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

Last Updated: Apr 18, 2018 09:26AM EDT
  • IMAP – Commonly Apple Mail, GoDaddy, Verizon, and HostGator; Potentially Yahoo and AOL
  • Exchange – Commonly Outlook; Potentially Apple Mail and GoDaddy
  • POP3 – Commonly Outlook, Hotmail, and Windows Live; Potentially Yahoo and AOL
  • Related articles

If your email is not powered by Office 365 or Google, you'll need to know what type of email it is before you can connect it to Contactually: IMAP, Exchange, or POP3.
  • Contactually can connect to IMAP and Microsoft Exchange email servers.
  • Contactually cannot to POP3 email servers. 

IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol)

An IMAP email server means you can receive and send messages without downloading them to your local computer. Instead, your messages are saved to the mail server, and you can use your email client and access and send messages from anywhere.

Contactually communicates with your server to gather timestamps, your contacts' email addresses, and track your email conversations.

To connect an IMAP email server to Contactually, you'll need

  • the name of your IMAP server,
  • your username, and
  • your port settings.

Usually, the username is either your entire email address or everything before the @ in your email. The most common ports for IMAP are 993 with SSL and 143 without SSL.  

Examples of IMAP email providers
  • Apple Mail
  • GoDaddy
  • Verizon
  • HostGator
  • (Potentially) Yahoo
  • (Potentially) Microsoft Outlook
  • (Potentially) AOL

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. 

To connect an Exchange email server to Contactually, you'll need
  • your Exchange server and
  • your username.
Your username can be your email address, everything before the @ in your email address, DOMAIN\username, or your username. Your IT administrator or web host is the best person to ask to ensure you have the correct username.

Examples of Exchange email providers
  • Office 365
  • (Potentially) Microsoft Outlook
  • (Potentially) Apple Mail
  • (Potentially) GoDaddy

*Note that Contactually has a one-click connection with Office 365, so when connecting your Office 365 email to Contactually in Contactually's Settings, click the Office 365 button rather than the Exchange button.

POP3 (Post Office Protocol)

POP accounts create local copies of emails on your computer and delete the original messages from the server.

Because Contactually communicates with your email server and not your computer, we can't record timestamps, contacts' email addresses, or email conversations from POP accounts. This is due to the fact that the emails are deleted from the server, and we can't access the downloaded messages on your computer.

Some email providers, such as Yahoo and AOL, can be switched from POP to IMAP via the settings in your phone or email client. Click here for a list of instructions based on your email provider and email client.

Examples of POP3 email providers
  • Microsoft: Live, Hotmail, and (potentially) Outlook
  • Earthlink
  • (Potentially) Yahoo
  • (Potentially) AOL

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