What is the difference between IMAP, Exchange, and POP3?

Last Updated: Apr 07, 2016 12:08PM EDT
An important detail that you need to know before adding your email accounts to Contactually, are what type email they are, either IMAP, Exchange, or POP3.

What is the difference and how does it affect your ability to add email accounts to Contactually?

Quick Guide
  • Contactually can connect to IMAP and Microsoft Exchange email servers.

  • Contactually cannot connect to POP3 email servers. 

IMAP Internet Message Access Protocol
This means that you can receive and send messages with out downloading them to your local computer.  Instead, your messages are saved to the mail server, and you can use your email client and messages from anywhere.

Contactually communicates with your server to gather time stamps, your contact's email addresses, and track your email conversations.

If you are using IMAP and you want to set it up with Contactually, you will need to know:
  • the name of your IMAP server
  • your username
  • and your port settings
Usually the username is either your email address or everything before @. Usual ports for IMAP with SSL is 993 and 143 without SSL.  

Examples of IMAP Email Providers:
  • Apple Mail
  • GoDaddy
  • Verizon
  • (Potentially) Microsoft Outlook

Microsoft Exchange Server 
This type of email server behaves more or less the same as an IMAP server. The primary difference is that Microsoft manages the mail server, and gives you Microsoft specific features through Outlook.  Same as IMAP, Contactually has no problem connecting with these types of email accounts. 

If you are using Exchange and you want to set it up with Contactually, you will need to know:
  • your Exchange server
  • and username
This can be your email address, everything before @ in your email address, DOMAIN\username or your username.  Your IT administrator or webhost will be the best person to ask about this.

Examples of Exchange Email Providers:
  • Office 365
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • (Potentially) Apple Mail

POP3 - Post Office Protocol
With POP3 accounts, when you read your emails, it creates a local copy in your computer and deletes the original message from the server.

Since this is how POP3 accounts behave, Contactually won't be able to record your timestamps and contact's email address and even track email conversations.  This is due to the fact that they're deleted from the server and we cannot access the downloaded messages on your computer.

The only way you can use these types of email accounts with Contactually is:
  • if you use it with Microsoft Outlook. You will need to download our Outlook plugin which will create contacts and track messages moving forward.
  • or link your POP3 email to a Gmail account. You can learn more about this here.

Examples of POP3 Email Providers:
  • Yahoo
  • Microsoft: Live, Hotmail, Outlook
  • Earthlink

Related articles:
How do I connect my IMAP account to Contactually?
How to find your IMAP email settings via outlook?
How do I find my IMAP settings from Apple Mail?
Link POP3 email to Contactually
How do I connect my Exchange account to Contactually?
How do I find my Exchange settings in Apple Mail?
How to connect your Office365 email account to Contactually
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