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POP3, IMAP, SMTP: Different Email Server Types and How to Use Them to Setup Windows Mail

Email services all utilize one (or more) of the three standard email servers: POP3, IMAP, and SMTP. Each of these servers store and deliver emails in different ways. They are all used by Internet-based companies, like Gmail, Microsoft, AOL and Yahoo!, so customers can conveniently check their email from anywhere.

What is a POP3 server?

POP3 stands for Post Office Protocol 3. This kind of server works a lot like a post office box, it holds your mail there on the server until you check it. When you check your email, your messages are downloaded from the server to your computer. Usually your messages will be deleted off of the server once you download them by checking your mail. This is probably the most common type of server used by personal email accounts.

What is an IMAP server?

IMAP stands for Internet Message Access Protocol. This is traditionally more of a business-oriented mail server. With an IMAP server, you have access to your messages without downloading them first. You can organize, preview, and even delete messages directly on the server. Copies of your emails are stored on the server until you delete them, even if you download the messages to your computer.

What is an SMTP server?

SMTP stands for Simple Mail Transfer Protocol. This kind of server only handles outgoing email messages. It works in conjunction with either a POP3 or an IMAP server by sending out any and all outgoing mail while the other server handles the incoming mail.

Why do I need to know this?

If you ever need to set up one common email account (Windows Live, Outlook) that will check and download emails from multiple accounts, you’ll need to know what type of servers are used for incoming and outgoing mail on each account.


An integrated part of Windows Live Essentials, Windows Mail allows you one-stop access for all of your email accounts. This localized email program can integrate Hotmail, AOL Mail, Yahoo! Mail, Gmail, etc. into one convenient location on your PC.

Each email address belongs to a separate folder in your Windows Mail Inbox, allowing you to keep your emails organized while still accessing them from one place.

What Do I Need to Set Up My Account?

For each email account you want to add to your Windows Mail, collect the following information.

1. The email address and password.

2. The type of email server your account uses: POP3, IMAP, SMTP.

3. The incoming and outgoing addresses of your email servers. Server addresses for some of the more popular email services are as follows:

a. Gmail Incoming:, Gmail Outgoing:

b. Yahoo! Incoming:, Yahoo! Outgoing:

c. AOL Incoming:, AOL Outgoing:

4. Whether or not your outgoing email server requires authentication.

Setting up Your Windows Mail Account

1. Click on your Start button and then All Programs.

2. Find Windows Mail and click on it.

3. Under your Windows Mail Tools menu, click on Accounts.

4. Click Add.

5. Click on Email Account and then click Next. Just follow the instructions for filling in the necessary info about that particular account.

6. Repeat the process for each additional email account you wish to set up.

Now you’re all set to start accessing all your email accounts from one program and cross off Simplify Life from today’s To Do list.

Article Source Link by Julie Dreese