Email is a shorthand term which means: electronic mail. Email is
similar to a regular postal letter; containing an address, routing
information and content. Email uses a range of protocol's - like
IMAP, POP3, SMTP - to route messages from mail servers to users.
Email - as a technology - predates the Internet, and was first implemented
in ARPANET (1972).
Email, as a term, can also be written as: e-mail. To send and receive
email messages a user requires an email address. The majority of
Internet Service Provider provide a free
email account to customers; likewise, there are a plethora of
companies who provide free webmail accounts,
such as: Gmail and Yahoo!. Email client programs (like Outlook
Express) can be used to access an email account.
Email has proved to be one of the Internet's most popular services;
while it has been commended for improving global communications,
it has also be criticised for it's security: spam, and viruses and
malware being spread through email attachments.
The history of email predates the modern day Internet: Email was
created for the ARPANET computer network in the 1970's. It is generally
believed that email grew out of the Mail Box Protocol, and Ray Tomlinson
is created as it's inventor (1972). ARPANET was a forerunner to
the modern day Internet; ARPANET used a similar network architecture
to the Internet, therefore, email made a seamless transition to
While email was created for ARPANET in the early 1970's, digital
messaging is far order. In 1966, MIT developed the CTSS computer
system, and this computer system featured a messaging system similar
to Email. However, CTSS was not the only computer system that featured
one-to-one messaging in the 1960's.
Email was immediately popular with ARPANET users, and many Internet
pioneers had a 'hand' in it's development: such as Jon Postel, Larry
Roberts and John Vittal. Intially, email was used by academic researchers
and the military. Only by the 1980's did ordinary people begin to
use email, and by the 1990's - when commercial networks controlled
the backbone of the Internet - it had become the Internet's most
As stated, email grew out of the Mail Box Protocol: early email
systems were highly reliant on the FTP protocol, and only at a late
date were standalone protocols developed for email, such as: IMAP,
X400, POP, SMTP, and UUCP. The most important protocol that was
development for email was SMTP; SMTP was invented in the early 1980's
and is still in use today (2015). POP was another important email
protocol that was developed in the early 1980's, and IMAP was an
email protocol developed in the mid 1980's by Mark Crispin. Some
email protocols became obsolete: such as Jon Postel's Mail Transfer
Protocol (MTP). Present day, most email systems rely on either:
SMTP, POP or IMAP.
The key features of an email message have remained the same, comprising:
a header and a body. The format of a email address has also remained
the same: Ray Tomlinson being the inventor of using the @ symbol
Anatomy of an Email message
The format of email messages is broken
into two sections: 1) a header,
2) message body.
The header of an email message is more complex, and contains the
information needed to encode and route the email message. The header
can include multiple fields, but four popular fields are:: From:;
To:; Cc:; and Subject:. The two fields which
an email message must include are the From: and Date:
The From: and To: fields are somewhat self explanatory
(email address of the sender and receiver); the Cc: field
is used to send a message to multiple additional addresses (Bcc:
field hides the addresses from other recipients); the Subject:
field is used to describe what is included in the body of the message.
Originally email messages were only plain text, and some mail servers
will only support plain text email messages. However, if the content
type of the email (included in the header) supports MIME: then the
body of the email message can be encoded with HTML elements. Therefore,
the body section of an email message can include plain text and
Anatomy of an Email address
An e-mail address can be broken down into three section, coloured
The first section is the username (editor) which refers to the
recipient's account name at a mail service; also referred to as
the 'local' part of an email address. Secondly there is the @ sign
- which is included in every email address - and means 'at' and
connects the local part of the email address to the hostname of
the email address.
Then comes the hostname (internet-guide), which can also be called
the domain name. This refers to the mail server address: usually
having an individual IP address. The hostname of an email address
can include a range of top-level domain names (TLD). For example,
'co.uk', is for commercial sites based in the United Kingdom.
When sending email messages, it is essential to spell the email
address correctly; just as with a normal postal letter. If the email
address is entered incorrectly, then it will not be sent to the
correct person. If you send an email to an address which does not
exist: then the message will be returned with an "Address Unknown"
Webmail, as the name would suggest, is an email service that is
accessed through the World Wide Web. The World Wide Web was launched
as an Internet service in 1991, whereas email was invented in the
early 1970's. Therefore, webmail is a relatively new development
for email; before webmail, most users accessed email through a standalone
email client application, like Eudora. Webmail uses the same email
protocols as earlier email clients, the only difference is the way
in which the email account is accessed.
There are a plethora of free email accounts available from webmail
providers, such as: hotmail. While early
webmail services were criticised for a lack of protection versus
email bombs, spam
and flooding, modern webmail services
provide protection against these abuses. Professional
webmail services provide additional features, alongside the
obvious features, such as: attachments,
blind carbon copy options, e-cards,
encryption and decryption. Every type
of webmail account should be able to receive e-zines
The drawback with free webmail accounts is that the user cannot
pick a unique domain name: instead they are stuck with domain name
of the service provider: such as yahoo.com. However, user can pick
an individual 'username' to suit their purposes. If a user wants
an email address with a unique domain name - they can access the
inbox with a client
program - then they will have to purchase that domain name and host
it with a company that provides support for email protocols.
address: components and syntax
protocols: pop, imap and smtp
transfer, retrieval and storage
format: header and body
Hyper Text formatting email messages
when applied to email messages
techniques for end user to block spam email messages
sensitive words inserted into email messages
email account: avoid spam with an additional email account
to retrieve a deleted email from webmail
OpenID and Webmail related?
to make a strong email password
to protect an email account password
to tell if an email account has been compromised
to secure an email account after it has been hacked
do email accounts get deactivated?
to check the login history of my email account
browsers and webmail compatibility
it easy to terminate an email account?
to safeguard and protect an email account
an alias for your email account
it possible to block emails?
do email providers want my mobile number?
> Can I import my contacts
into a new email account?
> Is it possible
to add a signature to my email messages?
> Is Phil Zimmerman, the developer
of an email encryption program?
> Zen mail, is it a form of email