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Which IMAP IMAP server Choose

IMAP server

IMAP server based on your requirements

IMAP, fully documented in RFC 3501, was designed to provide a robust, mobile mail delivery and access mechanism. For more detail on the protocol and how it functions on the network layer, or for additional information on the numerous specification options, please consult the RFC documentation.

Once you’ve decided that IMAP is for you, there are two primary options. The two main flavors are Cyrus IMAP and the University of Washington IMAP server. Both follow the RFC specification for IMAP and have their advantages and disadvantages. They also use different mailbox formats and therefore cannot be mixed. One key difference between the two is found in Cyrus IMAP. It does not use /etc/passwd for its mail account database, so the administrator does not have to specially add mail users to the system password file. This is more secure option for system administrators, because creating accounts on systems can be construed as a security risk. However, the ease of configuration and installation of UW IMAP often makes it more appealing. In this chapter, we’ll primarily focus on the two most common IMAP servers: UW IMAP, because of its popularity and ease of installation, and Cyrus IMAP, because of its additional security features.

IMAP email server

IMAP email server

Getting an IMAP client
The UW IMAP, as its name suggests, can be found at the University of Washington. Their web site,, contains various documentation and implementation suggestions, as well as the link to their software repository FTP site. There are a number of different versions available in various forms. For simplicity, the UW IMAP team offers a link a direct link to the most current version:

One feature that may be useful is the potential to allow anonymous logins. This can be used as a way to provide information to users without creating specific accounts for them. This has been used at universities as a method of distributing information, or providing read-only access to discussion lists. To enable this functionality, the only step required is to place a file in your /etc directory called anonymous.newsgroups. Once this has been completed, anonymous users will have access to commonly shared mailboxes.

The default mailbox format configured by UW IMAP was selected because it provides the greatest flexibility and compatibility. While these are two definite advantages, they come at a cost of performance. The mbx format supported by UW IMAP provides better capabilities for shared mailboxes, since it supports simultaneous reading and writing.


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