What is IlohaMail?

What is IlohaMail?

IlohaMail (pronounced: e-lo-ha-mail) is a light weight yet full featured multilingual webmail program that is easy to use and install. It runs on a stock build of PHP, and does not require databases (although database support is available) or the IMAP library (it is powered by a custom IMAP/POP3 library).


IlohaMail is released under the General Public License (GPL). You may download it, use it, deploy it, re-distribute it, or feed it to your dog as you wish, free of charge.

Admin Features

  • Easy to install (only requires default build of PHP4)
  • Light weight and fast
  • Extensive multilingual capabilities
  • Modular – Easily modifiable to accomodate different backends
  • Activity Logging
  • Spam Prevention
  • Multiple host/domain support
  • Auto-appended Tag-Lines
  • Optional MySQL backend for improved scalability and performance
  • External SMTP server support
  • IMAP caching
  • Theme support [development]

Client Capabilities

  • POP3 & IMAP Support
  • Send, receive, file, delete messages
  • Create, rename, delete folders (requires IMAP)
  • Send/receive attachments
  • View images/html inline
  • Full featured Contacts list
  • Search messages (requires IMAP)
  • User defined colors
  • GPG/PGP support (requires GPG) [development]
  • Multiple sender identities
  • Spell checker (requires aspell)
  • Calendar
  • Bookmarks manager
  • Customizable – Over 2 dozen user preferences
  • Support for over 20 languages

*Features that have [beta] or [development] after them are only available in the latest development releases.

How it came to be…

IlohaMail started when I decided I wanted a webmail interface to install on my hosted server, but realized that very few of the Open Source webmail programs supported Japanese. The few that supported Japanese had (IMO) cluttered interfaces that I didn’t like, or had requirements (like having to re-compile PHP) that made them less-than-attractive solutions.

Instead of joining one of the existing projects (I considered adding Japanese support to IMP) I sat down and started writing my own webmail program, first in PHP3, then in PHP4. At first, I used the default built-in IMAP functions, but then wrote my own IMAP library using vanilla PHP4.

The first release (0.7.0) is the cumulation of nearly two years’ worth of work.

The name

In Japanese, there's a poem that uses each letter of the phonetic alphabet (kana) exactly once, that begins with “iloha”. Like the English counter-part, ABC, it is also used to mean “the beginning” or “the basics”.
With IlohaMail, it symbolizes ease of use and friendliness, as well as it's Japanese origins (see “How it came to be” above).


IlohaMail is a light-weight web-based IMAP client that is easy to install and use. IlohaMail is not meant to be a “one size fits all” solution, nor is it meant to be the “be all end all” solution.

IlohaMail is meant to be a compact skeletal solution that will work off the bat on Joe’s $9.95/month hosted server and provide everything he needs, yet capable of scaling up to meet the requirements of a large scale corporate deployment.

IlohaMail aims to be flexible, modular, and capable of providing complete functionality without unnecessary glitz. Nothing more, nothing less.