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Is Outlook Web-Based?

Saturday, December 20th, 2014 by | Filed Under: E-Mail Help

Harvey writes:

You say if you are using a web-based email like Gmail or Outlook in an article. I use Outlook just because it is NOT web-based like Gmail or Yahoo mail. Am I wrong?

I would like to make it clear that all e-mail is web-based. All e-mails spend time in the cloud on a server. I see that you have an e-mail address provided by your ISP. Those emails sit on the server just the same as a Gmail message sits on their servers.


In the article you mention, I was referring to Gmail and and how users access them. is the email service provided by Microsoft while Outlook is an e-mail client that you install on your computer.


 You can access an e-mail account with different interfaces. Users can access, Gmail and other services through an interface on their browser. In fact, your e-mail provider actually uses the Yahoo mail server, so while your e-mail address shows the name of your provider, your messages are actually on the Yahoo mail servers. If you were away from your computer, you could access your mail on another device via a browser.


The Outlook e-mail client (and any other e-mail client like Live Mail or Thunderbird) downloads copies of your messages from your Internet service provider’s e-mail servers to your computers. Outlook would also work with Gmail,, Yahoo or other e-mail services.

Some e-mail accounts will erase the server copy of your e-mail once it is downloaded. But that depends on your settings.

Just to hit the main points one more time:

1. is an e-mail service while Outlook is a program that downloads copies of messages from your e-mail provider to your computer.

2. E-mail accounts can be accessed through your browser or with an e-mail client, but they are all web-based.

Hope this clears up any confusion.

~ Cynthia


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One Response to “Is Outlook Web-Based?”

  1. Clyde says:

    You kind of missed the real value of the differences – Although you are talking about the web in general, you did not emphasize the major point that the mail is DOWNLOADED from the web and immediately erased from the server. THAT is the true value of the older Outlook Express and the current Thunderbird. This allows for MUCH simpler management of files and pictures. They come to YOUR machine and can be saved and or manipulated simply compared to those located on some distant mail server. THIS is the major reason I use Thunderbird for all my e-mail where there might be critical and valuable information. Personally, I prefer the old XP Outlook Express and Address Book but that is gone and I switched to Thunderbird and back up all addresses in the Outlook (not) Address book. If there is a better package than Thunderbird that is more like Outlook Express I’d consider it. The new Outlook (LiveMail) is worthless to me.

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