What is Webmail?

What is Webmail? Webmail (or web based email) is an email client that is implemented as a web application running on a web server. Examples of webmail software are Roundcube and SquirrelMail. Examples of web mail providers are AOL Mail, Gmail, Outlook.com/Hotmail.com and Yahoo! Mail. Many webmail providers also offer email access by desktop email clients using standard email protocols, while many internet service providers provide webmail clients as part of the email service that is included in their internet service packages. See Also: What is Email Hosting Server

As with any other web application, the main advantage of webmail over the use of desktop email clients is the ability to send and receive email from any web browser. The main disadvantage is the need to connect to the Internet when using it. Other software also exists to integrate the email functionality part into the OS (eg creating messages directly from third-party applications via MAPI)

Initial implementation
The first Web Mail Implementation was developed at CERN in 1993 by Phillip Hallam-Baker as a test of the HTTP protocol stack. This led to the discovery that the POST method specification is incorrect, requires the introduction of the Content-Length header. The CERN-PTG daemon was released later that year but was not developed further.

In the early days of the web, in 1994 and 1995, some people worked to enable email to be accessible via a web browser. In Europe, there are three implementations, “WWW Mail” Søren Vejrum, “WebMail” Luca Manunza, and Remy Wetzels ‘WebMail’, while in the United States, Matt Mankins writes “Webex”. Three of these initial applications are perl scripts that include complete source code available for download. Remy Wetzels version is a CGI program written in C language on Unix.

In 1994, Bill Fitler, while in Lotus cc: Mail in Mountain View, California, began working on a web-based email implementation as a CGI program written in C on Windows NT, and demonstrated it openly in the Lotusphere on January 24, 1995.

“WWW Mail” Søren Vejrum was written while he studied and worked at Copenhagen Business School in Denmark, and was released on February 28, 1995. Webmail “WebMail” Luca Manunza was written while he was working on CRS4 in Sardinia, with the first Release source on March 30 1995. Remy Wetzels ‘WebMail’ was written as he studied at Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands for DSEand which was released early January 1995. In the United States, Matt Mankins, under the tutelage of Dr. Burt Rosenberg at the University of Miami, released “Webex” source code Application in a post to comp.mail.misc on August 8, 1995, although it has been used as a primary email application at the School of Architecture where Mankins worked a few months earlier.

Meanwhile, Bill Fitler’s webmail implementation was further developed as a commercially announced product Lotus and released in the fall of 1995 as a cc: Mail for the World Wide Web 1.0, thus providing an alternative way of accessing Mailboxes Mail: cc Means to be a cc: app Mail desktops operated either through dialup as well as within local area network boundaries). See Also: What is Email (Electronic Mail)

Early webmail commercialization was also achieved when “Webex” – unrelated to the web conference company – went on sale by the Mankins company, DotShop, Inc., at the end of 1995. In DotShop, “Webex” changed its name. To “EMUmail”, which will be sold to companies like UPS and Rackspace until its sale to Accurev in 2001. EMUmail is one of the first apps to include a free version that includes embedded ads and licensed versions that are not.

Hotmail and RocketMail Four11 were launched in 1996 as a free service and soon became very popular.

Broad spread
Since the 1990s developing, and entering the 2000s, it became more common for the general public to have access to webmail because:

Many Internet service providers (such as EarthLink) and web hosting providers (such as Verio) start bundling webmail into their service offerings (often simultaneously with POP / SMTP services); See Also: What is Email Service Provider

Many other companies (such as universities and large corporations) are also starting to offer webmail as a way for their community of users to access their email (managed locally or outsourced);

Webmail service providers (such as Hotmail and RocketMail) appeared in 1996 as a free service to the general public, and are rapidly gaining in popularity.

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