IMAP stands for Internet Message Access Protocol. It is a method of accessing email on a mail server; it is a mail access protocol. It means when the user wants to access a mail from the server; IMAP protocol is used. IMAP is more powerful and complex as compared to the POP3 protocol. It also offers several advantages over POP3, including the ability to manage email in folders on and off the email server. IMAP allows user to store their emails on the remote server. IMAP is a protocol that is compatible with different types of applications and new technologies. It can work without any problem on different platforms like smartphones, laptops, tablets, etc.
How do IMAP works?
Whenever a client wants to access the remote server at that time TCP connection is required. If there is no TCP connection, then a DCP connection is established between the client and the remote server.
After the establishment of a TCP connection, there are two possibilities. One is the client not authenticated, and another one is a client is pre-authenticated. If a client is pre-authenticated, it means a client can log in. It is a connection-oriented protocol, which means that before starting the process of exchanging all the information, the client computer has to send a request to the server and check that both the machines are ready for communication or not. When both the machines are ready to communicate, IMAP starts exchanging information.
What are the Features of an IMAP protocol
- It leaves messages on the server after reading them; so that they can access the messages again from any other location.
- It allows users to modify and view attachments in an email online without downloading them. After viewing an email, if the user wants, he can also download it on his personal computer.
- We are able to download, edit, and delete any emails in the mailbox and organize them in different folders on our computer.
- We can search all the emails and their download contents inside the mailbox.
- It allows users to Access multiple folders, including public folders.
- Create hierarchies of folders for storing messages.
- Users can search a mailbox for any specific message to download.
- Can read flag messages.
- Users can also download only the selected portions of messages or attachments.
- Users can Review the headers of messages before downloading them.
- Users can easily access the information contained on the server.
- All information on a mail server is always online, so; we can access any information repeatedly from different places.
- We can access our mailbox from more than one computer.
As it is now understood, Internet Message Access Protocol is a modern email protocol, which removed the flaws of Pop3. It reduces the dependency of any user on the machine to access all the information in the email as earlier it was necessary to download the email to access it.