IMAP, the Internet Message Access Protocol, is similar in concept to the POP Protocol described in Chapter 11. IMAP, however, is a much more robust and powerful protocol. In addition to supporting all the features of POP, IMAP also supports the following:
  • Multiple mail folders, not just the user’s inbox.

  • Storage of flags (read, replied, seen, deleted) on the IMAP server, reading of stored flags, and sharing of these flags with mail readers.

  • Server-side searching for messages. With IMAP, you don’t need to download messages in order to search them.

  • Server-side copying and moving of messages between folders.

  • Ability to add new messages to a remote folder.

  • Persistent unique message numbering, making possible synchronization with a server, client-side message filtering (letting you delete the appropriate message from the server later), and multithreaded clients.

  • Shared and read-only folders.

  • Some IMAP servers can present nonmail sources (such as Usenet news) as mail, which clients can specifically request.

  • Some IMAP servers support storage of mail in nonstandard locations, which clients can specifically request.

  • IMAP clients can selectively download certain parts of a message—for instance, only a particular attachment or only the message headers.


Line Ending Reason Reactor Message Header Failure Object Message Number 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© John Goerzen 2004

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  • John Goerzen

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