Microsoft Exchange

Microsoft Exchange is one of the best options for businesses setting up and maintaining their emails, especially when compared to the older POP3 and IMAP email protocols. Read on to find out the differences between them.


POP3 – Post Office Protocol version 3

POP3 is one of the older email protocols, having been used since 1984 when the first version of POP was introduced. Despite its age, it is still one of the most widely used and popular email protocols due to its simplicity and ability to be easily implemented and configured.

It works by connecting to an email server, which then downloads all emails which haven’t been downloaded to the device connected to the server. After this it then deletes the original emails from the server. Alternatively it can be configured so that emails aren’t deleted for a set amount of time, or so that emails are never deleted at all, even if they have been downloaded.

If left at the default configuration, then once the emails have been deleted from the server the only copies you will be able to view are those that were downloaded to your client (e.g. a PC or mobile phone). Because of this, you will be unable to view said emails on other devices, unless you have configured the server to keep those emails for a set amount of time/indefinitely.

– Cheap
– Supported by nearly all devices in use today
– Simple implementation and configuration
– Downloaded emails can be read even without an internet connection
– Server doesn’t require a large amount of storage, as emails are deleted after downloading

– Downloaded messages are deleted from the server
– If the device where emails are downloaded to is damaged, destroyed, or stolen, then the emails will be lost
– Cannot download emails to another device if already downloaded
– Emails downloaded can take up storage space on a device
– Much lower storage limit than Microsoft Exchange


IMAP – Internet Message Access Protocol

Originally created in 1986, IMAP is much more suited to modern-day internet connectivity than POP3. This is because IMAP stores email messages on servers, much like POP3, except the emails are not deleted or downloaded from the server. This allows for emails to be accessed from any device that is connected to the internet, as the email client is simply reading them off the server, rather than downloading them to the specific device.

Any messages that are deleted from a client will also be deleted from the server, so the deleted messages will be unable to be viewed from other devices. Messages that have been sent from the email client are also stored on the server, as is any information about messages which have been read.

IMAP email servers will typically have a limited mailbox size, depending on the email service provided, but this can be worked around if you have a large amount of emails by creating a local archive on a device, then deleting the emails from the server.

– Emails are always stored on the server, so they can be accessed on any device, at any time
– If a failure occurs, or an account is deleted, the emails can always be recovered
– Emails do not take up local space on a device
– Two-way communication between the server and client, allowing for the same account to be used by several devices
– Universal support/compatibility

– Emails cannot be accessed without an internet connection
– Mailbox limit can cause issues if email service is used frequently
– Requires more powerful servers with more storage space
– Much lower storage limit than Microsoft Exchange


Microsoft Exchange

This is Microsoft’s own email server/client system, consisting of Microsoft Exchange Server, and its client program Microsoft Outlook. In order to use it, user or server licenses must be purchased from Microsoft or authorised resellers.

Exchange has all of the same functionality as IMAP, with additional features such as calendaring, contact management, collaborative tasks, and scheduling available to users.

It also integrates natively with the majority of Microsoft products, including Office 365, and you can also configure Exchange to manage other email clients like Gmail. If you are choosing Office 365, then you will be able to use Exchange Online; it functions the same as regular Microsoft Exchange, however it is hosted in the cloud.

– Email Syncing – Devices will create a copy of an email, whilst the original stays on the server
– Synced between all devices – any changes made on one device will reflect to all other devices
– Much larger mailbox limits than POP3 and IMAP – Exchange Online starts with a 50GB limit
– Integration with Microsoft products
– Wide suite of collaborative tools for users
– Licenses can be purchased on a per-user or per-server basis to help with costs

– Expensive depending on the number of users
– Upgrades must be purchased – Microsoft release a new version every few years which must be purchased in order to upgrade
– Exchange requires extensive knowledge for both setup and maintenance

If you are interested in finding out more about what Microsoft Exchange can do for your business, or if you have any questions, then don’t hesitate to get in contact with our support team, who are more than happy to help out!