You can depend on your email provider for all your email needs and just use their web interface to send/receive email. Alternatively, you can use an email client to hold a local copy of those emails and contacts and let you read/write emails “offline”. There are advantages both ways, and it’s important to know how to go both ways should one method fail you. This article simply describes some of your email client options for different platforms.
In the Windows world, there are many choices for email clients … here are six:
- All Windows versions, except Windows 7, came with email clients … and some were good
- Microsoft also offers Outlook (paid) and offered Windows Live Mail (free, but now retired)
- Qualcomm Eudora used to be a solid choice, but was deprecated in 2013
- Mozilla Thunderbird (mozilla.org/thunderbird) has always been, and still is, a solid choice … and, by far, my personal favourite
- EM Client (emclient.com) and OE Classic (oeclassic.com) have both free and paid versions, and are reasonable choices for those who miss the old Outlook Express
All these email clients for Windows are free, except as noted.
In the Mac world, people mostly use the built-in Mac Mail. You can install Thunderbird or others, but most people just don’t.
In the iOS world, most people use the built-in iOS Mail, although there is a Gmail app and a few others available in the App Store.
In the Android world, there are built-in mail tools and dozens of alternatives in the Google Play Store.
In the Linux world, there’s Thunderbird, Evolution, Sylpheed, KMail, Geary, Claws, and others.
There are two email servers I would also like to mention: one that runs under Windows is called MailStore (see mailstore.com), and one that runs on some QNAP NASes, called QmailAgent (see http://www.qnap.com/solution/qmailagent/). Both products act as a relay, or secondary, mail server … giving you secondary storage and alternative access to the email coming from your email provider. This is useful for businesses that rely heavily on their email, and are concerned about the dependability, accessibility, capacity, or security of their primary email provider.