We admit it – both Horde and Squirrelmail leave a lot to be desired. Most people are looking for alternatives when it comes to email residing on your computer alone for many reasons, not the least of which is the security aspect. Benefits to using webmail over a client email account is, again, security (nothing to download that may automatically launch), an ability to get your email from any computer anywhere in the world by logging in, and an archive of mail that’s apart from your computer in case of a computer failure (because, let’s face it, no one backs up as much as they should).
Despite really not being a huge fan of Webmail (especially Horde and Squirrelmail), I found myself looking for an alternative in February after a nasty virus made it through my plethora of security and infected my Windows Machine. Thanks to a Linux Mint CD, I was able to immediately get back up and running as far as accessing the site and working, but my personal email was separated between an infected WindowsXP installation, and newer mail that I could grab in Horde. It was not a pleasant situation.
I began investigating alternatives, and my husband had been using Gmail for a while (which I had essentially sneered at). Using a “free” service went totally and completely against every instinct I had as someone who made their living selling commercial internet services – and I had used Yahoo! back in the day and still shuddered at the memory. Advertising all over my emails was just… um, no. Just no. He was so pleased with it (and I so couldn’t stand Horde) that I decided to try it out as a stop-gap measure, anyway.
And, well, I haven’t left.
It may seem odd for the owner of a web hosting company to be speaking against one of the offerings we have, but the webmail that we offer is included in cPanel, and we don’t really have a choice about what to offer, just whether to offer it. If people wish to use it, if they like it, more power to them – I don’t particularly find it a “selling point” because the software choices seem to be bloated and clunky, or un-bloated but bare. cPanel is a great software package, and I certainly like its platform more than anything else we’ve been on, but waiting for newer, better features at times can resemble Waiting for Godot.
Pulling your mail into GMail, however, gets you several benefits aside from the ones outlined above.
First, you can save your account’s disk space. We’ve seen people lose mail because they set their email account quota to 20 megabytes and never noticed that they hit it. We’ve seen email accounts with 1 Gigabyte of mail stored on the server, eating into the space you could be using to put up really cute videos of your cat. Popping email into Gmail allows you to use free storage on their dime, and free up storage that you’re paying for.
Second, Gmail now allows you to respond from your domain name email account at no charge to you, so you can send out email from there with the from: and reply-to: email address that you’re used to.
Third, triple spam filtering. When an email hits our server, it only makes it in if the sending server isn’t on an RBL. Then your MailScanner settings take over and based on your chosen settings, it scrubs it some more. If you pop your mail into Gmail, Gmail further identifies even more spam, and puts it in a spam folder for you to peruse. This triple-scrub dramatically cuts down on the spam in your inbox.
Speed – Gmail’s servers are optimized for handling mail, and that’s all they do. As a result, webmail is faster when you’re navigating around Gmail then it could be on our servers, especially when you have thousands of emails, because our servers are serving web pages, processing databases, serving and parsing PHP, and so on. We’re fast, but the more mail you have in your webmail, the slower Horde becomes – that “hording” of email becomes a non-existent speed factor on Gmail.
Of course, using the infamous Google search algorithm on your email is just incredibly cool, and Gmail does not put advertisements or tags on YOUR email like… ahem… some other free email services. The ads within Gmail itself are, frankly, quite easily ignored and sometimes even good for a laugh depending on the email it’s using to target them.
Gmail has directions on how to use Mail Fetcher located here. If you need an invitation for a Gmail invite code, drop us a line at the support desk and we’ll send you one.