My web host (Me2uWeb) is on a bit of a roll recently. They’ve just upgraded the standard webmail programs available through Cpanel with a new version of Horde and the addition of Squirrelmail which hasn’t been offered in the past.
Having a good webmail option is important to me – although I use Outlook 2003 at home (or Outlook Express on some older machines) I need to be able to get my email anywhere, which is the main appeal of IMAP folders after all. (Until recently, I even needed webmail for school, but now I’ve got that hooked up to Outlook as well!) So I’ve spent a while examining the 3 systems of Neomail, Horde and Squirrelmail.
Neomail is ultra-simple. The main attraction is that it gets the job done fast – and I’ve ended up using it quite often. Having said that, it’s not very configurable at all, my major bugbear being that you can’t change the folders it uses such as ‘neomail-trash’. In fact, none of my other email programs use a trash can with IMAP at all, preferring the 2-step approach of delete, where the message is crossed out, and purge. Neomail is not exactly too pleasing on the eye either.
Horde has become my new favourite since the upgrade. Previously I thought it was ugly and bloated, but everything has been re-organised with a cleaner look and it’s much easier to find your way around. Horde is chock-a-block with options, rivalling even something like Outlook, and has pretty cool management systems such as a Calendar. However, in practice it will always be easier to use something like Outlook for this – how many people with Hotmail accounts use the calendar function in that? (Even when they’ve had to pay extra for it.)
So finally, there’s SquirrelMail. Really a half-way house between the sparse Neomail and fully-featured Horde, it boasts a simple but not unattractive interface which can be customised quite nicely. I can certainly see myself using it where I’d used Neomail before, with no loss of speed.
Incidentally, I signed into my never-used Yahoo mailbox recently and couldn’t believe how horrible the whole thing was – oppressive advertising, ugly layouts and tonnes of spam to an address that I’ve never published. Urgh!