I hate webmail. I am the type of person who needs to go fast and webmail interfaces are just too slow for my taste. That said, I have had too many crashes on my computer's hard disk and/or Outlook to completely trust my own system. I have had clients ask me about this topic as well, so I thought I'd post a little summary.

Each type of system has pros and cons:

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Type of Mail Access Pros Cons
Webmail client
  • Mail stays on server (remote)
  • You can access from any computer with an Internet connection
  • Features such as folders, spam protection
  • Server crash=mail gone!
  • Must be connected to Internet to view mail
  • Cumbersome and slower to use
  • Too much saved mail takes up your server space (which you pay for!)
Mail Client on your computer
  • Mail stays on your local computer
  • Mail downloads all at once then you can access whether connected or not
  • Features such as folders, signatures, mail rules
  • Computer or Outlook crash=mail gone!
  • Once downloaded, messages are not on server
  • Not as easily accessed from any computer





Many people prefer webmail clients because they can access from any computer. In trying to find a way to do both, I have come up with a solution that works for me.

I set up Outlook to retrieve mail from all my accounts. In the advanced properties, I tell Outlook to "keep a copy of messages on the server". There is an option to delete after a certain amount of days, but what I do is just backup my oulook data file then go delete all messages from the server.

If (or should I say WHEN) my outlook or computer crashes, I can then reinstall the most recent backup of my data file (including address book and calendar), and go to the server and download and view any messages that have come in since.

This system has worked well for me and saved me from missing mail when Outlook issues come up. It also allows me to view webmail if I'm away. I just save the important messages and when I'm back on my office computer, they will then download.