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I have a Ubuntu 12.04 Server running nginx/php and mail server. For accessing mail I'm using squirrelmail via https. I can't configure imaps so I'm working with simple imap.

My question: is imap accessed over https client (squirrelmail) equivalent with imaps in terms of security?

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Assuming you have the mail IMAP server and squirrelmail running on the same server reading your mails in Squirrelmail is as secure as reading your mails over IMAPS in an email client.

Keep in mind, that HTTPS and IMAP have nothing to do with each other and that connections from your email client are not encrypted.

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Yes, I have IMAP server and squirrelmail are both running on the same server. I know that IMAP and HTTPS are different things. But because I couldn't configure IMAPS I'm trying to replace it with accessing the mail server over a HTTPS webmail client. –  John G. Dec 23 '12 at 18:26
    
I don't know what problem you have but if it's firewall related and you can't open port 993, you can also use IMAP with SSL using STARTTLS on port 143. The connection to port 143 will then be encrypted as well. –  buster Dec 23 '12 at 19:09
    
It seems logical running the mail server and the email client (squirrelmail) on the same machine to be equivalent with IMAPS or STARTTLS if the email client is accessed via HTTPS. I also mention that I configured nginx, php, memcached, mysql to communicate with each other via unix sockets not via TCP ports. I don't know if this is a security plus but it may be given that there are no TCP inter communication ports open related to these services. –  John G. Dec 24 '12 at 12:21

They are different things. IMAPS is the connection from the email client to the email server. In this case it would be your web server to the email server. The connection from squirrel mail to your web server is just the web-data. Doing this over HTTPS encrypts the text but has nothing to do with the connection to the email server.

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