Is CenturyLink email POP3 or IMAP?

CenturyLink primarily supports IMAP between the two, which allows you to check your emails through other email programs such as Microsoft Outlook and Mailbird.

Serious tasks such as retrieving emails require conscious choices on which mail servers to use. In most cases, you will have two options to select from, and they have their differences – you either have POP3 or IMAP.

Since CenturyLink mainly uses IMAP, it is possible to set it up to work on multiple devices and with other email programs; the website also outlines the steps you should take when configuring the service for different OS requirements. All you need to keep in mind is that the CenturyLink online account login is different from the CenturyLink email login.


Defining POP3 and IMAP


Between the two protocols, this is the older one, and it is an acronym for Post Office Protocol. It stands as the initial protocol that was used since the mid-1980s, and going through updates and revisions, with POP3 being the third major revision.

When you choose it to retrieve your emails, this will affect your flow through the following ways:

  1. Connections are established between you (the client) and the email server
  2. You will need to download all your emails and their attachments from the server to open them
  3. You will then save the emails on your device that you are using to open the email
  4. The server automatically deletes the emails
  5. The transmission then ends

The problem with POP3 is that it does not allow you to preview your emails on the mail server, delete them, put them into folders, or search through them. It only allows you to do the basic functions – get your emails from the server, and after downloading the content, delete the email immediately.

POP3 usually initiates secure TLS/SSL transmission, which is also known as POP3DS. It is also automatically configured to listen on the plain-text transmission port (port 110) and port 995 (when the server uses SSL/TLS security).



This is defined as the second main protocol email services use to retrieve emails. Developed in 1986, its latest revision was in the early to mid-1990s, and most servers refer to it as IMAP4.

IMAP uses the following steps to work:

  1. It establishes a connection between you (the client) and a mail server
  2. It will then acquire the content you request and cache it on your device. An example includes lists of new emails with their pre-headers and headers.
  3. It will perform any actions you initiate, such as deleting messages, archiving them, marking them as unread or read, and so on.
  4. The transmission ends.

Unlike the POP3 mode, IMAP does not retrieve emails from a server. Instead, it will only retrieve the email when you decide to open the email, regardless of the device you are using. Additionally, it will only show you a copy of the original message, while the original message remains on a separate server.

IMAP supports SSL/TLS transmission, also known as IMAPS. It uses port 143 to read plain text, and port 993 to read and open mails using SSL/TLS.


What are the differences between Pop3 and IMAP settings?

POP3 (Post Office Protocol)
IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol)
It is a simple protocol an email system uses to download messages from the inbox to your local computer, desktop, or mobile device
It is a more advanced protocol that allows you to see all the folders you have on the mail server
Ports used
POP servers listen on port 110, while POP servers with SSL security (also referred to as POP3DS) listen on port 995
IMAP servers listen on port 143, while IMAP servers with SSL security (also known as IMAPDS) listen on port 993
Mail access
You can only access your mail from one device at a time
You can access your mail across multiple devices
How to open mail
If you want to read your mail, you must download it to your local computer
You can read  the mail partially, and choose to download it or not
You cannot organize your mails in the mail server’s mailbox
You can organize your mails directly on the mail server
You cannot rename, delete, or create email on the mail server
You can rename, delete, and create email on the mail server
Unidirectional approach. That means all changes you make on one device will not affect the content that is already present on the server
Bidirectional approach. This means changes you make on your device or server will affect the other side as well.
You cannot sync your emails
You can sync your emails
Fast speeds
Slower speeds compared to POP3
You cannot search the mail’s content before downloading it to your local computer or device
You can search the mail’s content to get a specific string before downloading the content
It comes with two operation modes: keep mode and delete mode
The mail server can keep multiple redundant copies of your emails, just in case there is loss of messages in the local server
You can apply changes in the mail through using local email software
Any changes you make through the email software or web interface remain in sync with the server

When should you choose IMAP or POP3?

Choose IMAP if:

  • You are planning to sync your emails across a variety of devices such as wearables, laptops, desktops, smartphones, and tablets
  • You have access to stable internet connections at all times and can sync your messages at any time you need to open them
  • You have enough server storage space to keep the emails, or can easily delete some regularly
  • You need to have backups in your Cloud account, as you are worried about potential data losses

Choose POP3 if:

  • You have limited access to an internet connection, and it is more viable to fetch your emails all at once
  • You use a single device to read your emails, and you are the only user of your mailbox
  • You get large volumes of emails and are worried about your Cloud storage space, which makes it more viable to store your emails locally.



In most modern email providers, including CenturyLink, IMAP is the default protocol you will find in use, alongside some support for both protocols.



What type of email account is CenturyLink?

It uses IMAP, as well as SMTP.

How do I setup my CenturyLink email on Outlook?

Open Outlook and click on its ‘Account Settings’, then select its file tab and choose its ‘Account Settings’ under the Information tab. You can then create a new email account, and enable ‘Server Settings’.

How do I setup my CenturyLink email?

Visit the CenturyLink website and go to the ‘My CenturyLink’ drop-down menu. Select ‘Create Account’ and follow its prompts to open the email.

How many email accounts can I have with CenturyLink?

You can have up to 10 accounts.

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