Mozilla Thunderbird is an open source, multiplatform and extensible email client. It has been around under free license and stable since 2004 and now at versions 10 and 11 is a fully featured and mature product.
All the features that you would expect from a modern email client are present: HTML support, multiple account support, whereby you can keep accounts separate or merge them together, Web mail, POP, IMAP and Microsoft Exchange server support, calendar, address book.
Thunderbird was designed to stop junk mail and prevent viruses, and includes intelligent spam filtering, suggesting when it thinks a message might be spam, S/MIME, data signing and message encryption and a phishing detector.
We found the trickiest part was setting up an email account, and especially if you hail from a webmail environment. There is a wizard to help you through this part.
Download and installation is swift. The client product and the user interface are clean, easy to use. The product can easily be customised through Add-Ons, available via the Tools Menu. Mail is presented in a tabbed format, so it looks a little like Outlook.
It is a good idea to save customisation until well into the process, that way you can get an idea of Thunderbird’s speed, before burdening it with additional software.
Thunderbird has been praised for the search facility. In Version 10 this includes the ability search the web. Email searches can be saved as virtual folders. There is an activity manager which records email activity. This can be used if you need to check whether a mail was sent or received. Emails can be archived in a stroke.
We have high expectations of our email clients to provide extensive functionality and Thunderbird will not disappoint. Since email is such a fundamental part of our lives, we think the security features of this product are excellent. It should not be overlooked for those considering a new email client.