Setting up POP/IMAP Mail Access

MailboxBefore we set up mails clients to download email, we need to know 2 important protocols (a set of rules). They are POP/IMAP and SMTP. POP stands for Post Office Protocol, IMAP for Internet Message Access Protocol and SMTP for Simple Mail Transfer Protocol. POP and IMAP are the protocols to retrieve messages from server and SMTP is the protocol to push messages to the server. Here, server is your Email provider (GMail/Yahoo!/Your ISP).

Difference between POP and IMAP

There isn’t much difference except for downloads and synchronization. In POP, your messages are downloaded to your PC through your mail client, but in IMAP, your messages are just synchronized. Your mail will not be downloaded until you click the mail/open it. The same, in the case of attachments. In POP, attachments are automatically downloaded (they are not executed though) and in SMTP, they are downloaded when you open the mail and choose to download. IMAP follows real-time synchronization and mails are synchronized in real-time with the Email server, but, in POP the mails are downloaded and removed from server. But, GMail allows you to Archive them, so you are safe ;) In IMAP, as mails are synchronized, they are deleted only when you delete them from your Mail Client, but they are not, in POP.

My personal recommendation would be POP access if you use GMail and I’ve been using it for years.

Examples used here are GMail (Email Provider) and Outlook 2007 (Microsoft Office). You can even use Outlook Express (or) Windows Mail (Vista) as they follow similar Configuration. Lets get started!

Enabling POP in GMail

You need to first enable POP Access in GMail. To do so,

  1. Login to GMail
  2. Click Settings on the top right corner
  3. Choose “Forwarding and POP/IMAP
  4. In the POP Download section, click “Enable POP only for mail that arrives from now on” if you do not wish to download older emails
  5. Choose to Archive Gmail’s Copy
  6. Click Save

POP Settings in GMail

You have now enabled POP Access. You’ll now have to configure your Mail Client.

Configuring Mail Client

  1. Open your Mail Client (Outlook/Outlook Express/Windows Mail)
  2. Click Tools -> Account Settings
  3. Click New/Add and enter your details – your name, email address.
  4. For Incoming Mail (POP3), enter | for IMAP, use
  5. For SMTP, enter
  6. Enter your username and password. Username should be your complete email address
  7. Click “My Outgoing Server requires Authentication“. This could be found in More Settings -> Outgoing Server Tab in Outlook
  8. Similarly, in the Advanced Tab in Account Properties, select (check mark) “This server requires Encrypted Connection – SSL” under Incoming Server (POP3). The port number in POP3 should automatically change to Port 995
  9. Similarly, select the same option for Outgoing Server. Use 587 as the SMTP Port. If you have a drop-down list box asking you the type of encrypted connection, choose TLS
  10. Click OK

Outlook - Advanced Tab while configuring GMail

Everything is now set up. Click Send/Receive to start downloading new messages. :) To compose a mail, click Create/New.

Why should you use POP Access?


  • Ease of Use!
  • you don’t have to visit the site every time to check mails. Mails get downloaded to your PC.
  • you don’t have to wait for the site to load (AJAX & Images). Obviously, you save time and data!
  • you can check your old mails offline, so you save loading time and data!
  • you can create mails and save them locally as drafts and continue editing anytime – offline!
  • you’ll have to turn on the Internet only while sending/receiving.

Have queries? Feel free to comment below.