Understanding Email

Email issues can be infuriating as one of my clients and I experienced this week.   Understanding email terminology and the various options will help you make better choices about what type email account you need.

Here’s a good explanation of how POP3 differs from IMAP.

I also like this diagram of how email is really sent:

Finally, here are instructions on how to force Outlook to download mail (when using IMAP).
I highly recommend doing that if you use IMAP.  If you’re like me, you get some of your bills via email and you don’t want to be dependent on the internet being up in order to do at least some business.  

There is a third option, in addition to IMAP and POP, and that’s Microsoft Exchange Server (or other brands that do the same thing).   This is what most businesses (not home-based) use.   It was designed to enable easy, secure, backed-up, communications between employees.   

For most of my clients, that would be overkill, but if you are interested, we do offer a Microsoft Exchange Server Email plan.  

Finally, a couple of things I’ve said time and again and will repeat here: 

  • Do not rely on webmail, where you login via your browser, to read/send/organize email.  Mailservers are not routinely backed up unless you are on an IMAP or Exchange Server plan and even then, I don’t recommend putting all one’s eggs into someone else’s basket.
  • Always have important documents sent to the most secure email account you have.  That is normally the one your ISP gives you, such as janedoe@austin.rr.com
  • When you register a domain name or renew one, use your ISP email address as the contact email.   Do not use an email address associated with your website.  If you somehow forget to renew your domain, it’s much easier to reinstate if you have an email address on file with the registrar that isn’t dependent on the website.   In other words, if trulytexan.com expired for whatever reason and my contact email with the registrar was janedoe@trulytexan.com, I wouldn’t receive the notices that the domain had expired.

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