We have recently done some research to check the trends of webmail popularity. It seems like the usage of SquirrelMail has fallen only slightly over the last 4 years and the interest in it today is nearly as high as it was in 2008. These are very good results for a program that hasn’t been upgraded much in recent years. It shows that the stability, speed and simplicity of SquirrelMail are still in high demand.
Unfortunately SquirrelMail doesn’t include any of the modern interface additions that people are used to in this day and age, so companies are forced to search for webmail alternatives that will not only provide solid email functions but also satisfy the aesthetic tastes of their customers or employees. Some choose to completely break away from the system they’ve used for years and move to Roundcube, while others choose to preserve all their SquirrelMail accounts and settings and upgrade to Ensignia Mail.
This is one of the reasons for the continuing rise of Ensignia’s popularity. It’s a system that presents an easy upgrade alternative to SquirrelMail, preserves its solid core base but adds the all functionality that the users are looking for: elegant themes, mobile support, drag-and-drop, etc.
Recently some major hosting providers, like BlueHost or HostMonster, decided to discontinue offering SquirrelMail to their clients and replace it with Ensignia. This way they were able to keep their clients’ settings intact and increase the value of their service at a relatively low cost.
So what’s the future of the most webmail programs? It’s most likely that SquirrelMail will slowly continue losing popularity because of its lack of modern interface. Ensignia will continue rising as an alternative because it offers a well-rounded package of everything the users need. Roundcube will continue gaining users as well, although its lack of native mobile support is something that will need to be addressed by the authors if they hope for their momentum to continue. Horde has been losing ground recently as they continue to struggle with a confusing interface and email display problems. Once those problems are overcome, it might start on an uphill climb again like Ensignia and Roundcube.
(Of course our comparison only includes solutions that are based on open source and don’t use restrictive licenses for user account creation.)
So it seems like the future looks bright for Ensignia and Roundcube! If you haven’t tested them yet, you can use our demos for both systems:
Username: test (at) nutsmail.com