Noupe Editorial Team March 11th, 2009

10 AJAX-based & PHP WebMail Clients For a Great User Experience

Employees need to access their email from wherever they happen to be – on the road, at customer sites, remote offices, and at home. WebMail clients allows receiving and sending email messages using POP3 and SMTP protocols through both local and remote mail servers. Providing secure filtering of unsafe content while viewing HTML-formatted email messages. WebMail clients can operate under different popular web platforms (PHP, ASP.NET, ruby on rails, java).

Today i wanted to share with you 10 AJAX-based & PHP webmail client that delivers the look and feel, usability and performance of a desktop application. Some of the webmail clients listed below are open source code that can be easily modified to better suit user’s needs, while others are not. So You must check their license to know the rules.

1. RoundCube

RoundCube Webmail is a browser-based multilingual IMAP client with an application-like user interface. It provides full functionality you expect from an e-mail client, including MIME support, address book, folder manipulation, message searching and spell checking. RoundCube Webmail is written in PHP and requires a MySQL or Postgres database. The user interface is fully skinnable using XHTML and CSS 2.

ajax webmail clients

2. Zimbra

Zimbra provides open source email and calendar groupware software, with a browser-based AJAX client to deliver a rich experience with a message conversation view and visual search builder that makes multi-gigabyte inboxes easier to use. They also integrate 3rd party applications as “mash-ups” via web services so you can view CRM data, maps, or anything else without leaving the context of a message.

ajax webmail clients

3. Xuheki

Xuheki is a fast IMAP client which has a browser-based AJAX client so you can access it from anywhere to read your email. It has most features that you would expect from a fine “Mail User Agent”. Xuheki is distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License.

ajax webmail clients

4. SquirrelMail

SquirrelMail is a standards-based webmail package written in PHP. It includes built-in pure PHP support for the IMAP and SMTP protocols, and all pages render in pure HTML 4.0 (with no JavaScript required) for maximum compatibility across browsers.

ajax webmail clients

5. Atmail

AtMail, a free lightweight Ajax Webmail client software that is written in PHP that allow end user receive email via web browser and WAP devices. This webmail client software can be installed on variety platform like Windows and Linux. Plus more, it support various email technology like IMAP/POP3 mailboxes, and an optional email-server mode that uses Exim as the MTA.

ajax webmail clients

6. Afterlogic

AfterLogic WebMail Lite PHP is easy-to-use webmail script with modern interface, supports AJAX and skins. Users can receive, view, delete, compose, and send mail through web interface (POP3 and SMTP supported). Multiple attachments, multiple mail accounts and domains, preview panel, web-based administration. Easy installation, supports PHP 4.1 and above. Open source and completely free. Can be upgraded to Pro version with extended features….


Live Demo

7. Hastymail

Hastymail is a full featured IMAP/SMTP client written in PHP. Compatible with PDAs, phones, text browsers, and with all mainstream browsers. Hastymail has a powerful plugin system that PHP developers can use to alter the way it works. Plugins can add pages within the Hastymail application (including css files), alter existing pages by inserting XHTML, modify internal data structures within Hastymail, make AJAX callbacks using their AJAX system, and even communicate with a configured SQL server.

ajax webmail clients

8. Mailr

Mailr is an open source webmail application written in Ruby which uses Ruby On Rails web application framework. The application is tested with Courier-IMAP but it should be possible to use it with any other IMAP server.

ajax webmail clients

9. Claros inTouch

Claros inTouch is an Ajax communication suite with key features such as webmail, address book, post-it notes, calendar (in progress), webdisk (in progress), built-in instant messenger and rss reader. It is the first open source web application which features built in spam protection and instant messaging capabilities together with web 2.0 technologies. Built with Java, utilizes JSP/Servlets with the well known J2EE technologies & uses MySQL database.

ajax webmail clients

10. Postaci

Postaci is a PHP based POP3/IMAP e-mail client that is very simple and easy to use. It supports SMTP authentication. It can handle both protocols and the defaul protocol can be changed from a single configuration file. Postaci is platform independent, it can work on any operating system which supports PHP. Postaci is also database independent, it can be used with MySQL, mSQL, Microsoft SQL, Sybase,

ajax webmail clients

Noupe Editorial Team

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    1. You missed the point Izzat. This is a list of webmail clients. Your comment is like, reading an article about the 10 best mountainbikes, and making a comment of “My car is awesome, I love my car…”

      1. It does work, simply chnage all occurence of error_reporting in the sources to only show errors.
        Then it works perfectly with 5.3x

      2. At mail developers slow to respond and do not make fix’s with any regularity.
        At mail tries to push you to a paid version, as they do not allow some features to work well with the free version – but if you pay……

      3. Yea atmail sucks. I had purchase the paid versions and it had problems and they wouldnt even support it. Worst Customer Service ever. I have emails to prove.

  1. Atmail is still free. There are two versions of it, but the one located at is free and open source. The commercial version can be found at and has a completely different feature set.

  2. This is a great list, btw. There were several on the list that I’d never heard of before and I’ve done what I thought was a lot of searching for alternatives to SquirrelMail!

  3. Thanks for including Hastymail2 on your list! Development is active and we are approaching our first major stable release since a code rewrite began in January of 2008. We may not have the features of some of the bigger webmail clients but I have been told repeatedly by users that Hastymail2 is way faster than the competition.

  4. Interesting list – I use Thunderbird for my main mail, and when I’m in the wild, I use MediaTemple’s AtMail; MT used to use Squirrel, but I’ve gotta say AtMail is a huge deal more efficient (and pretty). Haven’t tried RoundCube extensively yet, but it’s another MT option and it looks pretty good as well. Great post – Thx.


  5. I’m on MediaTemple and went from GS to DV (which only has Horde). Installed RoundCube to try it out, but didn’t like it. AtMail is MUCH better. More features, better interface. I like.

  6. Atmail is one of the worst webmail clients I have ever used! We were using it as part of my company’s website hosting package at one point… The interface is just abysmal and it doesn’t work properly with Firefox.

    Bottom line? Steer clear!

    1. are you mad ???? ATMAIL is great not only as webmail client also for mailserver. You are a donkey of the year…Ha..Ha..Ha

    2. We started using Atmail and everyone likes it. It has a clean look and great features. We tried Zimbra too, but thought it was more work to manage.

  7. RoundCube is really good. SquirrelMail isnt bad either from a usability and UI point of view. Zimbra is too heavy though its got an intuitive GUI. Some guys poited out Thunderbird in the comments. I dont find it really good compared to Outlook(comparing on the basis of usability/desktop clients). On those lines the Mail in Opera portable isnt bad compared to Thunderbird. Evolution is also worth a try(tried only on Linux)

    1. Oh I disagree, Thunderbird beats Outlook hands down handling IMAP. And since this is a list of webmail clients I would think that any standard email client was also being used then the protocol used would be IMAP.

  8. wow,

    – zimbra es java based (not php) and take over the whole machine (it provides it’s own smtp, pop3, etc servers), it suffers from NIH to comply the java norm…
    – afterlogic lite does not support imap
    – squirrelmail ajax ? very funny… (but the good thing is that it doesn’t need mysql or any db)

  9. @ Everyone,
    Thank you for your comments and feedback.

    I guess i made a mistake in this post’s title. This post was meant to showcase different ajax-based, PHP only or ruby on rails webmail clients. So its not necessary everything listed here is using ajax, most of them does but not all.

    Sorry for the inconvenience and hopefully you will find something useful in here.

  10. Great post, thanks for including Atmail on your list.

    Our development team are in the process to release the new Atmail 6.0 version, based on the Zend Framework and using the best jQuery has to offer.

    Keep tuned, should give some of the other Webmail interfaces a good run for their old interfaces :-)

  11. RoundCube is the best of the bunch as far as dedicated webmail clients go. Zimbra is sweet, but it’s way too much for most people.

  12. As you can see by the email address, I’m just getting started with installing my own server from one of my son’s old PIII laptop discards. I’ve about gone bald pulling hair over atmailopen. Thanks for the list. I’m off to try RoundCube.

  13. I normally use Mail on my Mac or iPhone, but RoundCube is a nice alternative to my host’s default webmail. I just set it up a few minutes ago – it only took about ten minutes! The UI is pretty nice and the controls are very responsive.

  14. 11 – Emexis-Webmail

    Emexis-Webmail, is a webmail application, based on SquirrelMail, developed by BRconnection team.

    The SquirrelMail client, by itself, is a complete webmail system but the concern to make it compatible with various browsers and systems made its interface visually handicapped. With the goal of solve the handicap, was developed the Emexis-Webmail, that has all the functions of Squirrelmail, but with an interface friendlier to the user.

    The Emexis-Webmail, uses the Squirrelmail message’s tools. The Emexis-Webmail’s function is to treat only the user interface, improving usability and presentation.

    The BRconnection developed the Emexis-Webmail using the same license of the SquirrelMail, i.e. the licence (GPL).

    As the Squirrelmail, it is avaliable for any platform, being necessary as requests, the Apache PHP 5 or supperior and SGBD PostgreSql.

    The Emexis-Webmail is write in PHP 5 and Ajax.

    Resources added:


    Interface’s customization, turning it much more intuitive and friendly.

    Implementation of resources in Ajax.

    Calendar for new scheduled events.

    Disk quota.

    Webmail viewing in vertical and horizontal mode.

    Access the demo version at

    Running Version 1.0.3 Stable, based in SquirrelMail 1.4.19

  15. For years I’ve used many systems, but none impressed me as EMEXIS-WEBMAIL. It’s amazing how it put together the main functions of Squirrel, but with a skin more friendly. Using it is so simple and functional that I’ve recomended for all my company mates. That is what I’ve been looking for many years and I’m feeling glad for having found it. Anyway all I wanna say is that, as user I recomend the EMEXIS-WEBMAIL, instead any other systems. It rocks!

  16. I’ve experimented with numerous PHP webmail packages. The top two have to be Roundcube and Squirrelmail.

    Roundcube has a wonder user interface, is easy to setup (under 10 min), and under continued development.

    Squirrelmail is universal, secure, and packs a huge number plugins.

  17. Good article but looks a bit outdated now (for instance, afterlogic lite client is totally different now and also supports imap, while xuheki’s project seems already dead, no news for nearly a year and their live demo is no longer working). Are there any plans to update this post to reflect the fact y2010 is here now?

  18. How to use this on a website, having squl php system. I mean a cPanel website like one which is provided by

    Can I use this on a website which use wordpress?

  19. I don’t know roundcube is pretty nice but I tried a private-beta version of Crystal Webmail and I got to say it was better.

  20. Good article.

    Anyone knows of a good web client that supports courier-imap public folders? We are currently using Horde, however the users have complained due to layout and response time.

    We’ve tried Rouncube and its a great interface, however, the courier-imap public folders are not supported.

    Any suggestions?



  21. Roundcube fails miserably on mobile applications, in particular, the ipad. Its double click to open mail messages is so different from other webmail interfaces that it is either frustrating for the user to adjust, or frustrating for the user to use other systems (such as gmail and yahoo). It also has serious bugs with the timing of ajax syncing the browser to the server, causing lost mail. After trying it for six months, I’m happy to be rid of it.

  22. Probably worth mentioning that “RoundCube” had lost its act!

    I’ve had the lot, but never I experienced such a stuffed up webmail UI like the RoundCube one … ! How can developers manage to produce such a piece of crap? It’s just the worst of the worst and you can’t even fix it, not even by updating the entire cPanel!

    WOW … 110 points for the world’s best webmail stuff-up! RoundCube, you deserve the No.1 lemon medal!

  23. And I just gave the emexis webmail online demo a go … I have nothing to say anymore!

    Maybe I try in ten years again to see if there is a webmail client available that deserves 2 minutes of my time to test it!

  24. Lots of individuals are resorting to different styles of this, as conventional methods are getting more complicated and displaying more negative effects. your posting explores a few of these alternative types of methods and the way the benefit us, thanks! thanks

  25. as a project contributor i would like to suggest . except this, we install email servers to businesses using roundcube as a webmail, we had no issues in years and i have 1 word for it: stable

  26. roundcube has been working great for me until i found that it does not handle mpg attachments nicely. it does not know what to do with them and neither shows them in-line nor as a saveable attachment. i have to forward these emails to another email account to view the mpg! and roundcube dev seems not to be moving forward. i am looking to set-up atmail, which according to the demo, seems to be handling a/v attachments nicely.

  27. AtMail never was a free email. Don’t lair. Roundcube look nice but is a full of bugs. Developers release new versions without to fix old problems.

    1. Atmail does have a free version found at, though it is based on their old Atmail 5.x codebase and is no longer actively developed.

      You can also download their new Atmail 6.x and register with a free 5 user license ( One great positive is there are no features disabled if you register with the free 5 user license, so if you just want to host email for 5 users or less it’s a great option as it has all the same features as a commercial user gets. This is the case for both the Atmail Webmail (webmail application only) and the Atmail Server (full smtp/pop/imap email server plus the webmail app) packages.

      If you need more than 5 users then you have to pay or download the old Atmail Open from (or use something else)

  28. Does anyone know how I could put a PHP script on a free server that I could access my gmail account from it.

    I just need to read email and reply them.

    Nothing else, the simpler the better.


    1. HI Gererd,

      Did you find any code to fetch the gmail using php script. I am also looking for same script.

  29. I use roundcube, I would like to use zimbra but its like 500megs?!?!!? I started the download then immediately canceled it when I saw how huge it was

  30. Thank you for a great post and to everyone for your comments. I’m looking for a high volume web interface mail client that can happily handle high volume mobile users, with typical wap-type browsers as well as standard mail call function inherent with devices like blackberry and iphone.

  31. I’m divided between Zimbra & Afterlogic Webmail Lite (have used that before), but whatever I choose will be going on a 128MB VPS, anyone know if Zimbra will run on that?

  32. I am looking for a mail client where I can make some serious changes to the code. I will need to be able to collect from about 100 email accounts, and do things like:

    I am getting error reports because someone is creating 404s as they look for weaknesses in my system. I want to be able to write code to report when I get a lot of reports from the same IP address (which appears in the email), and perhaps even block them from the site.

    That sort of thing means that I must have a database, preferably MySQL, to store the mails in.

    Of course, that is just one example.

    Does that sound like the sort of thing anyone has done? I am thinking about RoundCube at the moment, but would love to know if any else has experience with extending email clients, and what client they have used.

  33. i couldn’t get either hastymail or atmail to work with tls,, i think the former supports latter clearly doesnt. i have had both roundcube and squirrelmail work in that mode at one time

  34. Xuheki is not php-based, it’s perl-based. Installation instructions are available for debian/ubuntu. I failed to make it work on CentOS.

  35. I think that Zimbra is not compared with he other webmails.

    Zimbra is much more that a regular webmail service, it is the whole server! You should compare Zimbra with Exchange or Lotus, not the rest of this example. Yet, if you really want something REALLY Pro you should go for Zimbra.

    Zimbra is not for everyone, but everyone who uses it Loves it.

    No need to say that I’m really addicted to Zimbra… :P

  36. Thanks for researching and putting up this list!
    I needed to switch from Merak Icewarp webmail which isn’t updated anymore.
    I have tried a couple of the webmail packages you mention here and decided to go for Webmail lite from after logic that fits my needs.
    Your post saved me time in finding available webmail server packages. Thanks

  37. I’ve extensively used Squirrelmail, Roundcubemail and Afterlogic webmail lite.

    The Afterlogic one is by far the most responsive and usable.

  38. Thanks for the info, Have tried to fix all my email issues with iCloud but its still a mess, gonna give RoundCube a try.

  39. I currently use It is stable fast and seems secure enough. They very care about privacy and that’s good. Honestly I just don’t trust big email companies because of the NSA and all these insane laws they have passed or plan on passing.

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