Computer email question: SMTP Server vs a POP3 Server

Hi guys.

Just an information question here which, due to Microsoft’s labrynthine website I can’t find an easy answer to.

I own at home, a version of Windows 2000 Professional which has a service in it called “Simple Mail Transfer Protocol Virtual Server”. It’s currently disabled.

I also have 2 IBM Netfinity’s permanently hosted at an ISP which run Windows 2000 Advanced Server. Neither of those are running either SMTP or POP3 services.

In my email accounts, I notice my incoming mail function needs to connect to a POP3 server, but my outgoing mail merely needs to connect to a SMTP server.

Just what are the differences? And how expensive is it to configure a Windows 2000 machine to permanently act as an “inbound POP3” email server?

Thanking you all in advance!

P.S. I like to be as helpful as I can possibly be with these sort of questions when I can - I’m sure you, my fellow Dopers, will be fantastic in your replies.

SMTP is the language by which mail servers exchange mail with each other. POP3 is how your mail client downloads YOUR mail from the mail server. With a valid account you can queue messages to an outgoing SMTP server but you need POP3 to get the stored messages from the incoming SMTP server.

Not sure on the licensing issues…

In order to configure your Windows 2000 PC to be an incoming POP3 server, you need POP3 server software and the appropriate MX records in your ISP’s (or your own) DNS and your own registered domain or subdomain. There is open source pop3 software that runs on Windows 2000 - check for details (I’d give you a more specific link but its under maintenance atm). If you don’t like any of those there are shareware ones for less than $50.

Its possible your ISP will register a subdomain and create MX records for you for free or little charge…it costs them almost nothing but I suspect if you called and asked they would want to sell you a “business class” account. No worries for $15 a year you can register your own domain and have them handle the DNS for you, they will also setup the MX records so other mail servers will be able to find out the IP address of the mail server that handles <yourdomain>.com. I personally use and have had good luck but there are lots of others and the services are about the same.