Top Webmail Providers


Which webmail provider is right for you? The top three webmail services, Gmail, Yahoo! Mail and Hotmail, are all popular options. Read more on NZS.nz.

Wondering which webmail provider is right for you? The top three webmail services, Gmail, Yahoo! Mail and Outlook.com, are all popular options – but which service will best suit your email requirements?

The popularity of webmail has grown exponentially over the past decade, but many of its users don’t even realise they have a ‘webmail’ account. There are a number of different popular web-based email providersavailable on the Internet, but which is the best when it comes to usability and functionality?

What Is Webmail?

Webmail, or web-based email, is a service accessed via your web browser, as opposed to through an email client installed on your computer such as Outlook or Thunderbird. Though most users simply refer to their webmail as their email, there is a slight difference, and not all webmail services are created equal.

What Are The Benefits Of Using Webmail?

The main advantage of webmail over installed email clients is that users have the ability to access their inbox from any Internet-connected computer (or mobile with Internet access) around the world. In this way you’re not restricted to checking your messages only from your own desktop computer, which is handy if you travel, work remotely, or want to check your emails using the web on your cellphone.

The other benefit of using webmail is that you can also choose to access your emails via your computer-based email client if you prefer that interface. This means all contents of your mailbox will be displayed in both your webmail and your PC or Mac e-mail client, so you have the flexibility of using, for example, Gmail when checking emails remotely, and Gmail via Thunderbird when emailing from your home or office computer.

The History Of Webmail

The first webmail service was called simply WebMail, and was developed by Luca Manunza and released in 1995. In 1997 Hotmail (now known more as Outlook.com having been taken over by Microsoft) became one of the first popular web-based email services, and one of the most widely used webmail tools in New Zealand.

Following Hotmail’s success, Google was quick to introduce their own webmail service, Gmail (or Google Mail), in 2004, which sparked a period of rapid development in webmail, thanks largely to Gmail’s new features such as JavaScript menus, text-based ads, and far larger online storage.

Commonly Used Webmail Services

While there are now almost countless webmail services available across the globe, Gmail, Outlook.com and Yahoo! Mail have remained the most popular and commonly used internationally.

Gmail

The most popular free webmail service around the globe.  Unlike most email clients and webmail services, one of the features that makes Gmail so unique is that it has been designed to group emails in a thread in your inbox. Basically opening one email will display the entire conversation back and forth. Some users love it and some hate it as it does take some getting used to for those new to Gmail.

Perhaps the best Gmail feature however is the ability to tag emails for greater organisation and search, which is something that Gmail introduced.   Other benefits of Gmail is that it is consistently fast, offers 15 GB storage and supports POP and IMAP.

Outlook.com

Providing better privacy features than Gmail.  Outlook.com offers practically unlimited storage.  Microsoft Office is fully integrated in Outlook.com allowing you to easily create or view office files. With POP3, IMAP and EAS supported.

Yahoo Mail

Yahoo Mail is also ranked among the top three webmail services, providing 1 TB of storage, supporting both IMAP and POP.  Yahoo Mail runs fast and offers an intuitive, Outlook-like interface, as well as instant messaging and RSS integration.

In Conclusion…

Many web experts prefer Gmail over all other webmail applications thanks to its easy integration with other Google Applications such as Google Documents, but choosing which webmail service is right for you depends entirely upon your email requirements and the kind of interface you prefer.