Types of email accounts

When you need to set up an email account for business, you face several options. The goal is to create a flexible account that can handle the volume of work you are planning to do. No matter how small your company is, the number of emails you are likely to be sending out can be substantial.

From email marketing messages to transactional emails, you may be creating dozens of messages per day. You want your email account to cater to your business needs, provide simple access and ensure the security of your messages.

Let’s take a look at three different types of email accounts you can consider for your business.


POP stands for Post Office Protocol. With a POP account, the email you receive is downloaded from your Internet Service Provider (ISP) to your local computer. Then it’s generally deleted from the server. When you manage your email from this account, all the work you do stays on your computer. In case something happens to the messages, you can’t recover them from the email service provider.

While you can access your email from different computers, the downloaded messages won’t be available when you check your email from another. In short, you can download the message once. As soon as it’s downloaded, it’s not available online anymore.

Benefits of Using a POP3 Email Account

  • Offline access – you download your message to your computer and store it there. It means you can access email messages and work with them offline. This can be an advantage when there are issues with the internet connection.
  • Quick attachment access – since you automatically download all attachments when you read the message, you can easily access all files upon demand without logging on or accessing your email client.
  • Easy to use – this email type has been around since 1984. These email accounts are easy to set up and very easy to use. They are also very popular.

 Downsides of using a POP3 Email Account

  • Limited access – once you download an email message to your computer, you can’t access it on an online email server. This means that if you need to find information in your emails, you can’t do it remotely.
  • Limited storage capacity – the storage capacity of emails is limited by how big the hard drive is. You need to find sufficient space on your local computer to store all emails with attachments. When you are creating an email marketing campaign, you may need plenty of storage space.
  • Security issues – since all your emails are stored on one computer, if something goes wrong, all of them can be exposed or lost. Even if you have high-quality safety measures in place, it’s possible to lose the entire mailbox at once due to a disaster or a cyber-attack.

Even though the POP email type is almost 40 years old, it remains highly popular among business owners. While it lacks flexibility and remote access, the POP3 protocol is highly functional and easy to use. This standard protocol is available for such popular email products as Outlook Express and Eudora.


The next service is IMAP, which stands for Internet Message Access Protocol. IMAP email services store messages on an email server. You can access them from multiple devices anytime and anywhere. You are accessing a remote email service through a local client.

Additionally, different people can access the message from different locations. It’s an important advantage if you plan to make the email address available to several staff members. Mail remains on the server for later access until you delete it permanently.

Benefits of Using an IMAP Email Account

  • Easy to access – no licensing is required to set up and use an email address through an IMAP mail account.
  • Multiple support – IMAP email accounts are supported by the majority of available devices so you can check your email from desktop computers, laptops, tablets, smartphones, etc.
  • Remote access – all messages remain on the server until you decide to delete them permanently. You don’t need to download mail to your device in order to view it. You also don’t need to download attachments if you don’t plan to use them.
  • Organization – you can organize the inbox according to your needs, add folders, sort out messages, mark them when necessary, and more. You can also use a search feature to find the necessary messages.
  • Flexibility – you can switch between webmail and a mail client at any time without losing messages or having to download any to your devices.
  • Backup – in case one of your devices crashes and messages disappear, you can still access them via another device.

Disadvantages of Using an IMAP Email Account

  • Limited inbox space – you have to delete your messages every once in a while, otherwise, you won’t be able to receive more emails. The email service provider only offers a certain amount of space for each email address. 
  • Online access – if you don’t have access to the internet, you can’t access new messages or interact with old ones. Some email clients may offer special settings so you can work with old messages, but not all of them do.
  • Organization issues – when you create folders, they may appear slightly askew since they are created on the server instead of your computer. You may notice this issue when accessing emails from different devices.
  • Speed – it can take some time to access an IMAP email account because the provider needs to synchronize all folders each time there is send and receive activity.

Overall, IMAP is a highly flexible, easy-to-use account. If you have several users taking advantage of multiple email addresses, you may consider taking advantage of IMAP instead of POP3.

By providing access to messages anytime and anywhere, IMAP email accounts can help employees check different types of emails when on the go without disturbing the information on the servers.

Microsoft Exchange

Microsoft Exchange is one of the popular email clients. The platform was developed specifically by Microsoft. To use it for your email purposes, you need to purchase user or server licenses. Initially, the product was developed for enterprise-level users. It offers IMAP functionality but adds many useful features that simplify employee collaboration within the company.  

These features include shared address books, shared file storage, and simple integration with other products created by Microsoft like Office.

To cater to small and medium-sized companies. Microsoft developed Microsoft Office 365. Its users can benefit from Microsoft Exchange functionality without paying large fees. 

Overall, Exchange is a Microsoft protocol that’s similar to IMAP but has additional benefits like syncing tasks, calendars, and contacts across different devices.

Benefits of Using an Exchange Email Account

  • Simple access – both incoming and outgoing emails are located on the server. It’s similar to web based email which you can access from multiple devices.
  • Integration – unlike other email services, this one offers native integration with other Microsoft products like Office or SharePoint.
  • Additional features – you get access to Microsoft collaborative features to improve workflow and simplify mail checking by multiple employees. Other email providers usually don’t offer additional features.
  • Large capacity – while you need to pay more per month than with other message service providers, the server capacity is much larger so you don’t have to delete old emails in order to accept new ones.
  • Regular updates – in the race to become one of the best email service providers, Microsoft is diligently updating its products.
  • Offline work – when using exchange together with Outlook, you can work with your email messages offline.

Disadvantages of Using an Exchange Email Account

  • Complex setup – setting up and maintaining this type of email account is technical and often requires a professional approach.
  • Costs – this account generally costs more than other types of email services. User and server licenses can cost thousands of dollars annually. With Microsoft Office 365, it’s possible to cut some of the expenses.

Overall, Microsoft Exchange is a flexible solution for organizations that work with numerous messages and need to arrange seamless teamwork. While this type of account is more expensive than others, it comes with a variety of useful features that can streamline the workflow.

If a company is on a tight budget, it can take advantage of Microsoft Office 365, which is specifically designed with small and mid-size business capabilities in mind.

The Takeaway

To figure out which option is right for you, it’s important to access your business needs. If you want a simple easy-to-use local email option, consider POP3. In case you need wider flexibility and remote access, settle for IMAP. If you are searching for additional functionality and server capacity, look into Microsoft Exchange.

If you don’t want any of the above mentioned options, you can use one of the web based email alternatives like Yahoo mail or Gmail. By choosing a free email provider on the web, you can still achieve many different business goals. You can later configure these web-based versions to enable POP3 or IMAP access.

Try our email verification services for free

Our Customers