BDES: RoundCube

Today on the Battle of the Domain Email Services we have RoundCube Webmail (www.roundcube.net). This cool software package costs nothing at all, and it behaves a lot like a desktop email program like Thunderbird.

Basically you create an IMAP inbox on your server for each user. Then you install RoundCube by FTPing the whole thing, editing a couple of files, and adding some tables to a database. You can edit all the images and template files to your hearts content, making this email system look exactly how you want it. If you’re a PHP freak, you can even open up end edit parts of the script’s inner workings to customize things even further.

You log in by going to www.yourdomain.com/the_folder_you_installed_roundcube_in/. You enter your username and password and you’re in. The inbox sort of reminds me of GMail, but with more AJAX-based functions. You can drag and drop messages, select multiple items, and more.

This is one slick script. It seems that it would be capable of running a small email service (not Yahoo-sized). All you’d need would be a script to create IMAP accounts on your server.

Advantages:

  • Mega AJAX! This is nearly as cool as GMail for your domain.
  • The ultimate in customization.
  • Nice and user-friendly.
  • It’s all on your server so you have infinite control over everything.

Disadvantages:

  • You have to set everything up yourself.
  • This is beta software, so there are occasional bugs and quirks.
  • It’s all on your server, so make sure you have storage space.

Basically, this is a great email program for those of you with the experience to set it up. It’s the alternative you should go with if you find Gmail For Your Domain too limiting in terms of customization. If you know some PHP, this is the script for you. You can add a quick-login form to your site’s mainpage if you can script one (or if you ask on the RoundCube forum). RoundCube is a great option for domain email — as long as you have the experience to set it up.


 

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