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The POP3 e-mail accounts

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The POP3 e-mail accounts protocol

is the oldest Internet message access protocol. It was conceived to support offline/local email processing. Messages are sent to a mail server and periodically downloaded from the server to the user’s computer by a remote mail client. 

Once sent, messages are deleted from the mail server, although users can configure their email client to leave a copy of the message on the server.

To send and receive messages, POP3 mail accounts require an e-mail client. Some common e-mail clients are Netscape Messenger, Outlook Express, Mozilla Thunderbird and OSX mail, among others.

When you check your email using an email client, it establishes a connection with your mail server and downloads your emails to your computer. Remember that POP3 only handles mail access (or mail retrieval). SMTP handles the sending of email.

Advantages of POP3:

▸ All messages are downloaded to your computer. You can read your messages without having to connect to the Internet.
▸ Opening attachments is easy and fast, as the file has already been downloaded to your computer.
▸ It allows you to free up storage space on your mail server, and there is no maximum size for your mailbox (except as determined by the size of your hard disk).

Disadvantages of POP3:

▸ Opening attachments is easy and fast, sometimes too easy and too fast if the attachment contains a virus.
▸ Messages are downloaded to the accessing e-mail client/computer. This implies that the user will have to return to the same computer to access the messages.