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IMAP Mail Server Hosting

IMAP is an alternative to the ancient POP3 email system.

IMAP is different to POP3, in that your messages and mail folders are permanently stored on the server, like with gmail(tm) or hotmail(tm).

This is a cheap alternative to a Microsoft Exchange mail server or other collaborative tools, that protects your important email against destruction and lets you share mailboxes. Multiple people in your team can reply to the same email address (eg: sales, support, accounts), and this is reflected on everyone else's computers.

How will this help me?

  • Eliminate the danger of losing _all_ of your email due to a crashed hard-disk or broken notebook computer
  • Eliminate the need to back up your email from your PC
  • Increase productivity and decrease costs by sharing mailboxes

Is there any impact to my clients, people sending me mail or people I send mail to?

  • No, your mail is just kept on the server (as well as on your PC) and you collect it slightly differently
  • There is no impact to your mail address, received or sent emails

How does it work?

  • For sending and receiving email, IMAP is pretty much the same as normal POP3 email. You can still use Outlook, FireBird or your favourite email software.
  • When you first connect to your IMAP email account, you will notice a list of folders from the server appear in your mail client. These are synchronized with the server each time you collect your email.

Advantages over POP3

  • Synchronisation and WebMail. A copy of all mail folders reside on the mail server itself, so you can check your email from a WebMail system, your home PC, office PC, or your notebook computer. When you send an email, your mail folders are synchronized with the mail server, so the new email appears in the Sent Items of all your machines.
  • Mailbox Sharing. For example, a sales@yourdomain.com mailbox can be accessed by the entire sales team of your office. When someone replies to a customer, the message is marked as Reply-Sent in everyone's email software. When a message is sent, it appears in the Sent Items folder for all users of the mailbox.
  • Data Protection. A copy of all mail folders reside on the mail server, so loss or corruption of your local hard disk or computer does not effect your email storage. Additionally, our servers are backed up and protected with RAID drives and other backup systems, further protecting your email from accidents.

Disadvantages

  • Storage Costs. Mail is stored on the server, so server-side storage space is required for each mailbox. This can be more expensive than simply downloading your new POP3 email to your local hard disk, as hosting costs are also involved. Depending on the size of the mail storage available, it might only be possible to store 1-3 years worth of email.
  • Learning Curve. It takes a little getting used to IMAP mail (a day or two). However, the benefits far outweigh this learning time.

Which mail software can I use?

These days, most desktop mail software supports IMAP as well as POP3. The following mail clients are what most users use:
  • Outlook / Outlook Express
  • Evolution
  • FireBird
  • Eudora
  • IMAP WebMail using RoundCube, provided with each IMAP email account

How much space do I need?

  • For most users, 1gb is around 1 year worth of email.
  • If you have a lot of large attachments (high-res photos etc..), you can save space by deleting those emails after saving the attachment. This makes a big difference because a normal email might be 10k, but an email full of large photos might be 10mb so it takes the same space as 1000 normal emails.

How much does it cost?

  • Each mailbox costs $1/month per 1gb of storage
  • Your first 2 x 1gb IMAP mailstores are included free of charge on any plan

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