What is Web Mail?
Web mail is one of the most useful web applications on the Internet, it allows you to access, send, receive and manage your email through a web browser. The great part of web mail is that you can access your email from almost any computer around the world, as long as it has an Internet connection and web browser.
Web mail differs from tradition email in which most people set up an email client on one computer, thus making their only access point at one specific computer and only one location. Where traditional email is stored on an email client on one's computer, web mail is stored centrally, allowing access from anywhere via the Internet.
Web mail has been made popular by many technology companies including search engines and portals. Some of the more popular web mail services available are Yahoo! Mail, Google Gmail and Microsoft's Hotmail. You will be happy to know that these web mail services are usually offered for free. Usually these companies offer their web mail service for free to entice viewers to keep coming back to their site. Many individuals check their email on a daily basis, the more a viewer visits a website, and the more revenue a company can make selling advertisements.
Advantages of Web Mail
Email Stored Centrally
The obvious advantage of using web mail is the ability to access your email from any location that has an Internet connection and web browser. You now don't need to be shackled up to one computer at one location to send and receive email.
Maintenance and Administration
Where traditional email clients made it necessary for you the end user to maintain and administer to your own email, today, all administration and maintenance is done on the web mail services end. You don't have to worry about patches, reconfiguring software, etc.
Signing Up for Web Mail is Usually Easy and Free
Most web mail services make it extremely easy to sign up for an email account and start using your email immediately. Even a novice with virtually no tech experience can start an email account and use it within minutes. The vast majority of web mail services offer their email service for free. Many of these services do offer upgrades for a small fee per month or year, but for the most part, many users are satisfied with the overall email experience and usage of free web mail products.
Create Multiple Email Addresses for Different Uses
Many people have more than one email address and web mail makes it easy and free to do so. Many individuals might have an email address for their family, best friends, school, work or marketing offers that they sign up for. For instance, if you are tired of getting lots of spam or newsletters, create a separate email address that all of these emails will be sent to. While this won't completely eradicate spam, you will definitely notice a huge drop in unwanted email.
It should also be noted that many web mail services include a free spam guard that not only sifts through your email for added protection but also removes viruses or alerts you when a virus may be enclosed in an email.
Large Storage Capacity
Many web mail services now allow you to store over 1 gigabyte of data on their email web servers. This means that you no longer have to delete your old emails or old attachments. When web mail first came on the scene, many services sometimes offered less than 5 megabytes of storage space. Many users were unsatisfied with this amount, especially when their friends would send them files that were sometimes the entire capacity of their storage space.
Disadvantages of Web Mail
Web mail is one of the most used applications on the web and the vast majority of people that use it are more than satisfied. However, there are a few disadvantages of web mail, they include:
A normal email client doesn't require the end user to stay online to read all their email, web mail does. This means that if you do not have a Internet connection, not only will you not be able to send or receive email, but you wont' have access to your saved email online. While this is not a particular concern with many people that have continual Internet access, for those people that have shoddy Internet connections or live in areas of the world where Internet accessibility is not as stable, this can be an enormous problem.
For many people that use web mail services, the trade off of a free, easy to use service is usually the fact that they are bombarded by advertisements. For some people, too many advertisements can be distracting, especially when advertisements are inserted in actual emails. While this might not be that important when emailing close friends or family members, this might be deemed inappropriate or unprofessional if using a web based email service with lots of advertisements when conducting business.
Security and Spam Issues
Many security experts have stated that depending on the web mail service used, you might be opening up yourself to security and spam abuses. Since web mail is on a central server, a hacker can break in and search thousands or even millions of emails. Since you don't store this email, you can't control the security of it. Another fact is that services such as Google Gmail make it known that they search through your email to help their service target advertising
Spam issues are another concern. Many times large web mail services are the target of spam. While many of these web mail services have added enhanced spam guards, you might experience a higher spam rate than with traditional email.
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