POP3 stands for Post Office Protocol (version 3) and comprises of mailboxes for email systems so that a user can retrieve email from a central location where the email is stored. Depending on the type of hosting package preferred, most of the quality web-hosting providers offer their customers with POP3 accounts. With the POP3 accounts, users can have mailboxes on a server with their domain name. So if for example, you own a domain name (yourdomain.com); then you can receive and send emails through
. With POP3, users can access their mailboxes and download messages their computers in the most simple and standardized manner.
Most e-mail applications also known as an e-mail clients use the POP protocol, although some can use the newer IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol). The user needs to ensure that their domain is hosted on a server, which has nameservers in order to facilitate setting up of POP3 email accounts for their domains. Since POP3 allows a client computer to retrieve electronic mail from a POP3 server via a (temporary) TCP/IP or other connection, it does not provide for sending mail, which is assumed to be performed via SMTP or some other method.
The major features of POP3 and IMAP protocol include:
o Both handle mail access only. Sending of emails is handled by SMTP.
o Both Support persistent message identifiers for disconnected use.
o They have freely available implementations (including source) available.
o They rely on mail delivery to a, usually shared, “always up” mail server.
o They allow access to new mail from a variety of client platform types.
o They have client implementations available for PCs, Macs, and Unix.
o They have commercial implementations available.
o They allow access to new mail from anywhere on the network.
o Fully support the offline (download and delete) access model.
o They both are open protocols, defined by Internet RFCs.
o They both are native Internet protocols; no mail gateways required.
Once the user has understood what exactly are the functions of POP3 email accounts and its uses, he can choose a hosting package that offers POP3 email accounts with their respective support. It is equally advisable to first check with the web host whether these POP3 accounts are offered within the hosting package or come at an additional monthly cost. For most web masters, POP3 accounts are indispensable and therefore it becomes imperative to opt for a web hosting service that offers this feature. The company’s support needs to be of high quality as well in order to ensure smooth web hosting. Any kind of laxity or errors can cost you hundreds to millions of dollars, which is highly undesirable. Some hosting packages may include “unlimited POP3 accounts” or perhaps a set number of POP3 accounts. It is advisable therefore to first determine your requirement before selecting the hosting package with its corresponding POP3 account allowance. Lap up on ample knowledge and then select a package that would befit your website requirements.