5 Best Free and Open Source Web-Based Email Clients

Email remains the killer information and communications technology. Email volume shows no sign of diminishing, despite the increasing popularity of collaborative messaging tools.

Messages are exchanged between hosts using the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol with software programs called mail transfer agents, and delivered to a mail store by programs called mail delivery agents, frequently referred to as email clients.

Email clients offer a variety of features. Many email clients offer a slew of features, some stick with just the basics. At the end of the day, what is important is that you find an email client that offers what you need, it is reliable, and works well on your computer.

Thunderbird is widely regarded as an exceptional open source desktop email client, especially on Linux. It is highly customizable, has a rich set of features, and is geared for both novices and professional users. But you may prefer a web-based email client.

Gmail is a free email service which offers 15GB of storage, a search-oriented interface and a ‘conversation view’. It’s hugely popular with more than 1.8 billion active users. But you might not like the automated scanning of email content. The following programs are alternatives to Gmail.

The chart below summarises our findings. They are all free and open source goodness.

Ratings chart for the best free and open source web based email clients

Let’s explore the 5 web-based email clients. For each title we have compiled its own portal page, a full description with an in-depth analysis of its features, together with links to relevant resources.

Web-Based Email Clients
RoundCubeBrowser-based multilingual IMAP client. It offers a complete feature set
MailpileClient with user-friendly encryption and privacy features
SnappyMailSimple, modern, lightweight fork of RainLoop
RainLoopModern and fast web-based email client
SquirrelMailWebmail package written in PHP

If you prefer graphical clients, read this article. Or you may prefer console based email clients. If so, read this roundup.

Best Free and Open Source SoftwareRead our complete collection of recommended free and open source software. Our curated compilation covers all categories of software.

The software collection forms part of our series of informative articles for Linux enthusiasts. There are hundreds of in-depth reviews, open source alternatives to proprietary software from large corporations like Google, Microsoft, Apple, Adobe, IBM, Cisco, Oracle, and Autodesk.

There are also fun things to try, hardware, free programming books and tutorials, and much more.
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