I have my own email server, running in a VM under Xen. I want to setup another Xen VM with a web mail system, to let my users access their mail from a web browser.

I want to use Debian Stable, which right now is Debian 5.0 Lenny, for the VM. I also want all my software to be free, open source software.

What is the best webmail system? It seems that the most popular one is Squirrelmail. Should I just use that? Are there any other webmail systems out there that might be better/more secure?

My plan is to configure the webmail to use secure IMAP (over SSH, on port 993) to talk to the mail server. This is so that, if someone manages to crack the webmail server, they will have less of an easy time to attack the mail server. But I guess the main worry would be if an attacker just modifies the webmail system to collect passwords, so perhaps this is pointless and I should just have the webmail talk to the mail server over plain IMAP. (Hmmm, mental note: must post a question about intrusion detection.)

Any other advice on setting up a webmail system would be gratefully accepted.

closed as primarily opinion-based by user62491, Christopher Perrin, Ward, Andrew B, Dave M Aug 9 '13 at 12:35

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aptitude install roundcube


  • What are the advantages of RoundCube? Why do you like it better than SquirrelMail? – steveha Nov 16 '09 at 22:18
  • I've read up a bit: it looks like RoundCube has a slicker UI, more like Google Mail; SquirrelMail is a traditional UI with checkboxes, while RoundCube lets you do things like drag-and-drop. I think I'll definitely investigate RoundCube. – steveha Nov 16 '09 at 22:36
  • Using RoundCube here aswell. Very slick interface (saves me the hassle of snobby Mac OS X users, sinc they don't complain about the looks). – pauska Nov 17 '09 at 6:39
  • 1
    MobileCube is a very attractive theme for RoundCube, I would suggest checking it out phireware.com/projects/mobilecube – Grishanko Aug 4 '10 at 21:39

I'm using squirrelmail. It's pretty small and easy to configure.

The "best" solution depends on your needs and personal taste ;-)

aptitude install squirrelmail

and here the website of the project: http://squirrelmail.org/


I remember researching this a little some years ago.

If you use Courier for your MTA, which means maildir storage, you could use SqWebMail. This is not SquirrelMail, it is Courier's own webmail client. The advantage of SqWebMail is that you don't need to turn IMAP on because it plays directly in the maildir storage. However, it's really quite a plain client. I eventually got tired of it.

What I use now is caleld IlohaMail. It connects using IMAP and is quite bandwidth friendly. It's not as fancy as RoundCube or SquirrelMail, but it may still appeal to you.


The two that come to mind are Zimbra ( http://www.zimbra.com/downloads/os-downloads.html ) which already has binaries for Debain 5. Also there is Horde, which I have admin'ed to and I really liked. There is an outline for Horde for Debain 4 ( http://howto.landure.fr/gnu-linux/debian-4-0-etch-en/install-horde-groupware-webmail-edition-on-debian-4-0-etch )

Both are very full featured but Zimbra seems to have a very large and active group of people behind it where Horde was a a bit of a pain to configure (this was 4 years ago though).

Hope this helps.

  • +1 Zimbra. It's very easy to set up, has a good community and has a nice interface — very polished. – user17642 Nov 17 '09 at 3:26
  • What I have read about Zimbra is that you have to use the whole Zimbra stack; I can't just add it as a slick web interface over the server I already have. If I am mistaken about this, please correct me. – steveha Nov 17 '09 at 21:17
  • Horde is still a pain to configure and feels to me like it should have been redesigned years ago. – Martijn Heemels Aug 4 '10 at 21:55

you can try on following link for small setup it work well



I'm agree with roundcubemail proposal but I advice you to install manually (for instance follows instruction on http://qmailrocks.thibs.com/roundcubemail.php)


SquirrelMail is popular - Not sure about "best".

The term "best" is subjective and depends on what feature(s) are important to YOU.

That being said... yes... Squirrelmail is very popular.


You can also install it easily using aptitude:

aptitude install squirrelmail

I'm sure everyone on here has their "favorites" so perhaps a little post as to WHY people like their choice is appropriate.

I know a lot of people like Squirrelmail because its popular, has a lot of community support, and the look/feel is quite customizable.

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