2005/02/16 - E-mail/webmail Access
The new version of the web mail client that Rhodes started using late last year is causing an unexpectedly large load on the server that is running it. Up until yesterday afternoon, this server was the mail server ( and the load was resulting in all mail users, irrespective of whether they were using the web mail client or not, to experience problems sending and receiving e-mail.

Yesterday afternoon we relocated the web mail client to one of Rhodes' main web servers. This server also hosts, (studentzone/gallery),, and a few other sites. Unfortunately the web mail client is now doing its best to kill this server, with the result that users may experience slow responses from any of the sites above.

We are currently looking at several alternatives aimed at rectifying this problem. These include discovering why the web mail client is using so many resources on the servers that host it, restricting its ability to use those resources, moving it to its own dedicated server or changing the client to one that uses less resources (perhaps at the expense of some functionality). This process is, however, going to take some time.

In the interim users are encouraged to make use of alternative mail clients instead of the web mail client. Rhodes' mail servers support any IMAP capable client, including Pegasus Mail, Mozilla Thunderbird, MUTT and Outlook Express to name but a few. All of the mentioned clients are available locally on the staff or student software pages. These IMAP clients can connect to Rhodes' mail servers from anywhere in the world.
As part of an interim solution to this problem, we are now load balancing the web mail client across two machines. This will only come in to effect slowly as it relies on people re-visiting the web mail site after logging out. It will most likely only have a noticable effect after a significant proportion of people have restarted their web browsers, i.e. tomorrow morning.

The work around also relies on people visiting rather than any specific instance of the web mail client. Since most people follow the links from the studentZONE or main Rhodes web page, this is probably the case. It is worth noting however, that any links to the Rhodes web mail client from personal, departmental or other web pages should always reference rather than the actual hosting site. It would be appreciated if any incorrect links were fixed.