Add Email Client to Your Website with RoundCube Webmail

Damien Oh 10-06-2009

roundcube If you are running a website that supports PHP and MySQL, and you are sick of using the SquirrelMail [Broken URL Removed] to access your email account, then RoundCube Webmail would be the best solution to ease your pain.


RoundCube Webmail is a browser-based multilingual IMAP client packed with plenty of AJAX goodness. It comes with an application-like user interface and provides full functionality you expect from an email client, including MIME support, address book, folder manipulation, message searching and spell checking.

The best thing about RoundCube is that it is lightweight, simple to use and lightning fast. As long as your web host supports PHP 5 and MySQL, you will be able to install in your site and access it on your domain. A point to note here: while the installation is relatively easy (and fast), you will need to obtain the email server information from your web host and setup a database in your phpmyadmin before you can configure it to work.

You can configure your RoundCube account to access any of the email accounts out there as long as you have the IMAP configuration information. I am able to access my Gmail account and receive/send emails from the RoundCube inbox.

Once you have got it up and running, everything else will be a breeze. Just point to the designated URL and login with your email username and password.


The inbox is just like any of your email client, except that it is cleaner and neater. When you open a message, send a message, check new message, everything is achieved via AJAX interface which make it elegant and interactive. At the moment, the search function does not supports on-the-fly searching, but that doesn’t reduce any of its functionality.



RoundCube Preferences

Other than the basic inbox layout and management stuff, you won’t find too many superfluous features in RoundCube. Even so, it still comes with excellent management options such as creating of folders to store various mails, compact inbox on logout, daylight saving time etc. One useful feature that I found is the ability to create multiple identities. The identities allow you to send emails using different username (and email account) and signatures. This is useful if you are using RoundCube to manage several email accounts.


Skinning and Plugins

A software is not complete if it does not support skinning and plugins. The good news is, RoundCube supports both. The latest beta comes with a Plugin API that allows third party developers to create plugins for the software. RoundCube plugins can be found at the repository, though most of them are already included in the download package. You can also find and download some of the beautiful themes at the Roundcube forum, or simply searching for them in Google or Bing.



Is RoundCube Webmail for everyone? Most probably not, since not everyone owns a domain or have multiple email accounts to attend to. However, if you are one of the those Webmasters that are looking for a simpler and more elegant way to manage your emails, I am sure RoundCube Webmail will fit the bill well.

Related topics: Desktop Email Client, Domain Name, Email Tips, Web Server, Webmaster Tools.

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  1. till
    July 11, 2009 at 8:15 pm

    Thanks for the review and all the comments. Google Apps For Your Domain is pretty sweet indeed -- gotta give them a lot of credit, but it's also much more than a regular email client. :)

    @jxs: The current 0.3 (trunk) supports a plugin architecture and there are plugins that interface with Sieve (for filtering) -- I'm currently not aware of any other.

  2. jxs
    June 28, 2009 at 5:57 am

    RoundCube looks pretty and is easy to install. I have written a short review of four different webmailers, including SquirrelMail, IlohaMail, RoundCube and BlueMamba. However I wasn't aware that RoundCube could handle plugins. Please let me know if there is a way filter messages easily.

  3. Damien Oh
    June 13, 2009 at 7:17 pm

    One good thing about RoundCube mail is that it allows you to login to multiple mail servers and access different mail accounts at the same place.

    Nevertheless, I must admit that Google app is quite useful too. I have used it for some of my sites.

  4. Aibek
    June 13, 2009 at 9:16 am

    I second Google Apps as well, we use it on makeuseof.

  5. Randall Stross
    June 10, 2009 at 10:09 pm

    Thanks, I'll have to compare RoundCube to Google apps and see who comes out on top.

  6. PhaoLoo
    June 10, 2009 at 9:50 am

    Agree with Tom, Google Apps for domains is much more easy and effective. Besides, everyone is so similar to gmail, so that Google Apps for domains is a first choice.

  7. Tom Clarke
    June 10, 2009 at 9:18 am

    I used to use RoundCube and it *was* a pretty good option for handling domain mail, a couple of years back.

    Since Google released Apps for domains, I've run all my domain email through that and it works a treat. Plus, it has more advanced tools for anyone administering a small organisation (say, 10 employees: this would leave 10 free email addresses for admin purposes). Google apps for domains includes calendar, docs, sites and more from just one login. In comparison, RoundCube is just old hat.