There are a couple different types of mail services available. Let me start by clarifying two that are distinct, yet there are advantages to both. There is the basic mail server which can be termed a POP or IMAP server. This is the most basic of mail services and is what most email users are familiar with. This includes most of your webmail clients such as Yahoo, Gmail, and the others. This option is inexpensive and covers most basic email needs.
The second type of mail server, which is the focus of my attention today, is known as Exchange. This is a Microsoft based product that a lot of businesses use to collaborate, i.e. sharing calendars, contacts, and email boxes. While this option is slightly more expensive, there are great advantages.
POP is a pull based email service which means your Outlook or other mail client is set to request new messages from the mail server at some interval, i.e. every 10 minutes it will check for new mail. POP mail once received is typically stored on just your local computer and not kept on the server. It is available for smart phones, yet if you send mail from your smart phone, it doesn’t show up in your sent items on your computer. You also end up maintaining multiple contact lists.
Exchange is different in that it is a push based email service, meaning as soon as you get a new email, it is “pushed” to your Outlook or smart phone. One of the other benefits is all emails sent from the webmail interface, Outlook (local computer), and your smart phone all stay synchronized. Regardless of which device or computer you send email from, it will show up in your “sent” items. Exchange also synchronizes your contacts and calendar with all your devices, including iPhones and Ipads.
I recently switched my wife’s home email account to Exchange and she has LOVED the difference in emails being delivered AND all of her contacts, calendar, and emails being connected. If she reads and deletes the email on her iPad it deletes on her computer. If she enters a contact on her iPhone, it goes to her computer and iPad automatically. She also likes that she can see my reply to an email within a few seconds of me clicking send instead of waiting ten minutes. She also loves that any of her DEVICES can break and the server still has all her email and contacts.
Microsoft Exchange is available in onsite AND hosted options.