Email setup and explanation
As an invention, email probably ranks close to the development of alphabets. The first email or electronic mail was sent in 1962 from one internal computer taped machine to another within the same building. It was not until 1982 when email was sent electronically without a direct wire to wire connection. Email is much similar now than it was in the past, and in some ways run itself. There are however some basic information you need to know if you want to host your own email account on your website.
In Today’s world email is sent a few different ways. The difference is the software used behind the scenes and a series of rules that govern them. Each email message is nothing but a text file plus the attachments. Just like all data through the internet, an email is also broken into smaller packets. When the sender clicks the send button, all the packets are uploaded to a central computer (the email server) that hosts the email service. The email service then relays these packets through the internet to the server which holds the email service of the recipient. The mail server of the recipient looks for his email address, locates it and places the email within the inbox. The email client reassembles the packets into a complete mail. The recipient logs into his account and downloads the email.
If you have ever set up an email client or app, you will have certainly come across the terms SMTP, POP, and IMAP. Do you remember which one you chose and why? If you are not quite sure what these terms stand for and how each affects your email account, this article will shed some light. The article explains how SMTP, POP, and IMAP work and will help you decide which one best fits your needs.
SMTP – stands for Simple Mail Transfer Protocol. SMTP is used when email is delivered from an email client, such as Outlook, to an email server or when email is delivered from one email server to another. When we send an email, our computer connects to our email service’s mail server. A server is a centralized computer which manages a specific type of service. An email server for instance, handles emails. The email server responsible for sending emails is called the SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) server. One SMTP server can pass on the mail to another SMTP server and relay it to the destination through several hops. Every email has the sender’s address (e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org) and the recipient’s in the To field (e.g. email@example.com). When an email is sent, the email client connects to the SMTP server of the sender’s email service (e.g. mailserver.sendermail.com). The SMTP server goes to work at locating the whereabouts of the recipient. Using the recipient’s mail ID (i.e. firstname.lastname@example.org) it locates the domain name – e.g.recipientmail.com. Each domain name represents a unique Web address, called an Internet protocol (IP) address. Think of it as postal addresses of the internet. The link between domain names to their IP addresses is stored in the Domain Name Registry. The SMTP server then contacts the server where the registry is kept (The DNS Server). The DNS server sends back the address to the SMTP server. The SMTP server then proceeds to hand over the email to the SMTP server of the recipient’s email service, of which the recipient then downloads to whatever device they use.
POP3 – stands for Post Office Protocol. POP3 allows an email client to download an email from an email server. The POP3 protocol is simple and does not offer many features except for download. Its design assumes that the email client downloads all available email from the server, deletes them from the server and then disconnects. Being the original protocol, POP follows the simplistic idea that only one client requires access to mail on the server and that mails are best stored locally. This leads to the following advantages. POP3 normally uses port 110.
IMAP – stands for Internet Message Access Protocol. IMAP shares many similar features with POP3. It, too, is a protocol that an email client can use to download email from an email server. However, IMAP includes many more features than POP3. The IMAP protocol is designed to let users keep their email on the server. IMAP requires more disk space on the server and more CPU resources than POP3, as all emails are stored on the server. IMAP normally uses port 143
What Are the Advantages of POP?
- Mail stored locally, i.e. always accessible, even without internet connection.
- Internet connection needed only for sending and receiving mail.
- Saves server storage space.
- Option to leave copy of mail on server.
- Consolidate multiple email accounts and servers into one inbox.
- Faster interactions because there is no syncing process
IMAP has the following advantages:
- Mail stored on remote server, i.e. accessible from multiple different locations.
- Internet connection needed to access mail.
- Faster overview as only headers are downloaded until content is explicitly requested.
- Mail is automatically backed up if server is managed properly.
- Saves local storage space.
- Option to store mail locally.