Basics of Email – Email server and its components

Basics of Email - Email server and its components

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Basics of Email – Email server and its components

Email (Electronic Mail) is a mode of digital communication that enables the exchange of text, files, images, and other types of data between users via the internet. It was first developed in the early 1960s and has since become one of the most widely used forms of communication in the world. To use email, one needs an email address, which is a unique identifier for the account, and an email client, which is a software program that lets you send and receive emails.

Basics of Email - Email server and its components
Basics of Email – Email server and its components

An email system is made up of several components that work together to deliver messages from the sender to the recipient. The components of an email system include:

Email clients:

These are software applications that run on a user’s computer or mobile device, and provide a user-friendly interface for sending, receiving, and managing emails. Some of the most popular email clients include Microsoft Outlook, Apple Mail, Gmail, and Yahoo Mail.

Mail servers:

An email server is a computer system that is responsible for handling and delivering email messages. It acts as a mail transfer agent (MTA) and manages the flow of incoming and outgoing email messages between email clients and other mail servers. There are two types of mail servers: incoming mail servers (IMAP and POP) and outgoing mail servers (SMTP).

Here are a few examples of popular email servers:

  • Microsoft Exchange Server: It is a widely used email server for enterprise-level organizations. It provides features like calendar sharing, task management, and mobile email access.
  • Gmail: Gmail is a web-based email service provided by Google. It offers features like spam filtering, search functionality, and integration with other Google services.
  • Postfix: Postfix is a free, open-source mail transfer agent that is used by many organizations for their email needs. It is known for its simplicity and security.
  • IBM Lotus Domino: It is an enterprise-level email server that provides features like collaboration, security, and instant messaging.
  • Zimbra: Zimbra is a comprehensive email and collaboration platform that provides features like email, calendar, and task management, file sharing, and instant messaging.

SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol):

This is the protocol used to transfer emails from one mail server to another. It is responsible for routing emails from the sender’s mail server to the recipient’s mail server.

IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol) and POP (Post Office Protocol):

These are the protocols used by email clients to retrieve emails from the mail server. IMAP allows the user to keep a copy of the emails on the server, while POP downloads the emails to the user’s computer or device.

See more: Key components of zero trust network access system – ZTNA

Email domains:

These are unique names that identify an organization or individual on the internet. For example, in the email address “,” “” is the email domain.

Authentication systems:

These are systems that verify the identity of the sender and ensure that only authorized users can send emails. Some of the most common authentication systems used in email include Sender Policy Framework (SPF), DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM), and Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance (DMARC).

Click here for more information about Authentication systems used in Email.

Spam filters:

These are systems that automatically identify and block unsolicited or unwanted emails, also known as spam.

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