Advantages of webmail – web based email

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I was having a discussion with my neighbour – a good friend. Both of us have email accounts from the same ISP. She uses Outlook Express to download messages while I prefer webmail. Which one of us is ‘more correct’, if you know what I mean? Could you tell me the advantages of webmail over Outlook Express?
Janet Murphy

As you would probably know, there are two popular ways to access email – through webmail (interface) and with email clients. I suppose webmail is an easier approach because one doesn’t need to install and learn to use additional software; you can open your email account with a web browser and an internet connection (of course)… but does this mean webmail better? Hmm.

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There are some great advantages of using email programs such as Outlook Express too! So if were to get into a friendly argument with someone, you need to run through all the advantages of webmail (or web based email) to win your case.

FYI, the term webmail is also used to refer to email accounts provided by services like Hotmail, Yahoo or Gmail. I believe the popularity of email is because of such web based services that brought it to the masses. If email was available only to a lucky few, it would have died quickly like the Iridium phone.

Which is better – Webmail or email client?

It’s not easy to say which approach – webmail or email client – is better for accessing email accounts. Why? Because it’s like comparing apples with oranges. It all depends on how you want to use the email account. For instance, if you are a frequently away from your computer, webmail is definitely a better option. It’s all about what fits your needs and how you feel comfortable. By the way, you can access the same email account with both webmail and an email program which might be the best solution for some people – check the end of this page for details.

Webmail advantages

Anyway, here are some advantages of webmail that I came up with.

Using webmail and email clients together

You can use both the webmail interface and an email client to access the same email account – I know of a few people who do this. The only thing one needs to take care of is not to have the messages deleted from the server once they have been downloaded by the email program. This option is, typically, found under the email account settings in the program.

For example, to configure Outlook Express, Windows Mail and Windows Live Mail, the default email clients of Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7, respectively; follow the steps below:

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