IMAP-Internet Message Access Protocol, Advantages, Disadvantages, History, 5 Characteristics

IMAP is an email protocol that allows any user to access a mail server’s e-mail from their personal computer. It allows you to view the data contained in any email and make some changes to it without downloading it.

It provides the facility to customize the mail server in different folders as per the requirement of the user.

IMAP-internet message access protocol

History of Internet Message Access Protocol

As you know, the Internet Message Access Protocol is an email protocol designed by Mark Crispin in 1986. It was designed with the aim of replacing the Post Office Protocol (POP).

This is because in POP the email had to be downloaded to your personal computer to be accessed, whereas in IMAP the email could be accessed online without downloading it, with many more versions being published later, IMAP4 being the most recent. edition, which was published in 1994.

Characteristics of IMAP

  • It is a client/server protocol, using which any user can easily access the information contained in the server.
  • It provides the facility to manage all the emails present in the email server as per your requirement.
  • This protocol uses port number 143 to communicate.
  • It is a connection oriented protocol, which means that before starting the process of exchanging all the information, it sends a request from the client’s computer to the server and checks that both the machines are ready for communication or No. If the two machines are ready to communicate, IMAP starts exchanging information.

Advantages of IMAP

  • It allows you to view and modify attachments in an email online without downloading them. After viewing the e-mail, if the user wants, he can also download it and keep it on his personal computer.
  • All information on a mail server is always online, so any information can be accessed repeatedly from different places.
  • This mailbox can be accessed from more than one computer, even from different locations.
  • All its information is stored (kept) in an online email server that works independently. That is, any problems occurring in the user’s personal computer have no effect on the email server.
  • It supports technologies like TLS/SSL protocols to exchange all information securely.
  • This mail-server provides the facility to organize the folders individually according to the requirement of the computer user.
  • It helps any user to be able to download, delete emails, make any changes in the emails and organize them in different folders on his computer.
  • It provides the facility to search all the emails and their download contents inside the mailbox.
  • It also supports regional language or non-English language.
  • With the use of this protocol, documents like audio files, videos, images, PDF files can also be easily sent and received to other users by attaching them in the mail.
  • This protocol is also compatible with different types of applications and new technologies, that is to say, it works without any problem on different technologies and platforms like smartphones, laptops, tablets, etc.

Disadvantages of IMAP

  • If the internet connection is lost while using your email, you will not be able to access IMAP mail.
  • If seen, this protocol downloads all the email information very slowly as compared to the SMTP protocol.
  • All its email and information is always present on the online mail server, even if any user downloads an email, a duplicate copy of it is always present on the webserver.
  • It is never deleted automatically, that is, if at some point the user’s password is found by someone else or if a hacker somehow reaches the server, then all the secret information of the user can be leaked.
  • This increases the overall cost of the server as a lot of old useless information is always stored in it.
  • The security risk of this protocol is always there.


As you must have understood that Internet Message Access Protocol is a modern email protocol, which removed the flaws of POP (Post Office Protocol).

This reduces the dependency of any user on the machine to access all the information in the email as earlier it was necessary to download the email to access it.

But later, through this protocol, such a simple technology was made available, in which the email system was changed, which could be viewed without downloading its contents, although it also has some flaws, that is why at present it is called SMTP protocol. has been replaced.

In this article, we have tried to understand the Internet Message Access Protocol, an email protocol used in computer networks. Internet Message Access Protocol is abbreviated as IMAP.

Hope you liked this article on Internet Message Access Protocol. If you have any suggestions or have any queries related to this article written on Internet Message Access Protocol, then do tell by writing in the comment box below.

Leave a Comment