POP before SMTP
or SMTP after POP
is a method of authorization
used by mail server
software which helps allow users the option to send e-mail from any location, as long as they can demonstrably also fetch their mail from the same place.
Technically, users are allowed to use SMTP
from an IP address
as long as they have previously made a successful login
into the POP
service at the same mail hosting provider, from the same IP address, within a predefined timeout period
The main advantage of this process is that it's generally transparent to the average user who will be connecting with an email client
, which will almost always make a connection to fetch new mail before sending new mail. The disadvantages include a potentially complex setup for the mail hosting provider (requiring some sort of communication channel between the POP service and the SMTP service) and uncertainty as to how much time users will take to connect via SMTP (to send mail) after connecting to POP.
Those users not handled by this method need to resort to other authorization methods. Also, in cases where users come from externally controlled dial-up addresses (more specifically, all dynamically assigned IP addresses), the SMTP server must be careful about not giving too much leeway when allowing unauthorized connections, because of a possibility of race conditions
leaving an open mail relay