Ever since the invention of email was brought forth into the world, the age old question has persisted: webmail or desktop? The Internet caught fire in 1997, and at that time, Hotmail was the major player on the webmail scene. From a business perspective, having a Hotmail address wasn’t exactly a sign of being established. Most business people clung to their desktop account for dear life, thinking that a non-Hotmail address was instant credibility. But over the years there has been a significant change in that thought pattern. It is now possible to maintain a webmail account without using a generic name that calls reputation into question. In order to know if it is right for you, however, you must first weigh the pros and the cons of these two very popular forms of communication.
Accessibility: Webmail bears the advantage of being accessible at any place and time no matter if you have your computer with you or not. For today’s business person this makes the email form preferable to desktop email because it allows them to take care of pressing matters more easily. Instead of lugging around a laptop, you can simply duck in to an Internet cafe, take care of what you need to, and then go on about your business. When confined to the desktop, matters must wait until you are able to make it back to the home office.
Installation: With desktop mail, you will have to download a program to your computer. Doing so means that hard drive space is consumed. Add in messages and attachments, and storage capacity shrinks. This may not be a big deal if you don’t use the computer for entertainment purposes. However, if you like to keep music downloads and movies at the ready, that can eat away at the available room. Webmail is maintained online. That means no matter how large an email is, it’s maintained at a site other than your home computer, allowing greater flexibility in the files that you keep.
Usage: One drawback of Webmail is that you may sometimes need to use it when there is maintenance going on or the service is experiencing technical issues. When this happens, you’re out of luck, no matter if you have a viable Internet connection or not. Desktop emails can be viewed online (including non-web hosted attachments). If you deal in TIFFs, Word docs, and PDF files, this can be highly advantageous.
However, when you experience Internet connection problems, you’re out of luck in both cases. Transferring data like emails and attachments requires a constant use of the Internet. And desktop email programs can still be subject to tech issues. With webmail, assigned pros are working to fix issues. Desktop email puts the burden on you.