The Post Office Protocol

POP3 and IMAP are the two protocols used most to access Internet mail. Both were designed to allow a user to access mail drops on remote machines, and provide methods to list the contents of the user's mailbox, to download mail for viewing, and to delete messages the user is no longer interested in.

POP3 (Post Office Protocol version 3) is the older and simpler of the two. Described in RFC 1725 and STD 53, it provides a straightforward interface for listing, retrieving, and deleting mail held on a remote server. IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol), described in RFC 2060, adds sophisticated facilities for managing sets of remote and local mailboxes and synchronizing them when the user connects.

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