Updated April 17, 2023
Difference between POP3 vs SMTP
The following article provides an outline for POP3 vs SMTP. POP3 and SMTP are defined as networking protocols that are a set of established rules that directs the transmission of the data between different devices within the specified network path. These protocols are specifically designed for making the email flow adhere to the set of rules that are established. SMTP is the protocol that helps in sending and delivering from the client-side through port 25. Port 25 is the outgoing server.
POP3 on the other hand takes care of the selection of the messages and downloading it to the inbox through port 110, which is an alias of the incoming server. POP3 is the abbreviation for Post Office Protocol and SMTP is the abbreviation for Simple Mail Transfer Protocol. What is important to know is that even if there are differences between these protocols, but to set up an email client we would need to configure both of them in order to have smooth functioning.
Head to Head Comparison between POP3 vs SMTP (Infographics)
Below are the top 7 differences between POP3 vs SMTP:
Key Difference Between POP3 vs SMTP
Let us discuss some of the major key differences between POP3 vs SMTP:
- In comparison between the 2 utilities, the basic difference is in the use case. POP3 is the abbreviation for Post Office Protocol whereas SMTP is the abbreviation for Simple Mail Transfer Protocol. And as the name suggests that POP3’s use case is like that of the Post office and SMTP’s use case is that of mail transfer.
- Expanding on the same lines, POP3 enables collection of messages from the server and helps in downloading it to the designated address and on the contrary SMTP takes the mail from the Mail User-agent (MUA) and ensures that the same reaches the designated address as mentioned in the email address.
- The email address contains details like a letter, where the email address is like the postal address and the body of the mail is the content of the letter. The email address contains the domain name which is looked up by the Mail transfer agent in the MX records and the corresponding exact location of the address is located there. Finally, the mail is relayed to the address. POP3 collects the mails in the server of the destination and helps in downloading the mails into the personal inbox of the target.
- The types of agents that are present are also different, SMTP contains Message Transfer Agent whereas POP3 contains Message Access Agent for accomplishing the required tasks.
POP3 vs SMTP Comparison Table
Let’s discuss the top comparison between POP3 vs SMTP:
|Gerne of Comparison||POP3||SMTP|
|Full Form||POP3 is the abbreviation for Post Office Protocol.||SMTP is the abbreviation for Simple Mail Transfer Protocol.|
|Interpretation||The protocol is interpreted as a set of rules that allows the selection of the messages that come through the internet and download it through port 110 (only for POP3). The naming is influenced by the working of the post office, where messages are selected and kept safe till it is delivered to the address.||This protocol is interpreted as the segment of the application layer of TCP/IP which works with the principle of storing to forward or send the messages. This protocol helps in the movement of the email through the concept of Mail Transfer Agent to the designated address as mentioned in the email ID.|
|Agents in the Protocol Design||In POP3, there are 2 agents namely, Message Access Agent, one at the client-side and the other on the server-side.||In SMTP, there are 2 agents namely, Message Transfer Agent, one at the client-side and the other on the server-side.|
|Historic Design of the Protocol||The original design of the POP3 was to help out users in need to temporarily connect to the internet. With subsequent developments, POP3 now supports several authentication ways so that there is no unauthorized access to emails.||The original design of the SMTP was based on the open mail relay that is designed in such a way every computer on the network is able to send email through it & not just known users. Post some subsequent developments in SMTP there were authentications put in place along with some more to help it have the best in class security and hence is the protocol for forwarding mails.|
|Working of the Protocols||POP3 protocol helps in providing access through the IP network to the mailbox on the server. The working flows in the way that it connects to the server, then retrieves all the messages and post the retrieval stores in the designated address and then subsequently delete from the server.||SMTP comes into play when the mail is submitted on the SMTP server through the mail user agent. Post this the mail is sent to the recipient’s email address where the mail transfer agent finds the target domain by checking the MX record.|
|Port Number||Port number 110 is assigned to POP3 protocol for all required transactions to be completed.||Port number 25 is assigned to SMTP protocol for all required transactions to be completed.|
|Target Task||POP3 is targeted to help retrieval and organizing of the mails which is present in server to be made available to the designated address. The protocol is usually referred to as a POP protocol.||SMTP is targeted to help transfer and forwarding of the mails from the mail user agent to the designated address. The protocol is usually referred to as PUSH protocol.|
In this article, we have looked at similarities that exist between POP3 and SMTP that gives rise to the confusion of which is used at what place. This article helps in distinguishing the subtle differences that exist so that confusion is removed, and both utilities are used at their respective places of usage.
This is a guide to POP3 vs SMTP. Here we discuss POP3 vs SMTP key differences with infographics and comparison table respectively. You may also have a look at the following articles to learn more –