best self hosted email clients

The Best Self-Hosted Email Clients in 2024

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An email client is an application which provides you an ability to manage your email accounts. With an email client, we can send and receive emails. Self-hosted email clients (or webmail) give you added convenience compared to a local client installed on your computer.

With so many different options to choose from, how do you know which self-hosted email client is best? That’s where this guide comes in. Let’s go over the best self-hosted email clients. We’ll also tell you the benefits of using a self-hosted email client.

A Self-Hosted email client, also known as a webmail client, is simpler compared to other traditional mail clients. With webmail, you don’t need to do any configuration at all on your side. You can simply access your emails as long as you remember your email address and its password.

Also, with webmail, you can access your emails from any devices through any web browser. The data is stored in the server, so it never takes up space on your computer. The disadvantage is that you cannot access both old and new emails when you are disconnected from the internet.

That’s why we recommend using a self-hosted email client whenever possible, and only download emails that are important for you to have access to while offline.

With that said, let’s see what self-hosted email clients are available and which is best for your needs.


Roundcube is a modern webmail client that can be easily installed on any server. Its first stable version was released in 2014. Roundcube features a drag-and-drop interface that generally feels modern and fast, together with a slew of features, including these:

  • Canned responses for easy replying
  • Spell Check – no more typos
  • Localization in over 80 languages
  • Custom email templates to save you time
  • Address book integration
  • Lots more!

On top of all of this, Roundcube has extension support, along with a pluggable API for creating extensions. Some extensions that are currently available include two-factor authentication, a calendar integration, and even multiple accounts on one server.


The unique thing about RainLoop is that it does not require a database to run. This makes setup pretty straightforward. It’s a free and open-source application based on PHP. RainLoop also has a modern user interface which lets it handle a large number of email accounts.

Another upside is that RainLoop comes with built-in 2 factor authentication, along with social media authentication. That makes signing in both convenient and secure.

Rainloop also supports both SMTP and IMAP protocols to easily send/receive emails without any trouble. There are even more features included, like email address autocompletion, filtering, drag and drop, and so on. You can add these features with additional plugins.

Rainloop is also easy to install, you can try their online demo at and check whether it attracts you or not.


This is a fork of RainLoop, with its main focus being compatibility and performance. They tout supporting the newest browsers as well as tiny file sizes. This lets you check your email easily even on slow, unreliable connections. With added features such as dark mode, support for CSS plugins, a fully responsive design, and much better support of the IMAP RFC standard, this is a great option if you do not need some of the unique features offered by RainLoop.


Zimbra provides both an email server and webmail. If you want to install a mail server and webmail at the same time, Zimbra is a great choice. Zimbra is a fully featured collaboration suite that supports email, group calendars, and document sharing using an Ajax web interface. This interface enables tool tips, drag-and-drop items, and right-click menus in the UI. Also included are advanced searching capabilities and data relations, online document authoring, “Zimlet” mashups, and a full administration UI.

This is a pretty advanced platform that offers a lot more than just webmail, so it’s a great option for those that are running a business and need collaboration tools for their employees.


Squirrelmail is a PHP based webmail application, it is available for any platform supporting PHP and its initial release was in 1999. Squirrelmail is a complete webmail client, but the features are available as plugins. The default installation will include several plugins, and you can download the third-party plugins form Squirrelmail official website. It is the simplest and most lightweight webmail client, all while keeping it easy to install.


Horde webmail is a free, enterprise ready, browser-based communication suite. Users can read, send and organize email messages. You can also manage and share calendars, contacts, tasks, notes, files, and bookmarks with the standards-compliant components from the Horde Project.

Horde offers email filtering, account management, mail forwarding, password change, and on vacation message. Horde has been around since 2004, so it has some experience under its belt. The software has been packaged for all major Linux distributions and is available as a component in hosting control panels such as Plesk or cPanel.

Which Should You Use?

With so many choices that each offer a pretty solid set of features, it’s difficult to know which will work best for you. We can give you some quick recommendations, however. If you need a quick and optimized solution that you know will work with your latest browsers, we recommend going with SnappyMail.

If you need a tried and tested solution that has a large community behind it, we’d recommend that you use Roundcube. It has all the features you’d need and is continuously updated over the years.

We honestly recommend that you try and see some screenshots of each software or install the ones you like the most to try them out. They are all free to try out, so we recommend you see each of them for yourself.

That’s it – you now have the information you need about the most popular and most used mail clients. There are many alternatives to the mentioned applications, and they have their own advantages and disadvantages.

If you are having trouble knowing how to set any of these self-hosted email clients up, that’s no problem. We’re here to help. Just use our monthly server management service and we’ll set everything up for you.

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