7 Best Open Source Web-Based Email Clients

Even if decentralized technology takes over the internet, email services will continue to exist.

But with big tech companies trying to control all the new aspects of emerging technology, how are you responsible for your email service?

A self-hosted open source webmail service is always an option worth considering, whether it’s a business/enterprise or an individual. Your servers, your digital infrastructure and your email service platform. This way, you don’t have to rely on vendors or third parties to manage your email service. You do it your way.

Why Self-Host Email Services?

The best web-based open source email clients 1

This is Not a one-click process Self-hosted service, you can use it as a web-based email client or sync with your email application.

So why bother? Can’t you use some of the best privacy-focused email services like Proton Mail and Tutanota?

Well, yes, you can.

However, for businesses and businesses, some of the advantages of self-hosted webmail include:

  • Users have complete control over email data.
  • You can build an infrastructure that meets your email service requirements.
  • It provides scalability for individuals, small businesses and enterprises.
  • You can create unlimited email accounts and email aliases.
  • Users can easily apply advanced filters and other protection mechanisms at no cost.

Here, I’ve listed some of the best options you can choose from.

1. Round cube

round cube screenshotround cube screenshot

Key Highlights:

  • Great for desktop use
  • Active maintenance
  • Most server hosting providers offer
  • Customizable User Interface
  • PGP encryption

Roundcube is a popular PHP-based webmail software that provides all the basic functionality in a simple user interface.

For most server hosting providers, you have it pre-installed. You must configure it for your domain or create an email account to get started.

You can also install and customize it on your server.

2. Sept

cypht inbox interfacecypht inbox interface

Key Highlights:

Cypht is an interesting webmail solution that provides a combined view of multiple email accounts.

While it’s built with a modular approach, it’s easy to add functionality to your plugin experience.

Unlike others, you can also use it to add RSS feeds and use it as a news reader.

3. Squirrel Mail

squirrel mailsquirrel mail

Key Highlights:

  • light
  • stable
  • PGP encryption plugin support

A classic PHP-based IMAP and SMPT protocol support. It doesn’t pack many features, but it provides the right basics if you want to host lightweight and stable webmail software.

While it looks like a barebones implementation, it’s been around for a long time, with features like address books, folder manipulation, and MIME support.

It also comes bundled with most web hosting providers.

4. Rain Ring

rain ringrain ring

Key Highlights:

  • No database required
  • simple user interface
  • light

Rainloop is a simple email solution that supports IMAP and SMPT protocols.

It also supports OpenPGP encryption. Unlike some others, it doesn’t require a database. Maintain direct access to the mail server without storing anything locally on the web server.

Thanks to plugin support, you can extend some functionality.

5. Tribes

Tribal screenshotTribal screenshot

Key Highlights

  • Bundle with a web hosting provider
  • Simple and feature-rich

Horde is an open source groupware webmail software bundled with various web server hosting providers. It supports IMAP.

I generally prefer Horde when it comes to accessing my domain’s webmail and it never fails me. It provides a simple and effective user interface and many basic functions.

Like others, it’s a PHP-based framework that makes it easy for developers to use.

6. Sogo


Key Highlights:

  • Material Design User Interface
  • Outlook Support
  • Online demo available

SOGo is a modern open source solution with Google’s material design UI and its email server.

It includes support for calendars and address books, while providing a friendly AJAX-based Web interface.

You also get support for Microsoft Outlook and ActiveSync, allowing you to seamlessly sync email, contacts, events and tasks. An online demo is available for you to try. If it sounds good, you can download it for your server.

Explore more about it on its GitHub page.

7. Afterlogic WebMail Lite

post logical webmailpost logical webmail

Key Highlights:

  • Enterprise support options available
  • Social login support
  • OpenPGP encryption

An interesting open source webmail with plugin support.

It also supports authentication with external services. For example, you can log into your email account with your Google Account.

While you can get all the features and OpenPGP encryption support through the open source version, you can also choose to use it commercially.

Additionally, you can choose the Pro version for technical support, priority fixes, personal calendars, a mobile version, and the ability to add multiple IMAP accounts.

interesting mention

Several open source projects are under active development and you can experiment.

Of course, we do not recommend using them for commercial or personal use. You can try it out and see if you want to contribute to their development in some way.

I would like to mention a few such mail service projects.

mail pile

While it deserves a place in the list above, development on Mailpile has ceased until the Python3 rewrite is complete.

mail pilemail pile

It is a fast and modern open source webmail with encryption and privacy-centric features.



Cuttlefish is a free and open source transactional email service. It is designed to be an alternative to proprietary services like SendGrid.

It is in the early stages of development.

Needle Box

A self-hosted webmail solution inspired by Google Inbox.

Pinbox is a work in progress and requires some prerequisites to make it work.

wrap up

Squirrelmail, Horde, and Roundcube remain the most popular options that most hosting providers have easy access to.

Granted, these options don’t always look modern, or feature the likes of Google Workspace or even Zoho, but you’ll have enough to do the necessary emails.

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