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25 Oct 2018
There are different email protocols like POP3, IMAP, Exchange, SMTP, and many more. And POP and Exchange are two main email protocols used today. Let’s understand these email protocols in detail.

What is POP/POP3 Protocol?

POP is an acronym for Post Office Protocol. It is an application-layer Internet protocol used by email clients to retrieve emails from a remote email server over a TCP/IP connection. The POP protocol supports the one-way movement of email messages from the email server to desktop ( ), and then the email is stored in a local data file.

Storage of Emails

The email messages retrieved from the server are stored in different local data files. For example, MS Outlook client stores the email messages in the .pst file while the Mozilla Thunderbird client stores email messages in .mbox files.

Supported Authentication Methods

POP3 allows access to remote email servers and supports simple download and delete option for mails. The user also has an option to leave a copy of the email on the Server.

The POP3 email protocol supports SASL authentication method through the AUTH extension. The email protocol uses an MD5 hash function to avoid replay attacks and prevent disclosure of the secret.

There is a huge difference between POP and Exchange email protocols. Let’s know more about Exchange email protocol.

What is Exchange Email Protocol?

MS Exchange is a proprietary email protocol introduced by Microsoft. In MS Exchange all emails (sent and received) is stored on an Exchange server. The user can access the email stored in Exchange server through mail clients like MS Outlook.

Just like POP email protocol, you can access mails stored in Exchange server through a web interface or download the messages through mail client for offline viewing. Microsoft Exchange uses the MAPI protocol to talk to clients. The Exchange protocol is based on XML.

Storage of Emails

If you are using MS Outlook to retrieve mails from MS Exchange server, you will find the info store database on the C: drive. The default location of the folder is %programfiles%\exchsrvr\mdbdata.

On an MS Exchange server, the emails are stored in the following path- Exchange System Manager / your administrative group / servers / your server name / First Storage Group / Mailbox Store / Properties / Database tab. You can move the email database to any desired location.

Supported Authentication Methods

By default, MS Exchange server is configured to use Transport Layer Security (TLS) to encrypt communication between internal Exchange servers or between Exchange services on the local server. MS Exchange server use different authentication and encryption methods that include the web server authentication  ( ), Internet Protocol security, and Secure/Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (S/MIME).

Now that you have a better knowledge of POP and Exchange email protocols, you can go ahead and configure your email client with much ease.

Did we miss any important information about POP3 or Exchange email protocols? Please feel free to comment.


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