An email client is a software that is used to read, send and receive emails forwarded by the email server. It can be found locally installed on your workstation but also on your phone or accessible via a web browser.
Since 2013, more than half of emails have been opened on mobile (phone or tablet). The most used solutions are mobile email clients for iPhone, iPad and Android. It is still possible to synchronize them with any email client.
On desktop (PC or Mac), the main known email client (Mail User Agent, MUA) are Microsoft Outlook, Mozilla Thunderbird or Mail for Apple. The other programs like Windows Live Mail, Opera Mail, eM Client, Zimbra or Incredimail do not represent real solutions for professionals.
Webmail: an email client on the web
Webmail is an email client that acts as an interface between the email server and a web browser, unlike the classic client that installs directly on the computer disk or on a smartphone. The most used webmails are Gmail, Outlook.com (formerly Hotmail) and Yahoo! Mail.
The main advantage is of course not having to install software and not having to perform any specific configuration. As soon as you are connected to the Internet, you are able to access your emails. This system also represents drawbacks linked to the quality of connection to the Internet.
What is webmail? : Messaging accessible in web mode
Webmail is a website that allows you to consult your Electronic Mailbox, it is simply an email client that you access from your web browser. A little less complete than a conventional email client installed locally on your computer, it nevertheless allows you to perform a large part of the desired functions.
Webmail gives you the possibility to consult your BAL from any computer with Internet access. As such, this makes it the first example of a Cloud computing application that everyone has used.
There are two types of web messaging:
- Webmails defended by email providers or Internet service providers (ISPs) such as Gmail, Outlook.com (ex-Windows Live Hotmail), Yahoo! Mail, GMX or Free.
- Webmails developed by freelancers like SquirrelMail, RoundCube, Zimbra or IMP.
The advantages of the webmail system
Clearly, the major advantage of this type of solution is the absence of software to install. This does not require any complex configuration to access his email. To consult your emails, you just need to connect to the Internet and identify yourself with your email service, a guarantee of simplicity and mobility.
The disadvantages of web messaging
Any web messaging system is entirely dependent on the quality of your Internet network. In the event of a faulty connection or network failure, you lose all possibility of consulting your mail.
The use of a webmail client also raises the question of security and confidentiality. Depending on the supplier you have chosen, you are not guaranteed on the use that will be made of your data. In the case of webmail managed by an American company (Outlook, Gmail), you should know that your data is governed by the law known as the Patriot Act.
This law authorizes the American authorities to access computer data held by individuals and companies, without prior authorization and without informing the parties concerned.
Being able to connect from any medium clearly increases the risk of hacking and infection.
Microsoft Outlook, the leader in desktop email clients
Traditional email clients have the advantage of offering much more functionality than the systems found in the other two environments (mobile and webmail). Working offline, setting up an email signature, changing the display, scheduling tasks, or archiving messages are all possibilities offered by Microsoft’s messaging solution. With this client, it becomes easy to communicate with a mail server like Microsoft Exchange.
While Outlook is the undisputed leader in desktop email clients, there are nonetheless alternatives to Microsoft’s email software. Among these competitors, we find prominently the Mozilla client, Thunderbird, the Apple Mail client or the Lotus Notes from IBM. If you are looking for other software solutions to manage your emails, you can find on Wikipedia, a very complete list of email clients.
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