Email is probably the most used feature of the web. With this technology, we can not only send  text messages but also digital files like images, audio, video, etc. attached to the email message. 

There are mainly 2 major email types:

  1. POP email and
  2. Web-based email. 

Types of Email

1) POP email account or Application Based Email 

This type of email account requires a client application installed on the user's computers. The user  has to get the service from the email service provider for free or by paying some amount.

The user  then gets user id and password along with the POP mail server configuration that is required to  setup the email client. The popular email clients are Microsoft Outlook, Opera Mail etc.

To send  the mail, a user composes the mail using the email client and posts the mail to the email server.  The email server then sends the mail to the destination address. 

2) Web-based email account: 

Web-based email accounts can be accessed using a web browser (yes, the same program that we  use for surfing the web) from which we can compose, reply, send, forward and organize email.

To gain access to our account, we use a web browser to visit the home page of the email service  and enter our login details. All of our messages and address book (contact list) are stored on web  servers owned by the respective companies.

We need an active internet connection to log on to our  account and check our emails. For instance, the sign in page for Yahoo is located at and to log in at our Hotmail account, we need to enter our full email address and  our password. 

Some other sub-types of email accounts are:

1) Email accounts provided by the ISP:

ISPs generally provide an email account for free with the internet connection. If we don't get one from our ISP, we should seriously consider shifting to another provider. Anyway, the main advantage of using an email account provided by the ISP is the support we receive; we can either call the ISP or refer the extended documentation (usually) provided in their manual.

ISPs know that many users would be new to the web and so have a helpful and patient staff to help troubleshoot problems. This is in direct contrast to web-based email service providers such as Hotmail, Gmail or Yahoo! Mail where, unless we take the paid version, the support is sadly missing.

However, there is one major drawback in having our ISP account as our primary email address for online correspondence. If we change our service provider or shift to a new location where our old ISP has no
service, we might lose the email address; else we have to keep paying for it.

2) Website email accounts:

Do we own a website? Depending on our hosting package, we can create email accounts on the websites for ourselves or our staff. Most web hosting companies let us access emails through a web-based interface or download the messages using email programs such as Outlook Express, Windows Mail, Thunderbird, Apple Mail, etc.

3) Email accounts from institutions, schools, colleges etc:

Our schools or institutions can also provide us with email accounts. Typically, we need to contact the IT department that provides the email id and password required for the email service .

This type of email account is not recommended to be used as our primary email account. It's good for internal purposes in school and colleges because it helps in being updated about things going around in school.

This email account is unusable once we leave the institution or the school.

4) Email account from our company:

If we work in a medium-sized or a large company, they would probably have their own email servers. Generally, we get our own email address a few days after joining the company.

This would be our business email ID. It is better to keep this type of email account away from personal correspondence.

Advantages of Web-based email: 

  • No need of third party software to view it. The simple web browser can access it. Most of the webmail services are free on the web. 
  • The email inbox can be accessed from all around the globe with an internet connection and  computer. 
  • It can be accessed from the different computer platform i.e. can be accessed through Window,  Mac, Linux, etc. 

Disadvantages of Web-based email: 

  • Webmail is slow to access because every email should be accessed and downloaded from the  server to view it. 
  • Webmail does not have off-line messaging services. For that, we need an internet connection. Webmail consists of a large number of advertisers and spam emails. 
  • Size on the webmail server for one user account is limited. For large spaces, we need to buy  spaces.