POP3 or IMAP?

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As I understand it, IMAP offers convenience and obviates the need to synchronise copies of Outlook, but at the expense of allowing the ISP, GCHQ, NSA, hackers etc access to all of one’s important (kept) emails. Is it a trade-off worth making? I currently delete emails from my POP3 after 28 days.

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POP3 but over an encrypted channel. If you’re going to use POP3 then it should be encrypted. I do this but it depends on what you’re after and exactly as you say – whether you want the convenience (or what you find most convenient). If you don’t have to store it anywhere but one place, why bother with IMAP (or just webmail)? There isn’t a correct answer for this question; this is a personal choice you must make. I like having everything with me and not on another server (even if it happens to be my server, there is no need for the mail to remain on the server in general after it has been downloaded – if I ever need to I can enable it for that account). This does give you the chance to keep things safer (and you don’t have to rely on another entity to do backup or secure things for you – assuming you do backup and you do take security seriously, of course; otherwise it could go either way). But whether you want that control or not is up to you and it is what decides the ‘correct’ answer to your question (just remember: convenience and security tend to conflict with each other).

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