Rainloop: Lightweight Webmail Client

Dmitri Popov

Productivity Sauce

Nov 07, 2013 GMT
Dmitri Popov

Instead of relying on the web-based interface offered by your email provider, you can deploy your own webmail client using Rainloop. This fast and lightweight application is easy to deploy and features a polished interface. Deploying Rainloop on a server is easy. Run the following commands to create the rainloop directory in the server's root (in this case, it's /var/www), set the correct permissions and owner, and install Rainloop:

mkdir /var/www/rainloop
cd /var/www/rainloop
find . -type d -exec chmod 777 {} \;
find . -type f -exec chmod 666 {} \;
chown -R www-data:www-data .
wget -qO- http://repository.rainloop.net/installer.php | php

Once you've done that, point your browser to (where is the actual IP address or domain name of the server), and log in using the admin user name and the 12345 password. This drops you into the administration interface, where you can configure Rainloop's settings. The web-based mail client can handle multiple domains (i.e., you can use Rainloop to access email accounts from different email providers), and the application has a couple of domains preconfigured and ready to go, including Gmail and Yahoo! Mail. To add other domains, switch to the Domains section, press the Add Domain button and provide the required information. Rainloop doesn't provide native support for multiple users, but the application uses Facebook, Google, and Twitter for authentication, thus allowing users to log into Rainloop via these social services. In addition to that, Rainloop can be intergrated with Dropbox for attaching files directly from the Dropbox storage. To enable this functionality, switch to the Social section and configure the required settings (see Rainloop documentation for further info).

Using Rainloop couldn't be easier. Point your browser to, log in using your email credentials, and you should see Rainloop's interface in all its beauty. Since the application is not overloaded with features, you shouldn't have trouble figuring out how to use it. While Rainloop has a lot going for it, the application does have a couple of weaknesses. For exampe, the current version doesn't support identities, and the interface doesn't work well on mobile devices. This may well be dealbreakers for power users, but for those looking for a no-frills web-based email client, Rainloop can be just the ticket.

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