There are three main protocols when it comes to the hosting, collection and sending of your emails; POP3. IMAP and Hosted exchange. So what’s the difference and what are the pros and cons?


Most hosting providers offer the free to use POP3 / IMAP service delivering a standard sized mailbox that can process the sending and receiving of mail across a shared server. The standard POP3 / IMAP solutions offered generally offer no Service Level Agreements and they are not sold as a business grade service.

The basic difference between the two is that the POP3 service downloads emails to a single device whereas IMAP keeps emails on the server allowing you to view mail across multiple devices.

Pros – Free with website hosting
Cons – No service level agreements, less reliable, small mailbox size, limited features

Hosted exchange

Hosted Exchange is different, it’s is purpose built to be a business grade solution, bringing guaranteed SLA’s in uptime and access within an controlled environment. The additional features over POP3 /IMAP are as follows:

> Company-wide contact lists
> Tasks and task allocation
> Company-wide shared calendars
> Public folders
> Distribution groups
> Large mailbox sizes (50GB mailbox per user)
> Inclusive Anti-Spam and Anti-Virus protection
> Inclusive Active-Sync for your smartphone and tablets
> Secure access from anywhere using Outlook and Outlook Web Access
> Fast mailbox sync with desktop, web, smartphones and tablets
> SECURE: TLS/SSL encryption available on all inbound and outbound email traffic

One of the main benefits of the additional features is that they are all managed within the same product so you’re no longer using different products for calendars, tasks and shared address lists. Public folders are great for sharing documents with colleagues and can become part of your data archiving practices. Content synchronisation comes as standard so activity on one device will be recognised when moving to another device. Emails that arrive at the Exchange server are pushed to your device rather than traditionally following a set schedule.

Access to your information including mail, calendars and other features is available across many devices including desktop, tablet and mobile, empowering true location-free on-the-move communication management.

Pros – Ability to open and share communication in a managed, secure environment across different devices backed by Service Level Agreements.
Cons – Cost is generally more than IMAP/POP3 solutions

If you would you like to talk more about improving your business communication contact us today and we will talk you through how easy it is to upgrade and manage your company’s email.

Written by. Matt Groom

Matt Groom