Client email options

Last modified: 3/2010

ITw3 web solutions can include as many email mailboxes as the client needs. But before deciding on the email configuration please consider how you will use email in the real world.

Consider whether your users need access from only one specific PC or laptop, or whether they want to be able to access their email from any web browser on any computer. If the user has a laptop establish if they need to administer email while disconnected from the internet, such as in a plane or train, and queue outgoing mail for sending the next time they connect to the Internet.

Also consider whether certain emails need to be distributed between several colleagues to ensure they are acted upon, such as responses to marketing, purchase orders, bookings, or other critical incoming emails that could be handled by any member of a team. Rather than have the responses stored in individual mailboxes, you may want the responses to be stored in a shared folder so the whole team can see the progress of an email conversation.

Whichever solution you choose, ITw3 can help to configure your domain name such that all emails are forwarded to your chosen email solution.

Once you've considered your individual or team requirements, you'll probably want one of the following email configurations, or a mixture depending on specific team requirements:

  • Webmail
  • POP3
  • Microsoft Exchange

The following sections explain the pros and cons of each solution.

Webmail

If you have an Hotmail, Google Mail, or Yahoo email account, you are on what is generally referred to as a webmail system.

Emails are stored within the hosting company's servers, and you access email via a web browser. No email is stored on your PC so you must be connected to the Internet to read and administer messages. Data is generally safe as the webmail provider will have put in place data backup and recovery solutions.

Most webmail systems can also be configured to retrieve email from POP3 servers (see below) and merge it into the Inbox.

We are not currently aware of a webmail only system that allows sharing of messages or folders between multiple users unless those users all access the same webmail account. It is likely this will change in the near future, and Google already offer a groups facility, which goes some way to matching the facilities of Exchange server in this respect. For more information on Google's groups facility, see:

Mobile phone and PDA access will depend on the specific webmail provider's service offering.

If you've invested time and money in securing your own domain name, few free webmail systems will allow you to send email to look as if it came from your own domain, and will generally still have a reference in the 'from' address to the webmail provider's domain name.

To get a personalised address such as '' you need to setup a POP3 or Exchange facility which are explained in the next sections.

Webmail systems such as Hotmail, Google Mail and Yahoo are generally completely free of charge.

POP3

If you use Microsoft Outlook, you probably connect to a POP3 server which delivers messages from the server to your PC.  Messages are stored on the PC and can be optionally left on the server for a specific amount of time or until the message is removed from your Outlook inbox. 

POP3 accounts come with limited disk space so emails are generally archived on the user's PC.  Data is therefore normally discarded from the POP3 server once it is downloaded and it is the user's responsibility to ensure their PC is regularly backed up.

With POP3 you connect to the Internet to send and receive email, and can read and compose emails using Microsoft Outlook and other email client applications while disconnected from the Internet.

POP3 accounts can also be accessed via most webmail systems as above.

POP3 does not allow sharing of messages or folders between multiple users unless those users all access the same POP3 account, but if they download messages to their individual Outlook clients then there will be no shared record of sent messages.

If you want to access your POP3 messages from multiple PCs this is possible by configuring the client to leave a copy of each message on the POP3 server for a number of days so it can be downloaded to more than one client.  However, you will only have a copy of a sent message on the PC from which it was sent. There is no easy way to replicate sent messages between multiple PCs without using Exchange detailed below.

Mobile phone or PDA access is available by default via POP3.

Branding of outgoing email such that it looks as though its come from your own domain name is easily configurable using most POP3 client software.

ITw3 charge a modest configuration charge to add POP3 mailboxes to your web hosting package.

Microsoft Exchange

This is by far the most flexible solution for meeting the needs of most organisations, but comes with a price tag.

Its primary benefit is that it meets all of the needs described above:

  • Data held centrally and backed up by the hosting company.
  • Data also downloaded to PC and all changes synchronised back to the server.
  • Emails can be read and composed both while connected and disconnected from the Internet, by multiple simultaneous users.
  • Synchronisation of sent messages between multiple client PCs i.e. laptop and desktop.
  • Shared folders can be created for teams to administer team correspondence.
  • Can be accessed via Microsoft Outlook or webmail systems, concurrently and/or by different users.
  • Full branding and use of your own domain name.
  • Mobile phone or PDA access.

Larger companies with their own IT departments generally invest many thousands of pounds in their own Microsoft Exchange server cluster, but an affordable hosted solution is available from Fasthosts and costs from £9.99 per month per user.  This includes a Microsoft Outlook 2003 client license.

ITw3 can provide a consultancy service to setup, configure and administer a Fasthosts hosted Microsoft Exchange solution.

Summary of email options

Use this table to help you choose the right solution for your organisation.

  Webmail POP3 Exchange
Read and compose emails while 'offline'  

Data stored on the server

 

Data stored on local PC
 

All changes, whether made via webmail or Outlook, online or offline, are synchronised with the server.    

Synchronise sent messages between multiple PCs    

Each mailbox can be accessed simultaneously by multiple concurrent users and all changes synchronised to each user's PC or web browser.    

Accessible from any web browser



Accessible from Microsoft Outlook  

Data backed up by hosting provider

 

Data to be backed up by user
 

 
Brand outgoing emails with your own domain name with no reference to email hosting provider
 

Shared folders for teams
   

Mobile phone or PDA access
 

Typical cost
Free Included with web hosting
from £9.99 per month per mailbox

Recommended email providers

Webmail

Google mail

POP3

ITw3 (as part of your web hosting solution)

Microsoft Exchange

Fasthosts

+ optional ITw3 setup & administration service

Next steps

Once you've analysed your requirements and chosen the email option you'd like to go for, let us know and we'll do the server configuration to ensure email sent to your domain name is forwarded to your chosen email solution.

Where applicable, our charges for configuring email options are on our price list.

 
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