The debate on email client vs webmail really boils down to your preferences and needs when it comes to email. Both systems have advantages and disadvantages. We’re going to focus on explaining the email client and webmail differences so you can make an informed choice!

Email Client vs Webmail: What They Do

Email is obviously one of the most-used communication online, which isn’t surprising as it’s so quick and convenient. But many don’t realise, there are actually two types of email systems available: webmail and dedicated email clients.

Webmail Systems

Webmail systems are hosted on the provider’s servers and are accessible from any device with an internet connection. The most popular system is Google’s Gmail, with others like Yahoo! Mail and following closely behind.

But, the one thing that all these systems have in common is that they are free services, which is their strongest selling point. They are convenient, easy to access, and free.

But there are also disadvantages:

  • The storage is limited – Regular users rarely realise that their free and convenient webmail account has limitations. In Gmail, for example, when you scroll all the way to the bottom of your email list, you will notice a notification saying “X GB (X%) of 15 GB used,” with the option to manage it. If you regularly receive or send large files, webmail is not a good option for you!
  • Ads – Most webmail services will try to serve you advertisements one way or the other. It’s just how it is; if it’s free, it’s bound to have the occasional ad, with some providers showing more than others.
  • Security concerns – While it’s easy to access your webmail account from any device, it comes with risks if you log in from a public PC. These computers are often riddled with malware that could be used to gain unauthorised access to your inbox.
  • Locking yourself out – As you don’t have full control over the inbox, you could find your account lost or locked if you forget your password and don’t update the information to get sent the reminders! Many a person has had to get a new email address because of locking themselves out of their account.

Email Client Systems

In the email client vs webmail comparison, email clients are more complex. They are desktop programs that need to be installed to your computer to get access to your inbox. They use POP and IMAP addresses to communicate with dedicated email servers, and the email messages are downloaded to your PC. POP is used to download emails, while IMAP syncs your inbox to the server status.  

They also need to be configured so that they know which email server to get your emails from. When you send emails through these types of services, the program uses an email submission agent that sends the email to the email server.

The far superior advantage of an email client vs webmail is their security and encryption! Offering extra protection for those who use them, which is particularly useful for store or business owners.  

Their disadvantages include:

  • Risk of loss – Some emails are saved locally. If there is no backup, and you haven’t set your email client up as a viewer, you could lose your previous emails.
  • Access from multiple devices – While webmail syncs immediately because it’s stored on the provider’s server, email clients store the mail locally. If you want to sync between multiple devices, you need to use IMAP.
  • Updates – Because they are dedicated pieces of software, email clients tend to lag behind webmail with updates. That being said, they often don’t need updating as regularly as email clients are fairly self-sustained.

Email Client vs Webmail Differences

As you can see, the main email client and webmail differences are in the way they handle emails – the former downloads the emails to your device while the latter grants access online from any device with an internet connection. If you lose access to your email for some reason – for example, the server is down – the email client vs webmail retrieval process is very different.

With a webmail service, you will have to contact them directly to get your emails back. With an email client, you could get your emails back because they are stored locally. A data recovery company might also be able to help you with that.

Email Client vs Webmail: So, Which Is Better?

It ultimately comes down to what you want in a provider!

If you are using Shopify then you should consider Shopped Email – we offer the only dedicated and integrated email hosting for Shopify.