Re: POP is unwise [was: Being Unsubscribed for Marking Messages as Spam #adminnotice]


On Thu, Feb 28, 2019 at 09:35 AM, Antony Stone wrote:
What is unwise about using POP these days?
1. If you only access your e-mail from one, and only one, device, and wish to be responsible for backing up all the messages that exist only on your device after download, and you wish to be responsible for trying to port a huge number of messages from one e-mail client to another should you choose to change clients then there is nothing unwise about POP.

2.  If you're like most users these days, and you have every intention of accessing your e-mail messages on multiple devices while having what each "sees" remain in sync, then POP as conventionally configured does a horrible job of supporting that while IMAP is designed to support that from the get-go.

3. IMAP messages and all folders associated with same are retained on the e-mail server and, as a result, are part of the data center's daily (if not more frequent) backup protocol.  The probability of ever losing something permanently is exceedingly small.  By contrast, I have seen POP users lose years worth of downloaded messages on several occasions when they were not backing up their own computers and their hard drives failed catastrophically.

The fact of the matter is that POP (Post Office Protocol) was the first e-mail protocol and really is an anachronism that remains supported in the name of backward compatibility.   It's shortcomings are myriad, and particularly when you want e-mail synchronization and portability from device to device to device over time to be almost effortless (you only have to set up the account again if you're using IMAP and - poof, like magic - all of your messages and folders appear).

IMAP is also more space efficient on your own device, because only message headers are downloaded for presentation in the message list in folders, with the exception of the most recent messages, which will often have message bodies downloaded in advance as well for some time period back from today (say, 2 weeks - it's configurable) because the probability of actual accessing of newer messages is far, far higher than old ones.   You can also specify specific messages to retain their local message bodies permanently if you know you make very frequent reference to them so they'll be available even if you're offline.

For the way most people use e-mail these days, including the bulk of folks here, as many describe having computer(s) and smartphone(s) on which they wish to get their e-mail, using the access method suited to it, and that protects the actual message data the best, is what's wisest.  If your e-mail service provides IMAP access, well . . .

If you fit the profile I noted in #1 above then nothing that follows it is relevant to you.  I find it improbable that everything in #1 above applies to practically anyone these days.

[And, before anyone jumps in with, "But you can configure POP to leave messages on the server!," well, yes, you can, but you have to make the effort to do that in the vast majority of cases, and many would have absolutely no idea of how to do so.  Why use an antiquated protocol that must be rigged when a better alternative exists?]

Brian - Windows 10 Home, 64-Bit, Version 1809, Build 17763  

A great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is deep.

          ~ Saul Bellow, To Jerusalem and Back



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