What is POP? Or POP3? And what about IMAP and SMTP?

The computer world is full of confusing acronyms, and email is one source of many.

It’s useful to understand a few common acronyms, at least at a high level, to make using and configuring email programs a little less confusing.

POP3 and IMAP are half of the email puzzle; SMTP is the other. POP3 and IMAP are protocols (or “languages”) used to get your email, while SMTP is the protocol used to send it.

But why POP? Or POP3? And what are you supposed to enter if you’re asked to configure your email account in your email client?

Read moreWhat is POP? Or POP3? And what about IMAP and SMTP?

Just what is Port 80?

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I’m trying to set something up and it says I need access to Port 80. What is Port 80 anyway? A search around the internet says it’s a software construct, one of about 65,000 ports. What does that mean? Where is it? In fact, where are all of these ports? In software? Where “in” the software? Where do these software constructs actually reside? In RAM? They must be ‘somewhere’. The computer is a physical entity and they’re inside it, physically, at some level, somewhere. Where? Are these ports permanent? Are they constructed as needed? What part of the software are they? Do they exist within Windows? Within the Bios perhaps or somewhere else?

Ports are one of those mysterious things that actually have a very specific and very well defined meaning to computers and the internet. But for the rest of us, well they’re just so much magic.

Let’s see if I can clear some of that magic up.

Read moreJust what is Port 80?

What Are Outlook.com’s IMAP, POP3, and SMTP Settings?

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How do I use Hotmail or Outlook.com with my desktop email program? It wants something about POP3 and SMTP. What should I put in?

With the proliferation of devices running their own email programs, settings for POP3, SMTP, and now more frequently IMAP are a popular request for the various email services.

For a long time, Microsoft didn’t provide the ability to connect to a desktop email program, but they added it to Hotmail a few years ago. With the transition to Outlook.com as Hotmail’s replacement, that functionality remains.

Read moreWhat Are Outlook.com’s IMAP, POP3, and SMTP Settings?