When Webmail Overdoes It On The ‘Web’ Part…

By Alan Ralph on July 31, 2020 — 1 min read

Art Kavanagh:

After 15 years on Gmail, I’ve switched to Zoho mail (with my own domain name on top). Just now, I noticed that the fan on the MacBook Air was going like the clappers. So I closed the Zoho mail web page and it stopped. This doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in my choice.

I’ve never used Zoho, and have no real need to try it out, but I’m really wondering what their web app is doing to use so much CPU power.

Cracking open the Inspector palette in Firefox on one of the support webpages shows a lot of JavaScript getting loaded, some of it from multiple Zoho-owned domains. The control panel in uBlock Origin shows a similar picture.

I decided to crack open the webmail interface of my provider (Fastmail), and see what the picture is there. Only three domains shown in uBlock Origin, all of them owned by Fastmail, and only a few JavaScript files loaded according to the Inspector.

I totally understand why many people prefer webmail over fiddling around setting up desktop or mobile email apps. But I’m in the minority that uses IMAP and SMTP protocols for their email. Partly because I like having more than one way to access my email, and partly because I’ve always found the convenience of webmail outweighed by sluggishness and occasional outages. That’s not to say that I love desktop and mobile email clients — they just work, and that’s fine with me.

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