Webmail vs Email Clients: Which one should you choose?

Thursday, 16 August 2018 by Tilly Holland

Imagine a scenario…you’re typing away writing an important email on your Webmail account; you hit send and suddenly your computer screen goes black. You don’t panic as you think it’s probably nothing major. Your email will definitely be saved in the Draft folder when you log back on. But, heading back to your email account you find that every single email you’ve ever written, sent, saved has vanished! Now panic sets in! You spend the next hour trying to locate these missing emails but to no avail.

So, what do you do? Do you contact a data recovery company like Ontrack? No, not in this case.

The below article aims to explain why, focusing on the following points:

  • Any email that is accessed via a Webmail account (Google/Hotmail/Cloud/Yahoo) is not saved on your computer. It, in fact, could be saved on a server found halfway across the world!
  • If emails are lost from a Webmail account it is up to the Webmail provider to help recover them.
  • Email Clients, such as Microsoft Outlook, store emails on the computer itself (or a local server) meaning that data recovery companies like Ontrack can help recover lost or inaccessible emails.

What is Webmail?

Webmail is an email system that can be accessed via any web browser when connected to the internet. All emails, calendar services, and contacts are hosted on the email service provider’s online servers. This makes it handy when you need to check your email in the depths of the Amazon rainforest. All you need to do is find a device that is connected to the internet. Webmails are therefore great for those who like to live their lives on the go and need the flexibility.

The majority of Webmail systems are free, which make them ideal for individuals and small companies that can’t afford/don’t want to pay for an official email service. Some of the most popular free options are Google’s Gmail, Microsoft’s Outlook.com and Yahoo Mail. Each service offers the customers something unique e.g. Gmail offers Google+ and Google Talk, while Outlook.com has Skype Instant Messenger and Yahoo Mail has its own Yahoo Instant Messenger.

The main problems with Webmail

Security - If you talk to an expert, they will advise you against accessing your Webmail from a public computer. You could compromise the security of your account. This is all very well if you have trusted computers you can use wherever you are.  If you don’t however then your options are very limited.

Adverts - With anything free, there always tend to be compromises and advertisements filling up your screen is definitely one of them when it comes to Webmail.

Limited storage space – As Webmail is hosted on the email provider’s server, the storage space tends to be very limited. If you want to send emails with large attachments, or need lots of memory for your inbox, then Webmail is probably not the best option for you.

What is an Email Client?

An Email Client is a desktop program that allows users to access their emails on their computer without having to log in via the web. They are linked to email accounts through POP3 or IMAP addressing. This means they can handle email for accounts with ISPs and other non-webmail services. Just like Webmail, Email clients have access to address books, chat features and email, but on a more advanced scale and with the added benefit of extra encryption and more advanced security.

Any new emails come from the email service provider’s server and are delivered by the email service provider’s mail transfer agent and stored on the desktop computer. When an email is sent, the Email Client sends it to the service provider’s mail servers via the mail submission agent.

A great example of an Email Client is Microsoft Outlook. This paid for service incorporates all the email services described above plus it integrates with Microsoft Office apps (Microsoft Word, Excel, Powerpoint etc.).

You don’t always have to pay for your Email Client though, click here to read about the top 10 free Email Clients available.

The main problems with an Email Client

System updates – With Webmail, you receive updates every few weeks or so but for Email Clients, it can take years for any updates to be released.

Accessing email on multiple computers – Some email providers use IMAP, which is ideal for syncing between computers. Other Email Clients that use POP access don’t have good syncing solutions and will leave users in a bit of a pickle when it comes to accessing their email from other computers.

Backing up – Due to Email Clients saving all emails (sent and received) on the computer itself, if there is a software or hardware error and the emails have not been backed up, then there is a risk that all emails will be lost.

The differences between Webmail and Email Clients

Even though they have different names, Webmail and Email are basically the same things. They both serve the same purpose: to send emails, file attachments, access a calendar and store a contact list. However, they do have two important differences: how they are accessed and how to recover lost emails.

As discussed above, Webmail is accessed through web browsers only, whereas Email Clients are accessed through desktop programs. So, if you find yourself in a position where your email is no longer accessible what do you do if you have a Webmail account or an Email Client account?

Lost email on a Webmail account

If you find yourself unable to access your email on your Webmail account (whether it’s Google Mail, Hotmail, Yahoo or The Cloud) there is nothing that a data recovery company like Ontrack can do. This is because all the emails are stored on the email service provider’s online servers. A company like Ontrack would, therefore, have no access to these servers. For any inaccessible or accidentally deleted emails on a Webmail account, the only way of retrieving them is to contact the email service provider itself.

Lost email on an Email Client

Accidentally deleted or inaccessible emails on an Email Client, on the other hand, can be recovered by a company such as Ontrack. As all the emails are stored on the computer itself, if there was a software or hardware failure and the emails could no longer be accessed, calling a data recovery company like Ontrack would be the best possible option.

Load more comments

New code