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The difference between POP3 and Exchange

Microsoft ExchangeI have been asked many times by customers “What type of email account do I have”, and why would I want to upgrade from a POP account to Microsoft Exchange?  Let me explain some of the differences of each technology and the benefits of each.

POP/IMAP accounts are inexpensive and abundantly available.  These accounts are often given away for free (or bundled with) website hosting packages and internet bundles.  For example, Comcast gives its residential customers 7 free POP/IMAP mailboxes with their service.

When using an email client like Outlook or Eudora, email is downloaded from the email server to the local client.  By default, the email messages are then removed from the email server leaving the only copy in the email client.  Any contacts, calendar items, or inbox folders created are generally stored ONLY on the local client software, and not on the email server.  Since data is not stored on the server (with few exceptions to this rule), it is important to backup your email data from your client periodically.

Microsoft Exchange is an enterprise email solution recently made available to individuals and small business via programs such as BPOS and Office 365.  Though Microsoft Exchange is much more expensive than POP/IMAP, there are many benefits to using Exchange.  For one, all data is stored in the Exchange mailbox on the email server.  This means you can use Outlook on several PCs and have access to 100% of your data.  Through the use of ActiveSync your inbox, contacts, and calendar can also be synchronized over the air to many smartphone platforms including iPhone, Android, and Windows Phone devices, sometimes at no additional cost.  Outlook Web Access (OWA) is a web based version of Outlook which provides much of the functionality of the full version of Outlook including advanced features like Out of Office assistant, spell check, and email handling rules (to name just a few).  Since Exchange is an enterprise solution, there are also enterprise level functions available such as the ability to hold mail for litigation, add a disclaimer to all outbound email, archive a copy of all email for retention purposes, and even encrypt outgoing messages for added security.

I tend to recommend the functionality of Exchange to everyone, even consumers.  Since the cost can be prohibitive to consumers I do want to mention that many of the benefits of Exchange can also be provided by the combination of Outlook 2010 and a free Microsoft Hotmail account (using the free Hotmail connector for Outlook 2010).

About the author

Robert Borges

About Robert...

I have been in the IT industry since 1993 focusing mainly in networking. Though I got an early start as an amateur computer enthusiast, and wrote my first database app at age 12, I started my professional career working in the MIS department of one of the largest liquor distributors in the northeast. I started out there as a systems operator on the company’s two mainframe systems. From there I moved into PC support, and help design and implement the company’s first client-server network… This was back in the days of Win NT 3.51. I also worked on my first migration to NT 4.0 back then.

From there I went on to work with Novell 3.x and 4.x along with Windows domains and active directory environments. Working my way up from technician, to specialist, to administrator, and eventually all the way up to Sr. Engineer. I spent many years working for consulting firms, 9 of which I owned and operated my own firm.
Over the years, I have worked with (at an expert level) various versions of: Windows client and server operating systems (including Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2);various virtualization technologies (Hyper-V, Virtual Server, Virtual PC, VMware, etc…); MS-SQL server 6.5- 2008 R2; Exchange 4-2010, and much more.

I am now Director of Information Systems at Bay State Integrated Technology focusing on cloud computing and IT service, with expertise in: IT Infrastructure & Architecture, IT Security, and Cloud Computing platforms & technologies (SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS).

I am in a constant state of learning about new products, and new versions of products. Many of which we end up implementing in lab environments and sometimes for our clients. I have a pretty broad range of expertise and experience. It is my goal to share some of this experience on this blog to help enrich the IT community.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.robertborges.us/2012/10/cloud-computing/the-difference-between-pop3-and-exchange/

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