What is Email - Electronic Mail

Email is a shorthand term meaning Electronic Mail. Email is much the same as a letter, only that it is exchanged in a different way. Email uses the SMTP protocol suite to send email messages via mail transfer agents (previously it used FTP). The first thing you need to send and recieve emails is an email address. When you create an account with a Internet Service Provider; they usually provide customers with a free email address. If this isn't the case, then you can create an email address / account at web sites such as yahoo, hotmail and lycos.

Anatomy of an E-Mail Message

Email clients - such as Outlook Express, shown above - typically have four main fields: From:; To:; Cc:; and Subject:. The From: and To: fields are somewhat self explanatory; the Cc: field is used to send a message to muliple additional addresses; the subject field is used to describe what is included in the body of the message.

Making sure to spell the email address correctly is critical; like with a normal postal letter, if you get the address wrong it won't go to the correct person. If you send an email to an address which doesnt exist the message will come back to you as a "Address Unknown" error.

Email Addresses

An e-mail address has three parts:


The first field is the user name (editor) which refers to the recipient's mailbox. Secondly there is the sign (@) which is the same in every email address. Then comes the host name (internet-guide), which can also be called the domain name. This refers to the mail server address: usually having an individual IP address. The final part of an email address includes the top-level domain (TLD). For the above address this is 'co.uk': which is for commercial sites based in the UK.

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