IMAP vs. SMTP: What’s the Difference?

What Is Internet Message Access Protocol?

IMAP stands for Internet Message Access Protocol and is an application layer protocol that acts as a contract for receiving an email from a mail server. IMAP was created as a remote management mailbox protocol, and the newest release is IMAP4. This is the most often used technology for email retrieval. Interactive mail access protocol, Interim mail access protocol and Internet mail access protocol are all terms for the same thing.

What Is Simple Mail Transfer Protocol?

SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) is an email-based protocol for transmitting communications files from one device to another. The communication protocols between both servers are developed through SMTP. It allows a variety of communication channels, including transmitting messages to several customers, transmitting video and audio and so on. It responds to an error code and has the capacity to handle errors.

Features of SMTP

IMAP has the following features:


● Handles many mailboxes and organize them into different categories
● Allows users to add message labels to keep records of which messages have been viewed
● Chooses whether or not to download an email from a mail server before retrieving it
● Makes it simple to download media when many files are attached

Features of IMAP

SMTP has the following features:


● Commonly used for “Mail Relaying,” which involves routing email through one SMTP server to another in order to reach its target.
● Allows you to check for mistakes in messages and take action in response to them.
● Stipulates certain criteria for mail forwarding, including the user’s ability to change his or her email address.
● SMTP servers offer characteristics that allow them to be used as an email gateway.

Major Difference Between IMAP and SMTP

The fundamental distinction between SMTP and IMAP is that they perform different purposes. IMAP is for handling and recovering messages, whereas SMTP is exclusively for sending emails. For IMAP, the port number is 143 and for secure connections (SSL/TSL connections) the port number is 993. For secure connections, the port numbers for SMTP are 25, 465 and 587. (TSL encrypted).

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