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Introduction to Hermes webmail

Last updated: August 2013

What is Hermes Webmail?

Hermes Webmail allows you to access your email using a web browser, making it is accessible from an Internet-connected system anywhere in the world. It provides a convenient alternative to the use of a dedicated mail program.

At present (see Last updated date at the top of the page) we are transitioning from the original webmail system to a system based on Roundcube with some local modifications specific to Cambridge. These modifications include password changing, ways to filter your email, use of the Cambridge web style, integration with Lookup (the University online directory). Both systems have inline help text.

Comparison of Hermes Webmail and other ways of dealing with mail

Various administrative tasks to do with your Hermes account require you to use Webmail, for instance: changing passwords, setting up mail forwarding, central spam filtering or vacation messages. However, for actually reading and sending mail you can choose between using an email program (for example Outlook, Apple Mail, Thunderbird, Alpine) to read your mail, or using Webmail for everything (it is also possible to log in via SSH to Hermes itself and use Alpine on Hermes, but this is not generally recommended). You can switch back and forth freely between different methods; provided your mail program uses IMAP and not POP, which almost all can do, all the same mail folders are available whichever method you use. Note that your personal Webmail addressbook is separate from any personal addressbook you use with an email program, though the University addressbook (Lookup) is available to both.

Advantages of Webmail

  • Can be used from any reasonably modern web browser anywhere in the world;
  • Used in any case for changing passwords, forwarding or filtering mail, or setting up vacation messages;
  • Functions as an IMAP client; that is, mail is kept on Hermes and not downloaded to the local machine. This is the same as most email programs in use in Cambridge, but different from POP mail (as used by most commercial ISPs and available as an alternative with most email programs). IMAP is generally more convenient than POP for users who may not always use the same machine to read their mail.

Disadvantages of Webmail

  • Likely to be slower than an email program;
  • If you have any non-mail files stored on Hermes then these will not be available to you. This probably only matters if you normally use Alpine on Hermes itself and save attachments or export mail messages there.

Starting up Hermes Webmail

Start up your Web browser (Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer, etc.) and go to

A login page is displayed asking you for your user identifier and Hermes password. Fill these in and select Login.

You can, if you choose, login using your Raven password. To do this select the Login using Raven link to the right of the Username box.

Once you have logged in you will see the Mail screen, with the messages in your Inbox listed. Help is available by selecting the The ? Help icon Help icon.

New users are advised to use this system, as the intention is to decommission the old system before October 2014.

The original webmail system remains available at and the introductory document for that system is available here.