you browse all the names connected with your messages and mails, before you download them. Before going in to detail about the various benefits and the other advantages of using IMAP email over others let us first try and understand what IMAP is all about.

There are only 2 standard Internet protocols that are prevalent when it comes to retrieval of email. One is IMAP and the other is POP (Post Office Protocol). In general email messages gets stored and transferred from a mail server. Modern day technology has made it possible for all the available servers as well as client emails to support and be compatible with both the preferred protocols.

Internet protocol or IP is the means used for communication of data between different set of computers. Each computer is called a host and is identified by a unique computer name called IP address when it is on the Internet. All of them are in turn connected to a main computer called the server which stores the messages for a few micro seconds before it gets delivered to the other computer or receiver. IMAP email also uses similar lines of performance.

advantage of IMAP email

IMAP email works both on offline as well as online modes. There is an email box virtually created for every recipient connected with IMAP at the server level and the messages that are incoming to their mailbox gets stored in the server. The user can later retrieve these mails using the standard protocol from the server. The server also supports vendor protocol systems in place of the standard ones like IMAP or POP.

The main advantage of IMAP email is that it allows the user to access their emails and messages directly on the server and there is no need for downloading them to your hard drive of your local computer. This allows IMAP users to check their emails from any computer and they can access the same messages from multiple PC's. How can this be made possible? It is because the server in this protocol mode chooses to store the email messages on to them until they are downloaded to the local drive by the user or deleted by the user. This is the same concept with sent messages too.

While using IMAP email the messages would still be the same irrespective of the computer used, even the status of the email (which is read /unread) would be as accurate. You can also sort the emails and store them on to different folders within the server. The folders again can be accessed from any system. Apart from the emails you can also store and access attachments including word documents, excel spreadsheets, audio files etc.

The only disadvantage that anyone can think of when it comes to using IMAP email is that you need an Internet connectivity if you have to access mails. Since storage happens in the server it is good to go in for a minimum storage space of 10MB for using IMAP email.

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