Rallying to replace webmail

After switching away from Gmail to use my DH IMAP accounts for all my correspondence, I never realized how dreadful Squirrel Mail is. I know there’s a Suggestions section where we can submit and vote on options for replacing Squirrel Mail, but I’m wondering how soon this is going to happen? Is there enough interest? Which webmail client is DH going to use? Is there any way DH customers can rally to boost support and interest or pay to get this done sooner, at least on an individual basis? I’m not kidding: I am entirely willing to pay to get rid of Squirrel Mail. My yearly renewal is coming up soon with DH and I can’t stick around if we’re going to be stuck with the Squirrel.

Any thoughts or advise are much appreciated.


Is there any reason you can’t just install the webmail client you want on your DH server and use that instead?
I’ve not looked into the possibility myself (as I have no need) but I can’t imagine why you shouldn’t be able to do so.

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As above, you should be able to install the web mail software you’re interested in on your own. check the wiki for instructions.

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I’ve found the installation guides in the wiki, and I probably have enough tech savvyness to follow along and get the job done, but I don’t really have the time to deal with all that right now. Besides, that isn’t the point.

Leaving Squirrel Mail in place is like selling a customer a car, but then making them add the engine and wheels themselves once they tow it home. It’s a terribly outdated product and needs to be replaced, and I’m willing to pay for that replacement if DreamHost would simply do it.


Then it’s not really that important, is it?

Actually, it’s nothing like that. Dreamhost DOES offer an email system–just not the one you want.

It would be more like you going to a Ford dealer and telling them you want a Chevy engine.

You might find someone that could tell you how it’s done, like what happened here… but they’re not going to do it for you just because you say you don’t like their engine and don’t have the time to do it yourself.

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Whether or not I have the time to do something right now isn’t the only determining factor as to whether it’s important.

The larger point here - which I tried to convey in the subject - is that I’m trying to see if it’s worth it to rally interest in updating the webmail client. I would bet that more DreamHost users view the forums before perusing the Suggestions section (if they know about it at all), and I would also bet that there is a good chunk of us who aren’t happy with what is arguably a very clunky and outdated webmail client. If we can rally enough of these users, we might be able to convince DH to update the client for all users, giving everyone a better webmail experience.

Ultimately, I am also willing to accept that most users simply might not care about replacing the client, so doing so wouldn’t be worth DreamHost’s time. This thread was started just to test the waters and see what’s what.


well, to answer your question more directly then you should really contact customer support and ask. I rather expect they’ll tell you no - but it doesn’t hurt to ask.

You could also ask one of the many professionals here if they’d be interested setting up the software for you (for a fee).

As far as squirrel mail goes, I personally quite like it. I suppose your car analogy works quite well. Squirrel mail is like a economy import car. There’s not many frills, but it’s a good dependable product for the price. My Honda worked without any major issues for 10 years (I wasn’t the first owner), there was a little rust on the body, and a bolted down piece of plexi glass instead of the moon roof (previous owner tried to open the moon roof while going down the highway and the wind riped it off) but the engine was still in good shape and it got me from A to B day after day. Even across country every summer.

While my Honda wasn’t pretty to anybody else but me, it did serve me well.

Anyways, I’m willing to bet squirrel mail is here to stay. but as I said before, we’re only customers here - if you want a official response you’d have to contact support.

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What webmail system are you suggesting? I suggest using an IMAP client such as Thunderbird rather than webmail. GMail is a very good web based email client. Google has a market cap of 142 Billion dollars though (making them at least twice as big as DreamHost, making it hard to compete, hehe) Is there an Open Source webmail system that you think scales well?

Roundcube looked really nice when I tried it, but it’s still in beta, soon to be RC. Dunno how well it scales, though.

When I see SquirrelMail here at DH, it’s clunky, but I figure that DH has done a hefty amount of customization to it, making it difficult to replace.


I’ll chime in with my dislike of SquirrelMail. I generally access my mail via either OS X Mail or Thunderbird, but every now and then I have to use SquirrelMail and I just cringe.

I think the two primary alternatives are Roundcube and Zimbra, both of which are open-source. As a previous poster mentioned, Roundcube is still in development but will be releasing RC-1 in a couple of days. Zimbra is supposedly more mature. In fact, Comcast just announced that they’ll soon be replacing their antiquated webmail system with Zimbra. Comcast has over 12 million broadband subscribers so I’ve got to believe that Zimbra is able to scale pretty well.

I don’t have any experience with either of them so can’t say which one is better. Both Roundcube and Zimbra are listed as Suggestions (in your Web Panel) so at the very least, you should go there and place your vote. Sending an email to support probably wouldn’t hurt either.

I wouldn’t replace Squirrelmail with anything, since a lot of people like it.

Why not just add something else? Then, if something goes wrong, just dump it and people still have Squirrelmail.

Don’t most CPanel hosts usually have 3 going? I was thinking they had Squirrel, Horde and something else.

Personally, I’ll stick with The Bat. If I get the urge to use webmail, I just use gmail.

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Roundcube is promising. We have been considering it for awhile. It would have to be added in addition to squirrel mail as seiler points out. Once 1.0 comes out it would be a good time to do some more stress testing. The best thing to do is to vote for it in the suggestions area if it you would like to see it raised in priority. The two hurdles are: can it hold up to heavy usage and is it possible to integrate it with our system without a huge number of patches.

CPanel offers Horde (Clunky, breaks often, horribly slow, nasty upgrade process), Openwebmail (hasn’t been updated in YEARS), Squirrelmail…

Squirrelmail at the moment…For a free webmail client, it is pretty much the best available to the open source community until the new releases are distributed. Zimbra as mentioned, looks nice. You can install them both into your account.

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It does not matter to me which email software I am using. As long as I am able to receive and send email, anything is fine to me. :wink:

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Yes, squirrelmail is extremely ugly and antiquated, but at least it works. To judge from the online demo, roundcube is still too buggy to be usable: You can’t undelete from trash. Confirmation messages cover controls. You’re allowed to have a folder “foobar”, a folder “Foobar” and a folder “FooBar”, but only one of them will work, etc.

Why wouldn’t you support both Squirrel and RoundCube?

A French web hosting service whose name we do not say offers Squirrel, Horde, Iloha and now RoundCube. I used to settle for Squirrel because it was light and fast, but sometimes, only Horde could deal with some complex HTML formating (after several people replied/forwarded a mail), although Horde was very slow.

I’m not suggesting you guys support 4 or 5 email clients, but why not have let’s say 2 clients, one light, robust and proven although ugly (Squirrel), and one more modern, with bells, whistles and bugs? Even if only the former would be supported, the latter being provided “as is”?

No more dilemma then…

That’s not a bad idea, but I still don’t understand why you don’t just install the webmail software you want yourself.

I’ve experimented several times, and have had no problems (other then the problems with the software itself) doing that on DreamHost.

At the end of the day, I removed those other installations because, for all I use webmail for, SquirrelMail “just works”, warts and all (though I understand that YMMV).

Have you tried installing another webmail program on your DreamHost account?


I for one have never liked Squirrelmail. It is ugly, clunky, and not flexible. Generally I’ve used Thunderbird to access mail. However, my organization is growing and needs a web based email solution. Staff members need the flexibility of web access with good callaboration features. I recommend Zimbra or Horde and I’m willing to pay someone to do the install. Contact me if you are interested.

Just because a ‘techie’ thinks it may be ‘easy’ to install, doesn’t mean that it will be easy. Some of us are not skilled in IT, which doesn’t lessen our need for a functional, flexible web-based email solution. Squirrel Mail just doesn’t suffice for our needs.

Also, I am surprised that Dreamhost…as good as they are…hasn’t upgraded the email.

From what I remember, you can’t install Horde yourself as it requires some things that aren’t available to the user. This was around ~6 months ago, maybe it has changed.

You may be correct about horde (though there are lots of “parts” of horde); I have not tried to install that one on DreamHost.

I did however take a quick look at the documentation and installation process as detailed on the Horde site, and I don’t see any reason why you could not install it on DreamHost, though many would find it unreasonably difficult to do.

You would definitely need a custom PHP installation, with added modules, and you would have to develop your own installation methodology derived from their instructions - they don’t have instructions dealing specifically with some of the considerations of the DreamHost environment.

My take on it is that is would be a challenging project in some ways. I suspect it could be installed , but probably not by the “casual” DreamHost user. :wink: