I'm trying to find a Webmail that I can install on my Web Host (the host had PHP and MySQL, no access to apache config or php.ini except by .htaccess and some configs in local php.ini file).

I'm currently redirecting my emails to gmail but I want to stay more in control of my things. So I'm looking for something like gmail, OpenSource with a good community behind it for security fixes and update, that can be installed on my Web Host. I found something interesting (http://www.zimbra.com/downloads/os-downloads.html) but I need to install the app on the Linux server and it seems to be more than just a simple PHP application.

I don't even know if what I'm looking for is technically possible and if it exists. Any suggestion is welcome!

4 Answers 4


One of the most feature rich email server solutions that I've ever used was called atmail. It's basically an exchange replacement done on a php/mysql platform. If you do all the add-ons, it gives you calendar sync, webmail, active sync, etc. With all those features, though, it's not free.

What I tell most of my clients is that if they're not going with one of the big guys (MSN, Gmail) or a hosted solution like AppRiver, to consider just getting a cheap email account from a provider like HostGator or GoDaddy. They're simple to administer, cheap, and do all you'd ever need basic email to do. They do IMAP, webmail, POP, forwarding, lists, etc. Most of the time, it's all included in the cost of hosting. No software to install and few configurations required.

  • It looks like Atmail is now free and OpenSource at atmail.org but the website is currently down. I checked the commercial version and it looks nice. I'll check the Free OS version later when the website is up again to see if it fits my needs.
    – Gabriel
    Sep 29, 2010 at 19:34

Roundcube should meet your requirements. As should squirrelmail.

  • squirrelmail is a good example of the kind of webmail that I do not want to use... ;) Roundcube looks better, I'll try to see if it's compatible with my Web Host and if it works good. I didn't see any demo on their website so no choice but to install it to try it.
    – Gabriel
    Sep 29, 2010 at 20:02
  • It is far more polished then squirrelmail. That's for sure!
    – John Conde
    Sep 29, 2010 at 20:02
  • @Gabriel: Roundcube have serious problems working on mobile phones, and you your customers are gonna to complain about this! Squirrelmail is simple and lightweight and works also on a very old PC you will find in the hall of some hotel on the other side of the globe (that is when exactly you need to use your webmail, because when you are at home/office you are gonna use a mail client Outlook/Thunderbird). Sep 30, 2010 at 10:46
  • @Marco Generally speaking anyone who has a web browser on their mobile phone also has an email program and probably would be using that instead. Having said that, I use squirrelmail in a browser for sending mail because Android's IMAP capabilities do not include capturing sent mail.
    – John Conde
    Oct 1, 2010 at 2:03

Squirrelmail is a good example of ligthweight webmail client.

In order to get it in avery EASY way, you have 3 options:

  1. [CHEAP SOLUTION] You buy a cPanel account (you get one for few bucks with almost any Hosting provider selling Linux + cPanel hosting plan). Squirrelmail is already instelled there for all your email accounts you are gonna create.

  2. [ANOTHER CHEAP SOLUTION] You buy a cPanel account (same of point 1), look in cPanel menu and you probably have a functionality called Scriptacolus. If you go in there you can install Squirrelmail in one step under your domain. The difference compared to (1) is that on this version (installed via Scriptacolus) you own FULL RIGHTS, so you can install plugins and improve skin using simple HTML/CSS, and whatever you like to make it more beautiful.

  3. [A BIT MORE EXENSIVE SOLUTION] You buy a Virtual Private Server with cPanel account. This time you have full ROOT access to your server so you can do operations suggested in point (2) (plugins/skins, etc) but directly in server cPanel installation of Squirrelmail.

For (2) and (3) only: if you don't have time to waste looking how to install SQMAIL plugins and improve skins, you can also go to http://www.nutsmail.com/ and buy (for few bucks) very nice skins with already all the plugins, so you don't even need to do the effort to install them.

For all: last but not least, in my experience I saw people complaining about Squirellmail because is ugly looking. Actually the default skin is quite ugly, but you simply need to go in Squirrelmail account options and use set "Ice Theme - sans 10" to get a much better looking skin with no effort.


"redirecting my emails to gmail"

Have you tried using google apps? They can handle all of your email, and you can configure everything you need. My company hosts all of their email on Google Apps, and it saves a TON of configuration nightmares. As an added plus, you get all of the other apps also.

Google basically gives you your own custom Gmail, with all of the backend controls you might want.

  • I know about Google Apps. I redirected my domain name email to gmail before they released the Apps thing. I read about it but didn't switch to it because I would prefer, if I can find something, to host my own things on my server. If I cannot find anything that suits my need, I'll switch to Google Apps.
    – Gabriel
    Sep 29, 2010 at 19:03

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