About IMAP

When you receive an email, it sits in a file called your "INBOX" on your email provider's servers. If you wish to view this email you must access this file somehow. There are several ways of doing this: a web-based interface known as "WebMail", via a program such as Microsoft Outlook or Thunderbird running on your personal computer, or via a mobile device such as a Blackberry or iPhone. In order for the program or mobile device to talk to your email provider's servers and retrieve your email messages, your computer/device and their servers must communicate and "speak the same language" so that they can understand each other.

Two common "languages" that email servers understand include the "Internet Message Access Protocol" (IMAP) and the "Post Office Protocol" version 3 (i.e. "POP", "POP3" or "POP 3"). They may also understand Microsoft ActiveSync for mobile access.

Pros and Cons of IMAP

IMAP (the "Internet Mail Access Protocol") is intended to be used in situations where you wish to keep all of your email on your email provider's servers so that you can check it anytime from any computer or device that is running an email program or App supporting IMAP. IMAP also works well in combination with WebMail so that you can also check your email from any computer that has a web browser and an Internet connection. This has the following advantages:

  • Since the email stays on the provider's servers, you can check it from any computer with a web browser (WebMail) or with an IMAP-compatible email program or mobile App. This is great if you travel or work in several places.
  • If your computer "dies" or gets a virus, your email will not be affected because it is stored on your email service provider's computers.

IMAP also has the following disadvantages:

  • You must be connected to the Internet in order to access your new email (and any old email which you have not pre-downloaded for "offline access").
  • If you have a lot of email, it may take up a lot of space on your email provider's servers (which may cost additional money).

POP service, which LuxSci also provides, has the opposite Pros and Cons. About POP email services.

To learn more about how IMAP works and the security issues involved in sending and receiving email, read

IMAP at LuxSci

LuxSci provides IMAP email services to all of its email hosting customers (all customers can also receive POP, SMTP, and WebMail services).

  • IMAP v4r1 over SSL and TLS
  • Alternate ports to get around firewalls
  • Authentication required
  • IMAP IDLE support
  • Support for concurrent access by multiple people/programs to the same accounts and folders

Using LuxSci's IMAP email services, you can access your email at any time using your favorite email program from any where in the world, so long as you have an Internet connection. LuxSci has step-by-step online instructions for configuring your email programs for use with its services, so it is quick and easy to get setup.

LuxSci provides secure IMAP -- IMAP connections over SSL or TLS. Using SSL, your username, password, and message contents are encrypted so that no one can "eavesdrop" on this information as it passes between LuxSci's servers and your computer or device. Secure IMAP services are a standard part of all email hosting plans.

LuxSci provides multiple ports for IMAP connections to help our users with difficulty connecting to our servers due to firewalls blocking the usual ports. In addition to the standard ports, LuxSci also offers port 2993 and 443 for secure IMAP access. So, most users should be able to make secure IMAP connections no matter what kind of firewall they are behind (assuming they are entitled to make IMAP connections to LuxSci).

LuxSci's WebMail is fully IMAP-compatible. You can see all of your IMAP folders in WebMail and use WebMail concurrently with IMAP. Additionally, WebMail supports the IMAP-style "delete first then expunge later" cycle for message deletion.

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