← Back to Glossary

What is Post Office Protocol (POP)?

by Iwan Price-Evans on Web technology • June 16, 2022

POP stands for Post Office Protocol. It’s an email protocol that allows users to access their mail on multiple devices at the same time. This means that you can read your emails on your phone while you're in class, or even when you're offline.

How Does POP Work?

POP works by downloading messages into a local folder on your computer. You can then open these files with any web browser. If you use Gmail, you'll see a green dot next to each message in your inbox. Clicking on this will allow you to view the message.

You'll need to make sure that your web browser supports POP. If you use Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari, Opera, or Microsoft Edge, then you should be able to set up POP.


POP is a standard protocol for retrieving emails from servers. POP3 is a newer version of POP that allows users to retrieve multiple mailboxes at once.


POP is a simpler protocol than IMAP. With POP, you only need one connection to download messages from the server. You also do not need to set up folders on your computer.

POP is a much faster method of accessing emails because it downloads them directly to your computer instead of having to download them one at a time. This means that you won't have to wait as long to read your emails.

However, there are some downsides to using POP.

  1. It's not compatible with every email provider.
  2. It only allows you to access your emails while you're online.
  3. It's less secure than IMAP.
  4. You cannot search through your inbox as easily as with IMAP.