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What Is Webmail?

What Is Webmail

Date First Published: 19th February 2024

Topic: Computer Networking

Subtopic: Network Services

Article Type: Computer Terms & Definitions

Difficulty: Medium

Difficulty Level: 4/10

Learn more about what webmail is in this article.

Webmail is an email service that can be accessed through a web browser without the need to download any software. All emails are accessed on a webpage and are stored on the provider's email servers with a certain amount of storage space allocated per user. Over the years, the usage of webmail has increased and the usage of desktop email clients is declining.

ISPs often provide webmail as part of their internet service package and web hosts may provide webmail as part of their hosting package. If users want to use an email client, like Microsoft Outlook, Mozilla Thunderbird, or the Mail app on Apple devices, they can add a webmail account to it just like any other email account.

Examples Of Webmail Services

Some examples of webmail services are:

  • Gmail - A webmail service operated by Google. Since most people already have a Google account, they can set it up without needing to create any additional accounts. As of October 2019, there are over 1.5 billion active Gmail users.
  • Yahoo! Mail - A web and cloud-based messaging solution that was launched by the American company Yahoo!. As of January 2020, there are over 225 million active users.
  • Zoho - An integrated email suite designed for businesses. It provides an integrated calendar, contacts, tasks, notes, and bookmarks in an inbox.
  • iCloud Mail - A webmail service operated by Apple. It integrates with the Mail app on Apple devices with features such as smart search, undo send, rich links, and more. It can also be accessed through a web browser.

Advantages and Disadvantages Of Webmail

The advantages of webmail are:
  • Emails can be accessed from any computer or mobile device as long as it has an internet connection and a compatible web browser. For users who are often away from their computers and use multiple devices, webmail is a better option.
  • It does not require an email client to be installed on devices, saving storage space on devices. Setup is as simple as choosing a unique email address and setting a password.
  • It is usually cheaper. Usually, major providers offer webmail services for free. This is unlike email clients which may cost money.
The disadvantages of webmail are:
  • Accessing webmail requires an internet connection, so when offline, users will not be able to view messages that have already been delivered.
  • There are privacy concerns with providers analysing the contents of user's emails for targeted advertising and targeting users based on their sensitive information. However, there is usually an option to opt out of targeted advertising.
  • The process of downloading and archiving messages through a webmail account can be time-consuming. It takes longer than downloading and archiving messages using an email client.


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