Email Clients


An email client, email reader, or more formally mail user agent (MUA), is a computer program used to access and manage a user's email.

The term can refer to any system capable of accessing the user's email mailbox, regardless of it being a mail user agent, a relaying server, or a human typing on a terminal. In addition, a web application that provides message management, composition, and reception functions is sometimes also considered an email client, but more commonly referred to as webmail.

Popular locally installed email clients include Microsoft Outlook, IBM Lotus Notes, Pegasus Mail, Mozilla's Thunderbird, KMail in the Kontact suite, Evolution and Apple Inc.'s Mail.

Popular web-based email clients include: Gmail, Yahoo! Mail,, Lycos mail, and Hotmail.

Graphical Email Clients

We provide configuration settings for popular graphical email clients below. The CSE IT staff recommends Mozilla Thunderbird. It's reliable, supports SSL, and includes a built-in newsreader and LDAP contact management interface (which you can configure to import the UB Directory).

Text-Based Email Clients

Text-based email clients seem old and out-dated, but like everything else, there are trade-offs between text-based and graphical email packages.


  • You do not expose yourself to the email-based viruses that have become common. Even if you read a virus-infected message from your home PC using pine on one of the CSE UNIX machines, the virus will not harm the CSE UNIX machine and will not be "transmitted" to your home PC (this is NOT the case if you were reading the same message using Thunderbird or Outlook directly on your home PC - your home PC could become infected).
  • Some of the issues related to sending email from off-campus are not problems when using text-based packages.
  • You will be able to use the exact same method for processing email no matter what platform you are working on and where you are logged in from.


  • The biggest disadvantage of the text based packages is that processing special format files sent as attachments (e.g. word processor files, spreadsheets, etc) is a little bit harder.