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Webmail is a World Wide Web interface that allows users to read and write email using a Web browser.

Webmail is commonly offered as a service by Internet companies, often in exchange for providing personal information for marketing purposes.

Most webmail services have the following features:

  • folders
  • filtering (incoming email to dispatch to related folder)
  • trash folder
  • address book

Several webmail services offer the following features:

  • spam detection
  • POP3 mail retrieves possibles
  • antivirus for mail attachements
  • dictionary and thesaurus when composing messages
  • spell checker

Advantages of webmail services are:

  • Email can be read and composed anywhere a person has access to a web browser.
  • Messages do not have to be downloaded.


  • The user must stay online to read and write email.
  • Commercial webmail services offer only limited email storage space.
  • Heavy use of webmail over a slow network connection can be tedious.

Historically, the first webmail service was Hotmail. Hotmail became very popular, and was later bought by Microsoft and rebranded MSN Hotmail. There are now many other webmail services available.

There is webmail software available that allows one to create one's own webmail server.

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