Post Office Protocol
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In computing, the Post Office Protocol (POP) is an application-layer Internet standard protocol used by local e-mail clients to retrieve e-mail from a remote server over aTCP/IP connection. POP and IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol) are the two most prevalent Internet standard protocols for e-mail retrieval. Virtually all modern e-mail clients and servers support both. The POP protocol has been developed through several versions, with version 3 (POP3) being the current standard. POP3 is used for most webmail services such as Gmail and Yahoo. Contents [hide] * 1 Overview * 2 History * 3 Extensions * 3.1 STLS * 3.2 SDPS * 4 Comparison with IMAP * 5 Dialog example * 6 Server implementations * 7 Related Requests For Comments (RFCs) * 8 See also * 9 References * 10 Further reading * 11 External links
POP supports simple download-and-delete requirements for access to remote mailboxes (termed maildrop in the POP RFC's). Although most POP clients have an option to leave mail on server after download, e-mail clients using POP generally connect, retrieve all messages, store them on the user's PC as new messages, delete them from the server, and then disconnect. Other protocols, notably IMAP, (Internet Message Access Protocol) provide more complete and complex remote access to typical mailbox operations. Many e-mail clients support POP as well as IMAP to retrieve messages; however, fewer Internet Service Providers (ISPs) support IMAP. A POP3 server listens on well-known port 110. Encrypted communication for POP3 is either requested after protocol initiation, using the STLS command, if supported, or by POP3S, which connects to the server using Transport Layer Security (TLS) or Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) on well-known TCP port 995 (e.g. Google Gmail). Available messages to the client are fixed when a POP session opens the maildrop, and are identified by message-number local to that session or, optionally, by a unique identifier assigned to the message by the POP server. This unique identifier is permanent and unique to the maildrop and allows a client to access the same message in different POP sessions. Mail is retrieved and marked for deletion by message-number. When the client exits the session, the mail marked for deletion is removed from the maildrop. -------------------------------------------------
POP (POP1) is specified in RFC 918, POP2 by RFC 937. The original specification of POP3 is RFC 1081. Its current specification is RFC 1939, updated with an extension mechanism, RFC 2449 and an authentication mechanism in RFC 1734. POP2 has been assigned well-known port 109.
The original POP3 specification supported only an unencrypted USER/PASS login mechanism or Berkeley .rhosts access control. POP3 currently supports several authentication methods to provide varying levels of protection against illegitimate access to a user's e-mail. Most are provided by the POP3 extension mechanisms. POP3 clients support SASL authentication methods via the...
The interim protocol was quickly replaced by the Interactive Mail Access Protocol (IMAP2), defined in RFC 1064 (in 1988) and later updated by RFC 1176 (in 1990)
The current version of IMAP since 1996, IMAP version 4 revision 1 (IMAP4rev1), is defined by RFC 3501 (published in March 2003) which revised the earlier RFC 2060.
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