MailRelayer is an IMAP and POP3 server and makes your Outlook emails available over the Internet. If you are someone who lives and breathes Outlook while at your desk, but wants a way to get to your copy of Outlook remotely without using a remote access client to the PC, MailRelayer is for you.
Note: This review was based on a publically available, 30 day free trial of the software.
- Cost: $39
- Requirements: Windows 2000, XP, Vista, or 7, Internet connection (direct connection, or through a device that can port forward or route incoming requests), Outlook 2003, 2007, or 2010.
- Additional Information: Product Web site
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Who's it for?
MailRelayer is designed for users who want to access their Outlook inboxes remotely, but who do not have the resources or need to run full mail servers with remote access.
What problems does it solve?
Small businesses and home users often do not have the resources or know-how to set up a full mail server and provide remote access to it. Other times, people just live through Outlook. And some users have Outlook act as a single point of access for multiple email services. If you are one of these users, but want remote access to what is in your Outlook installation, MailRelayer can get you set up to access your Outlook emails from a smartphone or separate PC in a jiffy.
- Security features: MailRelayer allows you to establish different usernames and access levels, and can use SSL encryption to keep your communications secure.
- Administration tools: MailRelayer's administration tools are easy to use and provide everything you would want, including good logging for troubleshooting purposes and the ability to see who is connected and disconnect them if need be.
- Simplicity: MailRelayer does exactly what it says it will do, exactly how it says it will do it, and takes only a few moments to set up properly.
- Must allow traffic to PC: MailRelayer creates a security concern because you are allowing inbound traffic to your PC from the Internet.
- Only presents the primary PST folders: Only one PST file can be presented to the remote clients, which is a shame if you want access to an archive folder, for example.
- One minor quirk: Throughout testing, we found one slight quirk: when making changes to the configuration, you need to stop MailRelayer and restart it for the changes to take effect.
No competing products that I have found.
Bottom line for business
If your company already has some sort of central email system that provides external access (like Exchange, Zimbra, etc.) and Outlook is simply used to manipulate data on the server, MailRelayer is not for you. But, if you are someone who keeps all of your email is PST files on your local PC, and you do not want a scenario where some of your email is on a remote PC or device and some is on your main PC, MailRelayer is the solution you have been looking for.
MailRelayer accesses your Outlook data via MAPI, and then acts as an IMAP or POP3 server. Once you have it configured (including establishing usernames and passwords and any SSL encryption), you simply ensure that remote clients can get through on port 143 (IMAP) or 110 (POP3) and presto! You are now dishing out your emails directly from Outlook to remote clients. You will either need a domain name set up (through a dynamic DNS service or a combination of a normal DNS service and a static IP), or know your IP address to be able to access your system remotely (I have a static IP address with a domain name pointing to it).
In my testing, I wanted to be able to access my personal emails from my Android phone. I set up MailRelayer (Windows asked to open the firewall to allow access), configured port forwarding on my home router, and then set up the configuration on my phone. When the next sync occurred, my emails showed up on my phone as expected.
It can also function as an SMTP server. The SMTP server uses the SMTP AUTH authentication system (using the same usernames and passwords for accessing the email) so that spammers cannot use your system to relay mail. This has the advantage over using an ISP's SMTP server of putting the emails into Outlook's Outbox, so when they are sent they are in your "Sent Items" folder.
MailRelayer does an outstanding job at giving you access to Outlook's items from the road. If you do not want to disrupt your normal flow of work in Outlook but still want access to your email, MailRelayer is the way to go.
Have you encountered or used MailRelayer? If so, what do you think? Rate your experience and compare the results to what other TechRepublic members think. Give your own personal review in the TechRepublic Community Forums or let us know if you think we left anything out in our review.
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Justin James is the Lead Architect for Conigent.