Webmail vs Email Clients: Which one should you choose?

Imagine a scenario…you’re typing away writing an important email on your Webmail account; you hit send and suddenly your computer screen goes black. You don’t panic as you think it’s probably nothing major. Your email will definitely be saved in the Draft folder when you log back on. But, heading back to your email account you find that every single email you’ve ever written, sent, saved has vanished! Now panic sets in! You spend the next hour trying to locate these missing emails but to no avail.

 

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So, what do you do? Do you contact a data recovery company like Ontrack? No, not in this case.

The below article aims to explain why focusing on the following points:

  • Any email that is accessed via a Webmail account (Google/Hotmail/Cloud/Yahoo) is not saved on your computer. It, in fact, could be saved on a server found halfway across the world!
  • If emails are lost from a Webmail account it is up to the Webmail provider to help recover them.
  • Email Clients, such as Microsoft Outlook, store emails on the computer itself (or a local server) meaning that data recovery companies like Ontrack can help recover lost or inaccessible emails.

 

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What is Webmail?

Webmail is an email system that can be accessed via any web browser when connected to the internet. All emails, calendar services, and contacts are hosted on the email service provider’s online servers. This makes it handy when you need to check your email in the depths of the Amazon rainforest. All you need to do is find a device that is connected to the internet. Webmails are therefore great for those who like to live their lives on the go and need the flexibility.

 

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The majority of Webmail systems are free, which make them ideal for individuals and small companies that can’t afford/don’t want to pay for an official email service. Some of the most popular free options are Google’s Gmail, Microsoft’s Outlook.com and Yahoo Mail. Each service offers the customers something unique e.g. Gmail offers Google+ and Google Talk, while Outlook.com has Skype Instant Messenger and Yahoo Mail has its own Yahoo Instant Messenger.

 

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The main problems with Webmail

Security - If you talk to an expert, they will advise you against accessing your Webmail from a public computer. You could compromise the security of your account. This is all very well if you have trusted computers you can use wherever you are.  If you don’t however then your options are very limited.

Adverts - With anything free, there always tend to be compromises and advertisements filling up your screen is definitely one of them when it comes to Webmail.

Limited storage space – As Webmail is hosted on the email provider’s server, the storage space tends to be very limited. If you want to send emails with large attachments, or need lots of memory for your inbox, then Webmail is probably not the best option for you.

 

Further reading:

Trends That Can Improve Your Website Conversion Rate Optimization

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Starting a New Business: Basic Considerations and Success Factors

 

What is an Email Client?

An Email Client is a desktop program that allows users to access their emails on their computer without having to log in via the web. They are linked to email accounts through POP3 or IMAP addressing. This means they can handle email for accounts with ISPs and other non-webmail services. Just like Webmail, Email clients have access to address books, chat features and email, but on a more advanced scale and with the added benefit of extra encryption and more advanced security.

Any new emails come from the email service provider’s server and are delivered by the email service provider’s mail transfer agent and stored on the desktop computer. When an email is sent, the Email Client sends it to the service provider’s mail servers via the mail submission agent.

A great example of an Email Client is Microsoft Outlook. This paid for service incorporates all the email services described above plus it integrates with Microsoft Office apps (Microsoft Word, Excel, Powerpoint etc.).

 

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The main problems with an Email Client

System updates – With Webmail, you receive updates every few weeks or so but for Email Clients, it can take years for any updates to be released.

Accessing email on multiple computers – Some email providers use IMAP, which is ideal for syncing between computers. Other Email Clients that use POP access don’t have good syncing

solutions and will leave users in a bit of a pickle when it comes to accessing their email from other computers.

Backing up – Due to Email Clients saving all emails (sent and received) on the computer itself, if there is a software or hardware error and the emails have not been backed up, then there is a risk that all emails will be lost.

 

Further reading:

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The differences between Webmail and Email Clients

Even though they have different names, Webmail and Email are basically the same things. They both serve the same purpose: to send emails, file attachments, access a calendar and store a contact list. However, they do have two important differences: how they are accessed and how to recover lost emails.

As discussed above, Webmail is accessed through web browsers only, whereas Email Clients are accessed through desktop programs. So, if you find yourself in a position where your email is no longer accessible what do you do if you have a Webmail account or an Email Client account?

 

Further reading:

Simple Tools and Tips To Protect Your Website From SPAM

Remarketing a Website That is Having Low Visitor Traffic

 

Lost email on a Webmail account

If you find yourself unable to access your email on your Webmail account (whether it’s Google Mail, Hotmail, Yahoo or The Cloud) there is nothing that a data recovery company like Ontrack can do. This is because all the emails are stored on the email service provider’s online servers. A company like Ontrack would, therefore, have no access to these servers. For any inaccessible or accidentally deleted emails on a Webmail account, the only way of retrieving them is to contact the email service provider itself.

 

Further reading:

Email Marketing and the Trouble With Auto-Responders

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Productivity Tools That Will Improve Your Business Management and Effectiveness

 

Lost email on an Email Client

Accidentally deleted or inaccessible emails on an Email Client, on the other hand, can be recovered by a company such as Ontrack. As all the emails are stored on the computer itself, if there was a software or hardware failure and the emails could no longer be accessed, calling a data recovery company like Ontrack would be the best possible option.

 

Best free email clients

  1. Gmail
  2. Mail for Windows 10
  3. Thunderbird
  4. Spike
  5. Slack

 

1. Gmail

Google’s webmail juggernaut needs no introduction

Reasons to buy


+Streamlined interface+G Suite option gives you lots of power+Good spam filtering

Reasons to avoid

-Paid plan isn’t as cheap as some

First released back in 2004, Google's Gmail has become the market leader in free email services with more than a billion users across the globe.

Gmail's stripped-back web interface is a highlight. Most of the screen is devoted to your inbox, with a minimum of toolbar and other clutter. Messages are neatly organized via conversations for easier viewing, and you can read and reply to emails with ease, even as a first-time user.

Dynamic mail makes Gmail more interactive, with the ability to take action directly from within the email, like filling out a questionnaire or responding to a Google Docs comment. Messages can be automatically filtered into tabbed categories like Primary, Social and Promotions, helping you to focus on the content you need. Leading-edge spam blocking keeps your inbox free of junk, you can manage other accounts from the same interface (Outlook, Yahoo, any other IMAP or POP email), and there's 15GB storage for your inbox, Drive and photos.

You can also access Gmail offline, although you'll need Google Chrome for that to work. Furthermore, there is a neat snooze feature that allows you to, well, snooze an email for a specified amount of time (it also automatically labels that email as important).

Other features are more questionable. Instead of organizing messages into folders, for instance – a simple metaphor which just about every user understands – you must filter them using a custom labeling system. This works, and has some advantages, but isn't popular with all users. Still, Gmail is an excellent service overall, and a good first choice for your email provider.

Google makes a paid business-oriented version of Gmail available in the shape of its G Suite product.

This more professional product drops the ads and allows using a custom email address on your domain (yourname@yourcompany.com). Business-oriented migration tools can import mail from Outlook, Exchange, Lotus and more. Storage space doubles to 30GB on the Basic plan, and you get unlimited group email addresses, 99.9% guaranteed uptime and 24/7 support.

G Suite is Google's answer to Microsoft Office, so of course you also get apps for working with documents, spreadsheets and presentations. Shared calendars keep you better organized, there's video and voice conferencing for online meetings, and again, there’s 24/7 support to keep your system running smoothly.

This more Office-like power makes for a more expensive product than the email-only competition. You're getting a lot for your money, though, and if you'll use G Suite's features then it could be a smart choice. A 14-day free trial provides an easy way to help you find out.


2. Mail and Calendar

The email client that’s good enough to come with Windows

Reasons to buy

+Built into Windows 10+Integrates with Windows Calendar+Supports multiple email providers

Reasons to avoid

-Less well-featured

While Outlook is a stalwart of the business world, Microsoft has long realized that it is overkill for many home users, so there’s a lightweight email client built into Windows. Way back when, this client was Outlook Express, but it has since evolved and in the latest version of Microsoft’s desktop operating system, it’s known as Mail and Calendar.

For any Windows user, the Mail and Calendar client is an obvious choice, as when you log into Windows 10 with a Hotmail, Live, or Outlook.com address, the account is already added to the email client.

It can also work with other popular accounts, including Yahoo, Gmail, and iCloud. Mail and Calendar has a useful feature known as Quick Actions, which, for example, allows the user to easily flag or archive a message. It’s also integrated with the Windows Calendar app.


3. Thunderbird

Mozilla's free but capable email client

Reasons to buy

+Free+Customizable+Privacy and security plugins

Reasons to avoid

-Not cloud-based

Mozilla's Thunderbird is an email client worth considering as an alternative to Outlook and paid-for programs. As you'd expect from the people who brough you the Firebox browser, Thunderbird is a well-developed piece of software.

It's free to download and installation is easy. Once running, you'll find it contains all the features you'd expect from an email client. However, what makes Thunderbird different is that there are additional customization options. You can install addons to provide additional features and functionality, and there are some especially neat ones for privacy and security.

Additionally, there are different themes available to download so you can personalize your email experience in a way that you usually can't with Outlook and others.

So if you'd prefer a free but capable email client you can tweak to give what you need, and change the look from the standard vanilla, Thunderbird from Mozilla could be well worth a look.

However, for those used to a cloud-based email system they can use on the go from any device, Thunderbird can seem a little limited.


4. Spike

Give your inbox the WhatsApp treatment

Reasons to buy

+Supports unlimited email accounts+Helpful chat-style interface+Offers encryption+For mobile and desktop

Spike is a versatile email client, available for iOS, Android, Windows and Mac, with a handy web app for those occasions when you don't have time to spend installing software.

It's billed as the first 'conversational' email app, which essentially means it presents messages and replies in bubbles in real time, in a style that looks very much like WhatsApp. This works particularly well for the type of short emails that you're likely to send to friends and family, making it refreshingly simple to keep track of long email chains that would usually be a mess of nested messages.

Spike is free for personal use, with support for an unlimited number of email accounts and up to 10 'group chat rooms'. If you're sick of trawling through messy lists of replies, it's a breath of fresh air.

For business users there's a nominal fee per email account, and enables both voice and video meetings.
 

5. Slack

A collaboration tool that should need no introduction

Reasons to buy


+Excellent interface+Impressive free version+Communications platform

Reasons to avoid

-Not email

Slack isn't an email client as much as an online communications and collaboration tool that aims to replace the need for email.

It’s an incredibly smart platform, and you can get it on mobile and desktop devices. It allows for the sending of direct messages (DMs) and files to a single person or a group of employees, and there’s the ability to organise conversations into different channels (perhaps for specific projects, one for technical support, general chat, and so forth).
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The app also supports video calling. You can use the feature to talk to your colleagues about projects and work in-depth, without having to type everything into a DM. While this isn’t a replacement for cloud storage services, you are able to drag, drop and share files with your colleagues directly within Slack. It’s also compatible with services such as Google Drive, Dropbox and Box.

To round things off, Slack even has a free version, although unsurprisingly it has limitations (in terms of the number of messages stored, overall storage space and so forth).


Best paid email clients

    Microsoft Outlook
    eM Client
    Mailbird
    Inky
    Hiri

Microsoft Outlook
(Image credit: Microsoft )
1. Microsoft Outlook
Microsoft’s classic email client
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Reasons to buy
+Trusted by businesses worldwide+The ‘gold standard’ of email clients+Integrated with Microsoft Office

Microsoft’s Outlook is the de facto email client for most businesses and enterprises, and has been around for decades, with its origins dating back to MS-DOS. Obviously it has tight integration with other Microsoft services, and that takes email beyond the simple exchange of messages.

Outlook has the advantage of being fully integrated with the Outlook Calendar, making it a snap to share calendars to coordinate meetings. This integration also extends to Outlook Contacts. Outlook is supported for the Windows platform, but also across the mobile platforms of iOS and Android as well.
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Microsoft Outlook is available as part of the Microsoft Office suite, which can be purchased as the standalone Office 2016, or the subscription-based Office 365. A single user subscription to Office 365 Personal can be purchased for $7.99 per month or $79.99 for a full year. Office 365 Business is priced similar, with a slightly more expensive Premium edition that bundles collaborative software.

 

2. eM Client

A full-featured alternative email client

Reasons to buy

+Supports chat+Boasts encryption+Modern interface+For Windows and Mac

eM Client has been around for nearly 10 years now, and throughout that long development it's evolved into the best alternative email client for Windows.

It offers a wide array of features, including a calendar, contacts and chat. Support is provided for all the major email services including Gmail, Yahoo, iCloud and Outlook.com. The latest version also offers PGP encryption, live backup, basic image editing capabilities and auto-replies for Gmail.

There is a free tier, but you need the Pro version for commercial use, and that also gives you VIP support and unlimited accounts (the free product is limited to two email accounts). The Pro version has a one-time license fee.
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eM Client makes it easy to migrate your messages from Gmail, Exchange, iCloud and Outlook.com – just enter your email address and the client will adjust the appropriate settings for you. eM Client can also import your contacts and calendar, and it's easy to deselect these options if you'd prefer to manage them separately.

There's an integrated chat app too, with support for common platforms including Jabber and Google Chat, and the search function is far superior to those you'll find in webmail interfaces.


3. Mailbird
The email client that bristles with app integrations

Reasons to buy

+Loads of built-in apps+Affordable +Customizable interface

Reasons to avoid

-Lacks filters support

Mailbird is an email client that promises to “save time managing multiple accounts,” and to make your email “easy and beautiful”. It comes in two main versions: Personal and Business.

While beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, as they say, it’s undeniable that Mailbird Business offers many free themes to make email a more enjoyable and customizable experience.

Unlike some more Microsoft-centric email clients, Mailbird Business supports a diverse range of integrated apps, including WhatsApp, Google Docs, Google Calendar, Facebook, Twitter, Dropbox and Slack, all making for a better streamlined workflow. However, one downside to bear in mind here is that there’s no support for filters or rules to organize your inbox.

Mailbird Personal is available for free, with Mailbird Business available as a subscription or a one-time lifetime license.


4. Inky

The anti-phishing email client

Reasons to buy

+Built around security +Finds phishing emails that other clients miss

Reasons to avoid

-Less focus on non-security features

Inky is an email client that focuses on security, using “sophisticated AI, machine learning and computer vision algorithms” to block all manner of phishing attacks which might otherwise get through.

This client uses an ‘Inky Phish Fence’ that scans both internal and external emails to flag phishing attempts. The proprietary machine learning technology can literally read an email to determine if it has phishing content, and then is able to quarantine the email, or deliver it with the malicious links disabled. It also takes things a step further and offers an analytics dashboard, which allows an administrator to see patterns of attacks based on dates, or targeted users.

The Inky email client does offer a free trial, but sadly, pricing details aren’t made available on the Inky website. However, the site does note that pricing is per mailbox per month on a subscription, with volume discounts available.

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