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SquirrelMail vs. RoundCube vs. Horde: Why does every web hosting company come with these three email clients?

Articles in Professional Tools | By roxblade

Published 3 months agoFri, 25 Jan 2019 04:59:27 -0800 | Last update 3 months agoTue, 19 Feb 2019 01:55:36 -0800

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SquirrelMail vs. RoundCube vs. Horde

Why does every web hosting company come with these three email clients?

cPanel, perhaps the most known portal for managing the backend of your hosting, comes with three options to choose from when it comes to Webmail applications. And following that, almost any other similar platform comes with the same three. And to be honest, there isn’t much of a difference between the three. It depends more on personal preference.

Note that Squirrelmail is discontinued on cPanel. cPanel and WHM version 76 have depreciated functionality (dropped support, basically). It has been removed by default in cPanel and WHM version 78. You can still use it on cPanel, or other portals. Find more about the discontinuation here:

SquirrelMail vs. RoundCube vs. Horde: Which Should You Choose?

First of All, Figure Out Why You Need Webmail

Well, the first thing you should do is understand why you would be using the Webmail client. Now, a business email is very important. It improves business authority, credibility, branding, and promotes uniqueness to have a brand-specific email address where your customers can reach you.

Now, just like how you can choose from a number of content management systems for your business website like WordPress, Drupal, and so on – you also have the same power of choice when it comes to your Webmail client.

All Webmails, including these three, cover the basic functions like creating and sending emails (duh), a trash or bin folder, address book, forwarding, attachments, CC and BCC, junk or spam mail folders, folders for categorizing (sort of like labels), mark as unread or read, and so on.

SquirrelMail: Simplicity Without Clutter

It is the “Webmail for nuts.” Yes, it’s discontinued from cPanel and the last update of the SquirrelMail was back on May 30th, 2013, but SquirrelMail still stands strong as a popular name. The reason for discontinuation was that patches in the rest of the framework like PHP but lack of updating the SquirrelMail code itself. That opens up SquirrelMail to a number of potential security risks.

It has a simple interface that is good for beginners and intermediate users both. A list of emails that utilizes basic markup without any fancy styling. This is the tool if you want to have a Webmail client that offers simplicity. Reading and replying is simple, effortless, and fast.

SquirrelMail features strong MIME support, basic address book functionality, folder support, calendar, and native spell checking too.

SquirrelMail doesn’t support HTML composition like the other two. It uses a two-pane interface, while the other two come with three-pane. It keeps SquirrelMail simple but at the same time, restricts what you can see on the screen at one time.

RoundCube: Intuitive with a Visually-Appealing UI

RoundCube is the more advanced version of SquirrelMail. It’s more buffed up in its user interface but still is very clean and simplistic. Pleasing to the eyes as well. The functions are handy and you can reach them quickly. On a few weeks of usage only, you will be very fast with the shortcuts and easy functions.

The interface is tailored for decent user experience, meaning everything is a place more intuitively, made for the user. Also, RoundCube is very user-friendly. RoundCube, in fact, is the only Webmail app out of these three that supports drag-and-drop organization for folder manipulation. You can get an overview of its UI through this video:

It supports a number of very useful features starting from calendars, folders, markings, to MIME support. But it has more to offer. It comes with a fully featured address book that supports LDAP connectors and groups. Search is also powerful with the find-as-you-type address book.

RoundCube supports the addition of custom features using plug-ins, an option accessible to the system administrators.

Horde: Powerful Features for Powerful Users

Horde is the most powerful and fully featured Webmail application out of these three. You can compare Horde with any free-to-use email client from Gmail to Hotmail. It comes with features such as advanced mail filters, native spell checking, calendars, notebook, address book, task lists, and also supports HTML markup (can be used to embolden text, for example) like RoundCube. If you want to preview the interface, check out this video:

Horde defeats the other two if it’s functionality you’re looking for, whether you need a news feed or event reminders. The other two only come with address books for the most part. It might take a while to get used to all the features that there are and also utilize them efficiently, but it will be worth it. You can an example of the type of power user who prefers Horde in the video below:

Horde comes with a mobile interface. RoundCube and SquirrelMail don’t. It is also the most updated. The latest Horde application is 5.1.1 while RoundCube is 1.0.6 and SquirrelMail 1.4.22.

And the verdict is...

It’s very clear – which one do you need. But sure, if the discontinuation of support means SquirrelMail is out of the competition. But read along.

  • SquirrelMail is the most suitable Webmail application if you are looking for simplicity, no clutter, and no fancy visual effects. It has a solid working, it’s tested through time, and is well-known. It can take care of your basic tasks very efficiently. So, if mailing is only about sending and receiving emails for you, then SquirrelMail is what I’d recommend you to go with.
  • RoundCube is more graphical and really very intuitive. It offers a pretty user interface. It looks good, feels good, and has all the functions handy and easy to use. It’s not cluttered in any way, just has more of content on the page so it might seem compact to some. There’s not enough breathing space, to be precise.
  • Lastly, Horde is your alternative to a Gmail or Hotmail account. Full productivity. Packed with really powerful features that any modern business can make good use of, it is also very intuitive once you get to know the interface inside out. The more powerful features really are a huge plus point. That bonus cannot be traded for simplicity or more user-friendliness.

So, by now you know which one is for you. But if you’re still confused, I recommend you take a look at their user interfaces. All of them provide basic mail functionality but Horde provides more than the other two. Checking out their user interfaces will give you a much clearer picture.

Download more RAM. 🐏 ⨉ 0 Posted by roxblade 3 months ago

Edit History

• [2019-01-25 4:59 PST] roxblade (3 months ago)
• [2019-01-25 4:59 PST] August R. Garcia (3 months ago)
🕓 Posted at 25 January, 2019 04:59 AM PST
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