Webmail is changing the platform at the heart of its hosted e-mail services from Windows to open source.
Patrick Matthews, co-founder and chief executive officer of Webmail and its parent company Excedent Technologies, said the goal of the open-source move was to gain scalability.
"It allows us to tap into the open-source community and move faster than with commercial manufacturers," Matthews said. "It helps us with long-term scalability, which is important because we're growing rapidly."
Webmail was launched a year ago, offering an outsourced e-mail service. It sells directly to customers, targeting companies with between five and 500 employees, and has about 3,500 corporate clients.
From a Windows-based platform running in-house applications, Webmail has moved to Red Hat Linux with open-source e-mail applications such as PostFix, SquirrelMail, Courier and Clam A/V. The company has also upgrated its data centre infrastructure and guarantees customers 99.99% uptime.
There's a new web mail interface designed to resemble Microsoft's Outlook, larger mailbox options (100Mbytes or 1Gbyte), a message-preview pane, improved search capabilities, an advanced HTML editor, multilingual spelling checks and auto-complete addressing.
Mike Biersma, president of Webmail user Chicago Internet, said that although the new web interface and the guaranteed uptime were fine features, his company would stick with Webmail primarily because of its spam filtering and blocking capabilities. "Webmail is right on the leading edge of blocking spam," he said.
When Chicago Internet switched to Webmail in May, about 97% of Biersma's e-mail was spam, and he was spending an hour a day cleaning out his inbox . His employees were also affected by the daily avalanche. "We were getting buried with spam," he said.
Since the eight-person company began using Webmail, spam has become a minor nuisance. "The occasional spam gets through, but now I mostly get only good e-mail," said Biersma. "I've gained about an hour a day. It has been a huge difference in my business and for my employees."
Webmail allow clients to manage their accounts via a control panel, add and delete mailboxes, change passwords, view statistics and configure spam filter settings.
Juan Carlos Perez writes for IDG News Service