Need recommendations on IMAP webmail client

Posted on 2015-01-17
Last Modified: 2015-01-22
Our office is moving away from Exchange, but still will be self-hosting the email server. I'm looking for a web based email client to replace OWA. I'd prefer an Outlook client (I'm sure there'll be lots of objections to that, but users prefer the devil they know), but OWA apparently works only with Exchange and looks like it works with Microsoft's servers, not a self-hosted server. Our IMAP mail server is dovecot.

Question by:jmarkfoley
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Bing CISM / CISSP earned 450 total points
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yes it is a pity that OWA only works with MS backend mail servers. But general web based email clients are available in the market.

if your new mail server is Linux based, you may consider Roundcube, an open source webmail software package that can be downloaded from

for more other webmail products on varied platforms, please check the Wikipedia article below.
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by:Dave Howe
Dave Howe earned 50 total points
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Personally, I prefer Squirrelmail, not least because it tends to be bundled with most distributions of linux (although its php so will run on windows if you need it to) - but it *does* have a boxy, "90's" interface. bbao's recommendation of roundcube is a good one too, as it looks more OWA-like; both of those can run on the same server as dovecot (and in fact, you aren't limited to just one; you could install *both* and let your users have a choice for a change)

You can also stick with a thick client - Outlook is still an option, and again, if they are reluctant to change, there are some advantages there (such as the calendering; calendering is a major weakspot in open source replacements for exchange)

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bbao: great link on comparing web clients! Very useful to me for doing research.

Dave Howe: good idea on giving users a choice. I may have to give that some thought.

I don't want to use Outlook on the offsite computers and laptops for security reasons. If those computers were stolen, *lots* of confidential information might fall into the wrong hands. Users have up to +2GB each of email online at work (never archived), so that would be a bit of a burden for remote computers; not to mention, again, the security risk of all that being downloaded to their home computers and laptops.

Based on non-extensive testing on my part, I'm going to go with roundcube. The wiki reference on that (from bbao's link) mentioned something about "LDAP directory integration for address books", which gives me some hope that global address books can be integrated domain-wide -- not investigated yet.

Also, the roundcube wiki had an impressive list of users including may prestigious universities (University of Pennsylvania, Harvard, Berkley, Cambridge, ...); also including:
Apple's operating system, Mac OS X 10.7, provides Roundcube as the default webmail client in Mail Server. In prior versions SquirrelMail was the default client.
We do have several home-MAC users in the office and roundcube might make the transition easier for them. And apparently Apple nudged SquirrelMail out in favor of Roundcube. So, with due respect for Dave Howe's preference, I think I'll follow Apple's lead!

Any last thought before I close this?

Author Closing Comment

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Thanks for the input. Dave Howe get a few points for his thoughtful feedback.
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by:Bing CISM / CISSP
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glad to help and thanks for the points.

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