General Email Guide

So, you've signed up for a great UK Web Hosting account with 4UHosting and you are ready to get started with adding and setting up your Email Accounts. For those that have done this before, it's a doddle, but for those that are new to Email, this can be confusing. You have a choice of protocols and methods to collect, read and send your messages. How do you know which one is right for you? This guide should help.

1. Creating Email Accounts.

To create a new Email account you need access to your cPanel interface that comes with your UK Web Hosting account. If you don't have a hosting plan with us, you cannot set up email addresses. The procedure for adding an email account is very straightforward and is described in detail in the articles in this knowledgebase, but in short, the procedure is...

1. Login to cPanel
2. Click Email Accounts
3. Enter the Email address you want to create, choose a password and submit the form.

It really is as easy as 1 - 2 - 3. If you need further help, there is a video tutorial showing how to do this in the Web Hosting section of this knowledge base. Why not set up an Email address now, then come back to this article when you've finished.

2. Identify Your Requirements.

Decide how you will want to access your messages and where from. Do you have a desktop, a laptop and a mobile phone that you will need to access the same account? Perhaps you just have one computer. Will you be using Webmail, or accessing your email from abroad? Once you have determined your needs, you can then go on and choose the protocols and methods you will use to receive and send your messages. There are two main decisions you will need to make...

1. The Protocol you will use to receive your mail.
2. Whether or not to use SSL.

2.1 Protocols demystified.

A protocol is essentially a method of connecting to a particular service. Different protocols serve different purposes. For an example of a protocol that is not related to Email, we can describe the FTP protocol. Very simply, FTP stands for "File Transfer Protocol" and this is one of the methods you might use to connect to your Web Hosting to upload files. So the FTP protocol is a specific service for transferring files between computers. With Email, there are three main protocols, two for receiving mail (depending on your needs) and one for sending. These are POP, IMAP and SMTP.

So, you have your email account created and you want to connect to it to manage your Email - you need to choose a protocol for doing that. Your choices are...

POP  - Post Office Protocol. The POP method of connecting to your Email is the simplest. When using this method, mail is delivered to your mailbox on the server first and then you use POP within your Email software to download the messages to your computer. When you download messages, by default these are instantly removed from your mailbox on the server and stored locally in the inbox of your Email software on your computer. So in it's most basic configuration, you have one computer connecting to the server and downloading your messages. Once downloaded  - the messages exist only on your computer.

So what if you have two computers? Well, most Email software has an option to leave a copy of your mesages on the server and only delete them after a certain amount of time, for example 30 days. So if you have multiple computers, you can configure each of those to download messages and save them locally, but also leave a copy of the email on the server. If you don't do that, when you download your messages from one computer, then try to connect with a mobile device or another computer, the messages won't exist on the server because they have already been downloaded. If you set a time limit, you give your other computers a chance to receive the messages, before they are removed from the server.

One advantage to POP mail is that it is very reliable. When using the POP protocol, you have a simple structure on the server, the messages arrive and are then downloaded to your computers and stored there - the management of folders is handled by each computer you are using. POP is also good for keeping your mailbox on the server clean and tidy and it won't take up much of your disk space in your Web Hosting account.

The main disadvantages of POP  are that if you have large numbers of folders for categorising your messages, you have to create these on each of your computers. Also, if you delete a message from one computer, it won't be deleted from your other ones and the read / unread status of your messages is not shared amongst them.

IMAP  - Internet Message Access Protocol.

IMAP is different to POP, in that the messages, folders, read / unread and delete status of your messages are all stored on the server. You can connect from multiple devices and computers and if you read a message, it will show as having been read from anywhere you connect from. So with IMAP, much of the processing is done at the server end, which can make it slightly slower than POP. It is also slightly more prone to data corruption.

When you create folders in IMAP, because they are on the server, you don't need to create the same folders in all your computers.

When you delete messages, they go into the Trash folder on the server and will not be finally deleted unless you "Empty Trash".

The main disadvantage to using IMAP is that if you don't manage your email properly, you can easily take up lots of space on the server. Your "Sent" messages are stored in the IMAP folders rather than on your computer, including any attachments you send, so if you don't periodically delete your messages, you can end up running out of space.

When you set up IMAP accounts in your Email software, you need to specify the Inbox Sent Trash and Drafts folders as being on the server.

Can I Mix IMAP and POP Protocols?

Yes. If you have one computer and also a smart phone, you can use POP on your computer and set it to leave mail on the server for, say, 60 days and then use IMAP on your phone, which will be able to read the messages from the server too.

Recommendations.

If you have a single computer that is your main location for receiving your email, and also a smart phone and a tablet, we recommend using the mixed protocol method. If you have a desktop and a laptop at home, plus a PC in the office and also mobile devices, we would recommend using the IMAP method on all of them.

SMTP - Simple Mail Transport Protocol. SMTP is the protocol used to send mail. That's all you really need to know about SMTP, apart from that you need to authenticate with the server when sending, as well as receiving. So when setting up your email software, you provide your email address and password as your login details. You will enter these when setting up whichever method of receiving you have chosen - but these details must also be used for sending mail and this is usually handled by your email software via a button or tick box that indicates "Enable SMTP Authentication" or something very similar.

Ports.

Ports and protocols go hand in hand. A port is a unique channel for communicating with the server and each protocol uses a different port number. For example, the HTTP service uses port 80 for standard communication and port 443 for SSL (secure communication). The different email protocols also have different standard and SSL ports. Here they are...

POP -  non-ssl: 110  ssl: 995
IMAP - non-ssl: 143 ssl: 993
SMTP - non-ssl: 25 or 26 ssl: 465

SSL or non SSL?

No question really. You should use an SSL connection whenever possible, so be sure to choose that option in your email software and use the correct ports.

3. Set up your software and connect to your Email account.


You've now created your Email account in cPanel, chosen the protocol you want to use and you are now ready to set up your Email software. The correct  server details and port numbers for our system can be found in the following article... Email Account Settings and you can find other articles in this knowlege base that provide specific details about particular email software, but if you get stuck and need help, as always, a member of staff will be more than happy to assist you.

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