Best Self Hosted Email Clients

Best Self Hosted Email Clients

In the world dominated by Google, it’s easy to forget that there are actually many compelling alternatives to Gmail. In this article, we explore self-hosted email clients, which are perfect for those who desire more freedom and aren’t afraid to deal with the technical intricacies involved in setting up a self-hosted email client.Let’s take a look at top 5 best self-hosted email clients that are currently available for you to choose from. In the second part of this article, we explain how you can install and configure our top pick, Roundcube, on your own server to enjoy a fully personalized emailing experience and better control over your data.

1. Roundcube

Roundcube has been a popular email client for over 10 years. Its most prominent feature is the pervasive use of AJAX technology. Written in PHP, Roundcube can be easily deployed in conjunction with a LAMP stack or any of its variations that support the PHP programming language.

Roundcube is a free, open-source email client that is available in over 70 languages. It features advanced privacy protection mechanisms, a full-featured address book with groups and LDAP connectors, canned response templates, a template system for custom skins, and it can be extended with third-party plugins.

If there is something to be criticized about Roundcube, it would be the outdated look of its interface. While Gmail, Outlook, and other popular email services have significantly improved their user experience, Roundcube has stayed mostly the same. Some Roundcube users actually prefer this because not having to re-learn how to use the client every now and then allows them to be more productive.

2. Rainloop

If you are looking for a Gmail alternative that has a modern user interface design, complete support of IMAP and SMTP protocols including SSL and STARTTLS, and integrations with popular social media sites and cloud file storage services, Rainloop is a great option.

Rainloop is a simple, PHP-based email client that doesn't require a database, except for contacts. It's easy to install and upgrade, and has modest system requirements. It supports client-side OpenPGP encryption, keyboard shortcuts, and plugins.

Although Rainloop has some drawbacks, it is still a decent email client. One issue is that it doesn't have a large user base, which can make finding support more difficult. Additionally, the documentation could be better. Another potential problem is that the installation instructions are not as clear as they could be, which could make it difficult for less experienced users to get Rainloop up and running.

3. Mailpile

Mailpile began in 2014 as a reaction to Edward Snowden's 2013 announcements, which showed various global observation programs, numerous them run by the NSA and the Five Eyes Intelligence Alliance with the help of telecommunication organizations and European nations.

You can install Mailpile on any device, from laptops to the Raspberry Pi. Because it's supported by donations, there are no ads that could be intrusive and dangerous, and your privacy is always protected with state-of-the-art encryption.

The people behind Mailpile always knew that their email client had to be better than popular email services if it was going to be attractive. Now, it's clear that they've succeeded in creating the snappiest email client ever.

4. Squirrelmail

Squirrelmail has been around since 1999 and falls behind other email clients in design and user experience.

Despite the many advantages of other email clients, many organizations still prefer Squirrelmail. Some of the reasons for its popularity include that it is available for any platform that supports PHP, including Linux, FreeBSD, macOS, and the server variants of Microsoft Windows. Additionally, there are over 200 third-party plugins available for download from the SquirrelMail website that extend the client’s functionality.

If you're looking for an email client that is reliable and secure, Squirrelmail is a great choice. It has been around for nearly 20 years and is still a popular email client.

5. Horde Mail

Horde Mail is an email client that is part of the Horde groupware. The purpose of the Horde framework is to provide a way to rapidly develop web applications that are based on standards and are able to use existing platforms and backends.

Other applications that use the Horde framework include Ingo (a manager for email filter rules), Sork (a collection of four modules for account management), Kronolith (a calendar application), Mnemo (a note manager), Nag (a task list manager that can be used by multiple users), Turba (a contact manager), and several others.

Some of the features of Horde Mail are that it supports IMAP, POP3, and SMTP protocols, has native PGP encryption, comes with a WYSIWYG HTML editor for composing messages, and can download multiple attachments as a single ZIP file.

How to Install and Configure Roundcube

In this section, we will provide a basic overview of the Roundcube set up process to give you an idea of what is involved. Our instructions are not meant to replace the official installation guide Before you begin your research, you should take some time to verify that you meet all the requirements for the project. This will ensure that your research is far more comprehensive. requirements to avoid running into easily avoidable problems.

1. Download Roundcube

The first step is to go to Roundcube's official website and download the Complete package, which contains all the dependent packages. Roundcube is distributed as a .tar.gz file, and you will need to use an archive manager to extract it.

2. Upload Roundcube to Your Web Server

Connect to your web server using scp or FTP and upload the extracted files. The temp and logs directories must be writable.

3. Create a Database

Roundcube requires a database to function, and it can connect to multiple database backends, including MySQL, PostgreSQL, and SQLite.

4. Configure PHP

Roundcube needs some specific PHP settings to function properly. The minimum requirements are:

  • Memory limit: memory_limit=64M,
  • Options that control logging: display_errors=Off, log_errors=On, error_log=logs/errors.log,
  • Options that control file uploads (e.g. max attachment size): upload_max_filesize=5M, post_max_size=6M,
  • Options that are not compatible with Roundcube: zlib.output_compression=Off, suhosin.session.encrypt=Off, session.auto_start=Off,
  • Options that control session behaviour: session.gc_maxlifetime=21600, session.gc_divisor=500, session.gc_probability=1.

Web administrators often overlook one or more of these settings, which can then lead to error messages.

5. Configure Roundcube

Finally, you can finish your installation by visiting the link below. http://your_server_ip_or_domain/installer Roundcube's configuration is complex, with over 200 options. You should read the documentation carefully to understand all the available options. check this page to learn more about it.

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