Many people debate over whether to use webmail or a standalone email client to send, receive, and manage their email. This has become more of an issue as both webmail and mail clients have become more available in work environments for employees to choose between. Although there are advantages and disadvantages to both ways of accessing mail, for most people, the advantages of using webmail for managing mail make it the better choice between the two methods. These advantages will be discussed further below.
The essential advantage of using webmail to manage your mail over an email client is simplicity. All you have to do is log into your email account through whatever website the webmail portal is located on, and you have the immediate ability to manage all of your email from one central location. You don’t have to work through any complicated sign in procedures or proxy navigation or anything like that; you simply open your browser, log in, and start reading mail. Once you’re done, you press the log out button, close the tab or window, and walk away from the computer.
Another advantage of using webmail over an email client is ubiquity. Quite simply, you can access webmail wherever you are, as long as you have a connection to the internet and a web browser. You do not need any specialized or proprietary software to enter your mail or send or receive messages. If you use a desktop mail client such as Thunderbird, Mail, or Outlook, you will always need to have that program available in order to enter your email account.
Furthermore, all of these programs have to be set up to work with individual email accounts. This means that if you’re anywhere other than at your work or home computer, you won’t be able to check your mail through a desktop mail client unless you can download the program and set it up correctly. This often involves remembering which mail server to use, which port to try, and other complicated features that people typically have to write down to keep straight. None of this is an issue with webmail. You basically find a computer, sit down, get online, and check your mail.
That being said, there are some advantages to using a desktop email client instead of webmail. For example, if you have several different email accounts and want to manage them from one central location without constantly logging in and out, you might find your mail easier to work with if you have a desktop email client set up. However, this will require you to have the knowledge to configure the client correctly for all of these email accounts to work through the same program. Some people still find it simpler to just log on to each client individually. It depends on you. However, whichever option you choose, keep in mind that whenever you use webmail, you will never have to do more than log in to have things work. This advantage alone is enough for most people to use webmail over desktop mail.