Web-Based vs. Desktop: What Email Client Should I Choose?


There are a lot of email clients out there. In case we just lost you, an email client is what you use to check your email

Some are web-based meaning you can access them through a web browser such Chrome, Firebox, or even Internet Explorer (though we wouldn’t recommend that).   The most common examples would be Gmail, Y-mail (or Yahoo Mail), and Outlook.com (formerly Hotmail).

Other email clients are desktop based.   That means you have a program installed on your computer that you use to access your email.  The only one we see businesses using currently is Microsoft Outlook. While they used to be the norm, desktop email applications are considerably less popular than they once were.

And for good reason.

Since the program is installed on a single computer, all of your email is on that computer.  Accessing it from another computer or getting it to your smartphone can range from tricky to impossible depending on your tech abilities.  Unless you’re still wielding one of those old school Blackberry phones.  Those did great with Outlook.

Sometimes, just getting the email to your main computer can be a problem.  Outlook operates differently (and more complexly) than, say, Gmail.  Because of this, we have seen countless businesses running into errors with Outlook.

  • – New emails not showing up
  • – Sent emails being returned
  • – Users getting logged out
  • – Users not being able to sign in
  • – Etc.


If we got a dollar for every Outlook-related issue we’ve run into, the entire Radiate Digital team could probably retire.  That’s why we strongly recommend clients use web-based clients.  They’re easier, the more adaptable, and these days, they can do just about everything Outlook can do and in some cases, more.

Perks of Web-Based Email

See, there was a time where programs like Outlook were superior because they could hold multiple emails accounts, they could store and organize contacts better, and they had very useful calendars.

But email clients like Gmail have all of that now.  What’s even better is they can easily sync all of those things to your phone so your phone clients and email clients become one.  Your phone calendar and your email calendar are the same too.

I remember the first time someone sent an email invite for an event and a reminder popped up on my phone a few days later.  I didn’t have to set or save anything.  My phone just knew that I had an event because of the email.


Programs like Outlook come from a time when people had one device where they checked their email.  Things have changed drastically since then.

Are there instances where Outlook still might be the best choice for someone?  Yes.  But those instances are few and far between.  And they’re only going to become more rare.

But All of My Stuff is In Outlook

Change can seem difficult.  We get that.  You have to relearn how to use it.  All of your information is in the old system.  But those shouldn’t be enough to hold you back from switching over.

Web-based clients are actually much simpler to use.  And for our clients, we’re always here to help and answer questions.  As for contacts, events, old emails, etc., all of that can be ported over from Outlook to your new email account.

That way, everything is there just as you remembered it.

So what’s holding you back from going with a web-based client?  We’re not exaggerating when we say that about 80-90% of our clients’ email issues have involved Microsoft Outlook.

That is why we personally recommend web-based email clients over desktop email every time.  It’s can do all of the same things with fewer headaches.

What’s Our Favorite Email Client?

That’s an easy one.  Gmail.

What’s so great about Gmail?  We’ll answer that in our next blog post.  Come back next week to see why we think Gmail is the bee’s knees.

Do people still say bee’s knees?  Do bee’s even have knees?  What email client do you use?  Feel free to share answers to any of these questions below.  We’d love to discuss them with you.

One Response to "Web-Based vs. Desktop: What Email Client Should I Choose?"

Written by Timothy Snyder
on June 24, 2014