The POP3 IMAP dilemma

rediffmail imap pop3 dilemma

Postal Service for sending and receiving mails

Until a decade and a half ago, the post office, the letter box and the postman were an integral part of our communication needs. One would eagerly wait for the sight of a postman carrying your letters in his tiny sack. In today’s world, email has taken over the good old postal mail.

Ever wondered how the postal service would manage picking and delivering your letters? Well in a nutshell, they followed a protocol –

  1. Postal vans would collect all types of mails from post boxes and deliver them to certain delivery offices.
  2. The offices used to sort mails according to their destination addresses or pin codes and ship them to the respective destination post office.
  3. At the destination, the mails would be sorted based on local addresses and delivered to the right person.

Digital Age of Email

While email has digitized the entire message exchange process, the concept of protocols for exchanging and delivering messages still exists. At the centre of the email ecosystem is the SMTP protocol, which is uses to send your email messages from your phones/computers to your email server.

SMTP is also used by the email server to send your message to the mailbox of your recipient’s email server. From there, the recipient’s email client can fetch your email message using either the Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP) or Post Office Protocol (POP) and put it in their inbox, where they can read it.

Much like the postal department worked behind the scenes and used its own protocols to deliver mails, email protocols such as SMTP, IMAP and POP3 work hard behind the scene and transport mails from desk to desk.

Email configuartion

Most email clients can be configured to fetch mails using either POP3 or IMAP. The configuration is a series of steps which involves keying in your email servers address, port number and your account’s user name and password. The POP3 and IMAP setting for Rediffmail Enterprise are as follows:









If you have the choice of either POP3 or IMAP, which one should you go for? In order to make a choice, let us look at what each one of them really does.


POP3 works by establishing a connection between the email client (like Outlook, Thunderbird, Apple Mail, etc) and the POP3 mail server. It then downloads the email messages to the client device, and finally terminates the connection. Usually, the downloaded emails are deleted from the email server.

POP3 can also be configured to keep a copy on the email server. If the user chooses to delete downloaded messages, then the only copy of the emails are on the user’s device. This can be risky if the user’s device malfunctions or is unavailable when needed. Hence many organisations now prefer Web Mail over Desktop Mail.

Since emails are stored locally after they have been downloaded from the server, they can be viewed and edited offline, without requiring a permanent internet connection.


IMAP also establishes a connection between the email server and client, but unlike POP3, it maintains this connection throughout the user’s session, not just when emails are downloaded.

With IMAP, all messages stay saved on the server after being downloaded by the email client, until the user decides to manually delete them. All changes done to the messages on a particular device like change of state from unread to read, copying/moving email messages to personal folders, flagging messages as important, etc are relayed back to the email server.

Any other device connecting to the email server to download messages also gets the email’s last changed state. This means that multiple devices can connect to the same IMAP mailbox, and all have the same access to the same email messages on the server. Like POP3, emails downloaded using IMAP on the user’s device can be viewed and edited offline. Any change in state of the email while offline is relayed to the server when the email client next connects to the email server.

It’s worth noting that IMAP does not always store the entire email locally by default.

Some clients will keep a few weeks’ worth of email to be accessed offline, but these may be stripped of any images and attachments.

With IMAP, there is the risk of being stuck without a connection and no way to access previously downloaded emails.

POP3 makes sense for individuals who access their email from a single machine, whereas IMAP is for those who use multiple devices to access email and desire to have a consistent view of the mailbox across all devices. POP3 is the simpler of the two protocols, and because POP3 routinely deletes mail from the server, it’s generally less of a burden on server resources. Users who are conscious about their mailbox size should choose POP3 over IMAP.

However with storage costs coming down, connectivity ever improving and the benefits of cloud computing, users can choose IMAP over POP3.

IMAP takes the cake with its capability to push new emails to the email clients. If a POP3 client has to automatically make all new mails available, it has to keep polling the email server at regular intervals. Frequent polling is an inefficient use of network and the device’s resources, increasing the cost to the user.  Also, with polling, new mail notifications are only as frequent at the polling frequency, and not ‘immediate’. Overall, polling is a poor solution for a user needing immediate notification of new emails.

IMAP : IDLE Command

The IMAP protocol supports a command called IDLE.  An IMAP server provides two things in response to a client’s IDLE command:

  1. An answer to the request.
  2. Information on any new messages.

This means that where an email client is actively doing things with an IMAP server, it will be notified immediately about new emails. The email client can then get summary information on the message to present to the user, and can automatically download the email message when appropriate.

The basic network use of the IDLE command is very small, and so it makes very efficient use of bandwidth.

Secure, Cloud based Enterprise Email Solution for Businesses and Professionals from the popular Rediffmail service

Is your Business email Spoof-protected?

Email Spoofing complaints are on rise & common methods adopted by scamsters is to send an email to your users from an anonymous proxy using your own domain.

How Email Spoofing is Identified?

Rediff Entperise Mailing make best efforts to track and block such attempts of spoofing through DKIM. All mails sent using Rediff SMTP are signed using DKIM technique If the mail is intended for internal (same domain) users, then DKIM signature can be verified on receipt & delivered in inbox. Mail failing to verify will be considered as SPOOF

DKIM primarily is useful in identifying spoof of same domain mails as it verifies mails sent by Rediff SMTP However there is a possibility some mails are sent using SMTP of other Service provider. For instance, Your domain is used to send some mails using third party system(SMTP) like Payroll, CRM, Email Marketing, etc. Such emails may not be signed using DKIM.

This could create a problem as Legit Mails will be identified as SPOOF, to avoid same SPF record must be added in your DNS wherein if IP address of such systems will be mentioned. We will check the IP from which the mail is sent & once verified we can be sure that the mail is not spoofed.

What is SPF?

SPF (Sender Policy Framework) is a system to help domain owners specify the IP addresses of servers which are authorized to send mail from their domain. The objective is that your recipient’s mail systems can check to make sure that the server sending email from that domain is authorized to do so. This helps in reducing the chances of email spoofing. Mail servers that accept emails do a SPF check by looking up the SPF record of the sender.

How to add SPF record?

SPF record is a Domain Name Service (DNS) TXT record that specifies which mail servers are permitted to send email on behalf of your domain. SPF is added the same way as a regular A, MX, or CNAME record.

If you do not use any third party system to send emails from your domain, then your SPF record should be as follows:


If you use any 3rd party system to send emails from your domain, then SPF record should also include the IP or subnet of the machine sending those mails as follows:

“v=spf1 ip4: -all”

The IP or subnet will be shared by your other service provider & same is to be included with our SPF records as explained above. This will help to identify legit mails & not categorize them as SPOOF

DMARC builds on two existing and widely deployed email authentication techniques, the Sender Policy Framework (SPF) and DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM).

We recommend implementing DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance) that uses SPF and DKIM to determine the authenticity of an email message.

Your DMARC record is published alongside your DNS records including:

  • SPF
  • DKIM
  • A-record

Domain Registration: What and How

What makes your business unique?

The services and products you offer, your personal touch with the clients and much more. One amongst this list is the name of your organization.

In the virtual world, too, you need a few things to set your business apart and one of this is having an online identity in the form of a website, which is exclusive to your organization.

Just like the name of the commercial setup, you need to have a matching name for your website. This is known as the domain name.

Visit Rediff’s domain registration page and run a search to find names relating to your line of work and the Web extension, which is applicable to your business like .com, .in, .net, .info, etc. More often than not, organizations find their desired domain in at least one of the extensions provided. Then, you may opt for cheap domain registration from our site.

If you do not find your desired name in any of the given extensions, you may modify your business name, add or shorten words, add a hyphen, or choose a name that highlights your generic product or service.

Once you finalize on a name, we offer you cheap domain registration in India.

Browse our site now and select your desired domain name at rock-bottom rates.

Ways to keep Your Website Up-to-date, All by Yourself!

Sometime this year, the word ‘digital’ will get knocked off from the term ‘digital marketing’. It’s not just a fashionable term for corporate bigwigs and consultants to drop at conferences in five star hotels anymore. It’s an integral part of marketing. For starters, if you run a cake shop in suburban Mumbai, it’s coming sooner than you expect to your 250 square feet outlet. And if creating a website is just another item on your list of tasks to grow your business, think again. It’s not enough to buy a domain and get a web developer to make a flashy website for you.

In 2013, your website is already the most important source for potential customers to find out about your products and services, the one thing that makes you stand-out from competition and what new you have to offer. Incidentally, using the internet is the most efficient channel to acquire new customers and to retain existing ones. To make the most of your online efforts, it’s prudent that you keep your website up-to-date. I will tell you how to do this, without breaking the bank.

The first question that hits you is ‘what do I write?’ Visitors to your website come looking for information about what you have to offer. Like you would put up a grand display of freshly baked cakes on the shop shelf, you need to put up updated information on your website.

Start with a short description of your business and that unique advantage that is at the heart of it. e.g. You could be making plum cakes made from grape wine, made in-house using a 100 year old recipe that has been handed down from your great grand-mother to your mother and to you.

Alternately you can write on the challenges faced by bakers in getting the right flavor using different ingredients. Think of as many things to write about your business and the industry – in this case, plum cakes made of wine. You can put up articles on different types of cakes, which includes information on plum cake made from wine. You could even add articles on various topping that go with these cakes and ways to decorate them using sugar and cherries.

If writing an article challenges you, get a professional copy writer to do that for your business.

Videos and pictures:
When it comes to engaging your audiences, videos and pictures do a great job. Intersperse the text with beautiful images. Don’t feel shy to click pictures of the yummy cake you baked today. Use that 4 megapixel camera in your hand phone if you like. And most importantly, don’t forget to tag the images while uploading to your website. Tagging is nothing but labeling the picture with words that your customers would search for. Eg. Plum cake, cherries, wine etc.

You might even want to shoot a 3 minute video of your baking area, showcasing the special equipment you use. This will thrill your users, especially female customers who would like to see what appliances you use. Also, it’s a great way of showing how hygienic and well maintained your kitchen is. You can also shoot a 1 minute video on how to make topping cream from sugar. Now, that’s not giving away anything from your skills, but it will make sure that the viewers will come back to your website, often to see what more you have to tell.

Add Links from other sites:
Next you might ask ‘What more can I do?’ The answer is simple. Copy. Yes, simply copy links to interesting articles, related to the subject, from other websites that you think are credible. You can add a small paragraph with your views on the article. These links could also be regarding what’s in the news related to your field. This is the easiest content to find on a regular basis. You could create a separate section titled ‘Latest news’. Same goes for related videos from other video websites that you can embed on your site.

Press articles:
If your business has been in the news for some good reason, it’s time to put up the press coverage from known publications on your site. It will only help grow the popularity of your business.

You know that the holiday season is around the corner and there are festivals coming up. You can create special offers for these occasions and announce them on your website. Over time, you can get your customers to subscribe to these offers on a regular basis. While choosing a website template, ensure that it includes this functionality.

Social Media sharing tools:
It’s always good to allow users to share your content with their social circles on multiple social networking sites and micro blogging sites such as Facebook , Twitter, Rediff’s Zarabol and MyPage and among others. It only helps spread the word about your brand at absolutely no cost. Make sure website template provides these tools. If you are actively blogging on micro-blogging sites like Twitter, you can embed the same on your website.

Email address and contact:
Finally, you need to have a prominent email address and contact number apart from physical address on your website. Remember that a professional sounding email address, i.e. an email address that uses your business name, lends a great deal of credibility eg. or

Please avoid using a free webmail address. If you are using one, you might want to check out affordable email solutions from internet portals like Rediff, Google and Yahoo.

Website accessible across devices:
You might have noticed your customers walking into your outlets with fancy smartphones and tablets in their hands. Yes, you got it right. They are using the internet on these mobile devices and your site needs to appear just the same on these devices as it does on the personal computer. So get a website template such that your site works the same across devices.

So it’s all about choosing the right website template which you can manage on your own. Getting a web developer to make a website for you can cost a bomb. And yet, you may end up with a flashy website that you are not able to make any changes to.

Where will you find a good website solution? If you look around, you may find many alternatives. There is the generic Word Press blogging platform. However you will have to find a web host and buy a domain name separately. Linking it is another task and you might need some help with it. Then there’s Google’s India Get Your Business Online service. However, the service is free for the first year, post which you have to pay for it. Recently has launched Rediffmail PRO which is a business email solution that provides business email ids on your own domain for as little as Rs.799 per year, and you get a free domain, a free website and a mobile application for checking the mail online. There are also other options like GoDaddy and Net4. You could check out all these options and select the one that suits you the best. When you have created the website, do drop me a line. I would love to hear about your business.