Mail2web—Web Access to POP and IMAP Email Service

mail2web screeshot
Image copyright Mail2web

The Mail2web service provides secure and anonymous access to your POP- or IMAP-enabled account from any web browser or hand-held device. The email reading service is free and reasonably robust, although it lacks some advanced features and runs on an older technology platform.

Pros

The service doesn't require payment or registration; you merely supply your account credentials and the service will open your email account in a browser window. It focuses on POP and IMAP accounts; however, those accounts must be set up with autoconfig enabled so that the service knows how to check the settings of your server. A home-grown email server, for example, is unlikely to have autoconfig enabled and thus Mail2web cannot work with it—although it will try to guess server settings based on your email address.

Mail2web supports many different languages and bills itself as being privacy conscious, leaving no trail of your access to the service on their website. It does not store access data, keep records, or set cookies, and shows plain text by default.

Although the service is free to use and does not require registration, you can optionally register to keep an online address book and rapid access to several different email accounts.

Cons

However, the tool does not support secure messaging—the site uses SSL connections and APOP authentication, but you cannot generate true end-to-end encrypted messages using the platform. Furthermore, Mail2web does not support three essential IMAP tools:

  • IMAP folders (it can read them, but cannot create them)
  • IMAP filters
  • Identities (customization of the "from" line in outgoing messages)

The platform uses older technology, including WAP for cellphone messaging. Older versions of Microsoft Exchange still power the site, and it's still actively advertising BlackBerry and Windows Mobile options, despite the fact that these platforms haven't been relevant in the mobile messaging market for several years.

Considerations

There's undoubtedly an attractiveness to using a service like Mail2web to check messages on the web for accounts that don't natively offer a webmail service. However, the Mail2web service's heyday, more than a dozen years ago, has changed. It's relatively rare now for a person to be provisioned with an email account yet have no access to it on the web or on a smartphone. For that reason, the use case for the service appears to be diminished, which might be why the platform runs on older technology.

In addition, it's inherently risky to offer your email address and password to any online service. Although Mail2web bills itself as completely safe, users have no insight into whether credentials are logged or whether malware on the service's own servers may be leaking users' credentials without the service's knowledge. Mail2web runs older software and the service has not published audit reports or security bulletins—both of which should be a red flag for modern email users.

It may be safe to use the service to check a relatively unimportant email account, but any account with access to confidential information should refrain from using any external service not explicitly approved by your organizations' information security team.