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what is the difference between the mail protocols

      i am desiging a mail application which is used to read and send the mails
i come to know that there are three protocols used in the mail transfer
what is the difference these protocols have and in implementing a system which is capable of doing it in all the three protocols
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1 Solution

Post office protocol which is used to fetch the mails from user's mail box


Simple mail Transfer Protocol which is used to send the receive the mails

imap similar to POP3 but it is advanced than POP3

The basic difference between IMAP and POP3
while fetching the mails, POP3 deletes the mails at server account forcely.
whereas IMAP will not do that. There is provision to keep/delete the mails at server account.

But now-a-days even POP3 also I think  has that provision


for ur more information have a look at these three RFCs (Request for comments)

POP3 -http://www.faqs.org/rfcs/rfc1939.html
SMTP- http://www.faqs.org/rfcs/rfc821.html
IMAP - http://www.faqs.org/rfcs/rfc3501.html
In Simple words

if sudhakar_koundinya@yahoo.com want's to send a message to  deeppra@hotmail.com for example, we need to go for SMTP protcol (Outgoing SMTP)

now if deepra @hotmail.com sends the reply to sudhakar_koundinya@yahoo.com, to store that message in sudhakar_koundiny's mail box, we need to go for SMTP. This is called incoming SMTP service

Now to see what sudhakar_koundinya has send, deepra's mail account should have either POP3 or IMAP protcol. And it is same at sudhakar_koundinya's side also.


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And I strongly suggest you to read above three protocol links. They are very easy to understand also.

But u should read these links also available at http://www.faqs.org/rfcs

SMTP RFCs : 821, 2821, 2822, 2920, 3030
POP3 RFCs : 9139 and 1734
IMAP RFCs : 3501, and 3691

and forgot to say

IMAP and POP3 are basically authentication protocols. Means for fetching the mails from user account we need to have correct  user name and password

But it is not compulsory for SMTP. That is the reason we are seeing that much of Spam mails in our accounts ;-)

thanks :-)
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