What is the difference between MAPI and SMTP Email Settings?

Acctivate may be configured to send email through Microsoft Mail (MAPI), Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) or Gmail API (Gmail). When choosing which protocol to use, it’s important to understand the basic differences between the three.

Compare and Contrast MAPI and SMTP Email Settings

Acctivate may be configured to send email through Microsoft Mail (MAPI), Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP), and Gmail API (Gmail) When choosing which protocol to use, it’s important to understand the basic differences between the three. This article will briefly explain how SMTP, MAPI and Gmail API email protocols work, as well as when it’s beneficial to use one over the other two.

Microsoft Mail (MAPI)

How it works:
Emails sent from Acctivate are funneled through Microsoft Outlook before being sent to your email server (which delivers the message to the recipient). This requires Outlook to be installed on the workstation running Acctivate.

Benefits of MAPI

  • Messages sent from Acctivate can be stored in your “Sent” folder within Outlook
  • Additional security features included in Outlook
  • Supports sending and receiving messages

Disadvantages of MAPI

  • Security settings may need to be configured in Outlook to prevent pop-ups in Acctivate each time a message is sent
  • Requires an email client to be installed on the workstation
  • Less widespread support than SMTP

Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP)

How it works:
Emails sent from Acctivate are pushed directly through to your email server. This setting does not require an email client (like Microsoft Outlook) to be installed on your workstation, but does require some additional configuration in Acctivate in order to be used. You will need to specify the email server address, encryption type, and individual login credentials for each user’s email address before sending email from Acctivate.

Benefits of SMTP

  • Independent of an email client (does not require Outlook to be installed)
  • No additional security settings to configure
  • More widespread support than MAPI

Disadvantages of SMTP

  • SMTP does not automatically save copies of sent emails
  • Used exclusively for sending email, not receiving

Gmail API (Gmail)

How it works:

Starting in Acctivate 11.1, Acctivate can connect directly to your Gmail account via an OAuth2 connection. Emails are sent from Acctivate through your Gmail account. You do not need to download anything to make it run. All you need to do is click on the "Connect" button in email settings and sign into your Gmail account.

Benefits of Gmail

  • Direct secured connection through OAuth2
  • Easy setup
  • See emails in Gmail.

Disadvantages of Gmail

  • Only usable by companies and users using Gmail.

Choosing an email protocol

For most users, the email protocol of choice is dictated by what system they use in their email server. Users with Microsoft Outlook and an Exchange server will almost always use MAPI. Users that utilize other clients like Thunderbird to connect to a free email server or companies that use Office 365 will likely need to use SMTP settings. Companies that use Gmail for their emailing will want to use Gmail API.

Users that have their email account set up to use POP/SMTP settings in Outlook will not be able to use Acctivate’s MAPI settings for their email. pasted-image-at-2016_09_09-11_03-am

Outlook will pass an error onto Acctivate that states:

“Either there is no default mail client or the current mail client cannot fulfill the messaging request. Please run Microsoft Outlook and set it as the default mail client.”

Changing the protocol used to SMTP resolves this error.

For more information about the different email protocols that Acctivate offers, check out our docs page.