Home : Internet Terms : POP3 Definition


Stands for "Post Office Protocol." POP3, sometimes referred to as just "POP," is a simple, standardized method of delivering e-mail messages. A POP3 mail server receives e-mails and filters them into the appropriate user folders. When a user connects to the mail server to retrieve his mail, the messages are downloaded from mail server to the user's hard disk.

When you configure your e-mail client, such as Outlook (Windows) or Mail (Mac OS X), you will need to enter the type of mail server your e-mail account uses. This will typically be either a POP3 or IMAP server. IMAP mail servers are a bit more complex than POP3 servers and allow e-mail messages to be read and stored on the server. Many "webmail" interfaces use IMAP mail servers so that users can manage all their mail online.

Still, most mail servers use the POP3 mail protocol because it is simple and well-supported. You may have to check with your ISP or whoever manages your mail account to find out what settings to use for configuring your mail program. If your e-mail account is on a POP3 mail server, you will need to enter the correct POP3 server address in your e-mail program settings. Typically, this is something like "mail.servername.com" or "pop.servername.com." Of course, to successfully retrieve your mail, you will have to enter a valid username and password too.

Cite this definition:


TechTerms - The Tech Terms Computer Dictionary

This page contains a technical definiton of POP3. It explains in computing terminology what POP3 means and is one of many Internet terms in the TechTerms dictionary.

All definitions on the TechTerms website are written to be technically accurate but also easy to understand. If you find this POP3 definition to be helpful, you can reference it using the citation links above. If you think a term should be updated or added to the TechTerms dictionary, please email TechTerms!