What’s the best POP connector?

On April 4, 2005, in Tools, by

From the mailbag today comes the question “What is the best POP connector program?” 

I’ll start with an answer from the “Consultant crowd”:

SMTP instead

And I’ll include my answer:

A patched one  🙂

But if you’d like additional options for using a POP connector program remember both Popbeamer and GFI have a pop connector programs and both are highly recommended.  And yes…they can collect faster than 15 minutes but if you want the pop program to collect every 30 seconds…like the guy in the newsgroup today….move to SMTP otherwise you will corrupt emails.  The reason why the SBS Pop connector program only does it every 15 is to not overwhelm the Internet with these hits on ISPs and also to not corrupt emails as they get pulled in. 

So let’s just look at so pro’s and con’s about using a POP connector program versus SMTP

Pro:  POP means that you need no ports open to go grab email.  It triggers the pull and pulls the email in.  There is no need to open up port 25 or 110.  Thus you won’t see SMTP auth attacks on your port 25 trying to nail your administrator account which …while an acceptable risk… is still annoying nonetheless

Con:  That POP connector sends out that username/password in clear text.  Set up a sniffer program on that connection and voila… you’ll see usernames/password go across the wire.  Hopefully that’s not the ‘same’ username password as the domain credentials of the firm.

Pro:  POP is faster to implement in a formerly peer to peer firm and more ‘warm fuzzy’ to the consultant setting it up.

Con:  Some ISPs have no clue when it comes to setting up Mail Records and what not.  Javier has an excellent post that we put up a long time ago about on Smarthost versus DNS.

Pro:  uh… hmmmm…not sure there is a Pro in this one as you have to rely on word filtering

Con:  Can’t use Exchange IMF spam filters for spam filtering or any number of other anti-spam techniques that typically have better ‘catch’ rates.  You must have SMTP to use Exchange IMF.

Pro:  Using POP your email is always safe because it only comes off the mail server when your Exchange server pulls it down.

Con:  Using SMTP your email is always safe because you can use a service like TZO.com to provide a backup MX or mail delivery in case in the rare chance your SBS is offline. 

Uh….. This one is a dead tie because there are ways to provide backups for that mail delivery no matter what.

Pro:   Using POP I can use cheaper dynamic IP services rather than the more expensive static ones.

Con:  Using SMTP I can still use the cheaper dynamic IP services rather than the more expensive ones. 

Huh?  Yup, this too is a dead heat because you can use port redirector services and other such tools to still host your email on a dynamic IP

So what’s the best?

One that fits what your clients needs.  And sometimes that even includes that annoying 15 minute patched pop connector built into SBS 2003.


5 Responses to What’s the best POP connector?

  1. Tom says:

    GFI rocks. I use it to retrive all of my pop accounts and spam filter them.

  2. sproket90 says:

    smtp is ok… but i’ve been getting alot of weird type of log in attempts from spammers…

    security wise the best it to go with pop3ssl which btw Popbeamer does support.. encrypted passwords and email that way

    which there is a product produced by popbeamer for spam/virus prevention called Xwall

    So you can have encrypted passwords, spam and virus protection for pop3. which utimately is more secure because of one less hole to open in your firewall.

  3. If someone decides to switch to SMTP after reading this… you can get the instructions here:


  4. tim says:

    i like EFS best, it’s quick to setup, simple to use and feature packed. best off the standard version is free.


  5. jeff says:

    The disadvantage of EFS’ free version is that it doesn’t run as a service.

    I use Eclarsys’ PopGrabber. They have a free version for 3 users which does run as a service. It doesn’t have many features but it does the job. The standard version with unlimited accounts is cheaper than any other pop connector I know and works quite well.