1. Home
  2. Marketing Glossary


Post Office Protocol version 3

The term POP3, an acronym for “Post Office Protocol version 3”, is a fundamental component in the world of email.

It serves as a bridge between email servers and users’ email clients.

This protocol can be used for downloading email messages from a server to a personal computer.

This enables users to read, manage and store their emails locally, even without a constant Internet connection.


POP3 is the third version of the Post Office Protocol and is the most widely used and accepted version for retrieving email messages.

It works on a simple but effective model: when a user checks their email, POP3 takes care of downloading the messages from the email server to the local device.

This protocol was not designed to deal with messages on the server.

Once a message has been downloaded, it is usually deleted from the server, although modern email clients offer the option of keeping copies of messages on the server.

Relevant historical data

The evolution of POP3 can be traced back to its predecessors, POP1 and POP2, which laid the foundations for email retrieval in the 1980s.

However, it was with the introduction of POP3, specified in 1988 in RFC 1081 and later updated in RFC 1939, that the standard we know today was consolidated.

This version introduced significant improvements in security and efficiency, adapting to the growing needs of Internet users and establishing a standard that has lasted over time.

Key considerations

When using POP3, it’s important to consider message management.

As emails are downloaded and, by default, deleted from the server, users should be aware of the importance of backing up their emails.

In addition, the configuration of the email client is key to ensuring that messages are kept on the server if they have to be accessed from different devices.

This is especially relevant in environments where mobile and multi-device access is common.

Another consideration is the comparison with IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol), another popular protocol which, unlike POP3, allows emails to be managed directly on the server.

This facilitates access and synchronization between multiple devices.

The choice between POP3 and IMAP will depend on the user’s specific needs, such as preference for local storage versus remote access and synchronization between devices.

Why it is important, advantages

The importance of POP3 lies in its simplicity and efficiency for users who prefer or need to keep their emails locally.

For individuals and organizations that value privacy and security, local email storage reduces dependence on external servers and potential vulnerabilities.

In addition, the option to access emails offline is invaluable in situations where Internet access is limited or unstable.

In the context of email marketing, POP3 plays an indirect but relevant role.

By allowing users to manage their emails locally, it also influences the way they interact with email campaigns.

Efficient email management can make it easier to read marketing messages and not simply delete them or lose them in the clutter of unwanted emails.

The ability to store important emails locally allows users to consult them when necessary, potentially increasing the effectiveness of email marketing campaigns.


In conclusion, POP3 remains a vital protocol in email infrastructure, offering a simple and effective solution for downloading and managing emails locally.

Although the choice between POP3 and IMAP may vary according to individual needs, the relevance of POP3 persists, especially for those who value the security, privacy and offline availability of their emails.

For the marketing world, understanding and adapting to users’ email management preferences can be a crucial factor in the success of email marketing campaigns.