You Can Access POP and IMAP Email Accounts with mail2web

But security is a concern, so use it only with unimportant accounts

mail2web screeshot
Image copyright Mail2web

The mail2web service provides secure and anonymous access to your POP3- or IMAP-enabled email account from any web browser or hand-held device. The service is free and reasonably robust, but it lacks some advanced features and runs on an older technology platform, so you should be careful about which accounts you use it to access.

Convenience: Great, Security: Iffy

The use case for a service like mail2web was much more common when it was established in 1997. At that time, some email accounts didn't include a web-based interface, so it was handy to have a way to access email when away from your own computer. Now it's relatively rare for an email account not to include web access. But, if you do have such an account, you can use mail2web to access it.

However, keep in mind that it's inherently risky to offer your email address and password to any online service. Although mail2web bills itself as completely safe, you have no insight into whether credentials are logged, or whether malware on the service's own servers may be leaking your credentials without the service's knowledge. Running older software, mail2web hasn't published audit reports or security bulletins, which should be a red flag for modern email users.

Given these concerns, you could still use the service to check a relatively unimportant email account, but you should refrain from using it to access any account with access to confidential information.

If you're considering using any external service, including mail2web, to check email associated with your job, be sure to clear it first with your organization's information security team.

Pros

The mail2web service boasts several useful features:

  • Requires neither payment nor registration; you just provide your email account credentials and it opens the account in a browser window
  • Supports many languages
  • Bills itself as privacy-conscious, leaving no trail of your access to the service on its site
  • Doesn't store access data, keep records, or set cookies
  • Shows plain text by default
  • Allows you to optionally register to keep an online address book and rapid access to several email accounts

Cons

The mail2web service also excludes some important features, and includes some problematic ones:

  • Doesn't support secure messaging
  • Doesn't support IMAP folders (it can read them, but can't create them), IMAP filters, or identities (customization of the "from" line in outgoing messages)
  • Uses older technology, including WAP for cell phone messaging
  • Still powered by older versions of Microsoft Exchange
  • Still actively advertising BlackBerry and Windows Mobile options, even though these platforms haven't been relevant in the mobile messaging market for several years

Bottom line, mail2web may be useful in some circumstances, but don't depend on it for regular email access.