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IMAP, POP3 and NNTP Functions


These functions enable you to operate with the IMAP protocol, as well as the NNTP, POP3 and local mailbox access methods.

Be warned however, that some of IMAP functions will not work correctly with the POP protocol.


This extension requires the c-client library to be installed. Grab the latest version from » and compile it.

It's important that you do not copy the IMAP source files directly into the system include directory as there may be conflicts. Instead, create a new directory inside the system include directory, such as /usr/local/imap-2000b/ (location and name depend on your setup and IMAP version), and inside this new directory create additional directories named lib/ and include/. From the c-client directory from your IMAP source tree, copy all the *.h files into include/ and all the *.c files into lib/. Additionally when you compiled IMAP, a file named c-client.a was created. Also put this in the lib/ directory but rename it as libc-client.a.

Note: To build the c-client library with SSL or/and Kerberos support read the docs supplied with the package.

Note: In Mandrake Linux, the IMAP library (libc-client.a) is compiled without Kerberos support. A separate version with SSL (client-PHP4.a) is installed. The library must be recompiled in order to add Kerberos support.


To get these functions to work, you have to compile PHP with --with-imap[=DIR], where DIR is the c-client install prefix. From our example above, you would use --with-imap=/usr/local/imap-2000b. This location depends on where you created this directory according to the description above. Windows users may include the php_imap.dll DLL in php.ini. IMAP is not supported on systems earlier that Windows 2000. This is because it uses encryption functions in order to enable SSL connections to the mail servers.

Note: Depending how the c-client was configured, you might also need to add --with-imap-ssl=/path/to/openssl/ and/or --with-kerberos=/path/to/kerberos into the PHP configure line.


The IMAP, recode, YAZ and Cyrus extensions cannot be used in conjuction, because they all share the same internal symbol.

Runtime Configuration

This extension has no configuration directives defined in php.ini.

Resource Types

Predefined Constants

The constants below are defined by this extension, and will only be available when the extension has either been compiled into PHP or dynamically loaded at runtime.

NIL (integer)
OP_DEBUG (integer)
OP_READONLY (integer)
Open mailbox read-only
OP_ANONYMOUS (integer)
Don't use or update a .newsrc for news (NNTP only)
OP_SILENT (integer)
OP_PROTOTYPE (integer)
OP_HALFOPEN (integer)
For IMAP and NNTP names, open a connection but don't open a mailbox.
OP_EXPUNGE (integer)
OP_SECURE (integer)
CL_EXPUNGE (integer)
silently expunge the mailbox before closing when calling imap_close()
FT_UID (integer)
The parameter is a UID
FT_PEEK (integer)
Do not set the \Seen flag if not already set
FT_NOT (integer)
FT_INTERNAL (integer)
The return string is in internal format, will not canonicalize to CRLF.
ST_UID (integer)
The sequence argument contains UIDs instead of sequence numbers
ST_SILENT (integer)
ST_SET (integer)
CP_UID (integer)
the sequence numbers contain UIDS
CP_MOVE (integer)
Delete the messages from the current mailbox after copying with imap_mail_copy()
SE_UID (integer)
Return UIDs instead of sequence numbers
SE_FREE (integer)
Don't prefetch searched messages
SO_FREE (integer)
SO_NOSERVER (integer)
SA_MESSAGES (integer)
SA_RECENT (integer)
SA_UNSEEN (integer)
SA_UIDNEXT (integer)
SA_ALL (integer)
This mailbox has no "children" (there are no mailboxes below this one).
This is only a container, not a mailbox - you cannot open it.
LATT_MARKED (integer)
This mailbox is marked. Only used by UW-IMAPD.
This mailbox is not marked. Only used by UW-IMAPD.
SORTDATE (integer)
Sort criteria for imap_sort(): message Date
Sort criteria for imap_sort(): arrival date
SORTFROM (integer)
Sort criteria for imap_sort(): mailbox in first From address
Sort criteria for imap_sort(): message subject
SORTTO (integer)
Sort criteria for imap_sort(): mailbox in first To address
SORTCC (integer)
Sort criteria for imap_sort(): mailbox in first cc address
SORTSIZE (integer)
Sort criteria for imap_sort(): size of message in octets
TYPETEXT (integer)
TYPEAUDIO (integer)
TYPEIMAGE (integer)
TYPEVIDEO (integer)
TYPEOTHER (integer)
ENC7BIT (integer)
ENC8BIT (integer)
ENCBINARY (integer)
ENCBASE64 (integer)
ENCOTHER (integer)
TYPEMODEL (integer)

See Also

This document can't go into detail on all the topics touched by the provided functions. Further information is provided by the documentation of the c-client library source (docs/internal.txt). and the following RFC documents:

A detailed overview is also available in the books » Programming Internet Email by David Wood and » Managing IMAP by Dianna Mullet & Kevin Mullet.

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