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Electronic mail (email or e-mail) is a method of exchanging messages ("mail") between people using electronic devices.wikipedia
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Internet access

broadband internetbroadband Internet accessbroadband
Email operates across computer networks, which today is primarily the Internet.
Internet access is the ability of individuals and organizations to connect to the Internet using computer terminals, computers, and other devices; and to access services such as email and the World Wide Web.

Ray Tomlinson

Raymond TomlinsonRaymond S. TomlinsonRaymond S. Tomlinson
Invented by Ray Tomlinson, email first entered limited use in the 1960s and by the mid-1970s had taken the form now recognized as email.
Raymond Samuel Tomlinson (April 23, 1941 – March 5, 2016) was a pioneering American computer programmer who implemented the first email program on the ARPANET system, the precursor to the Internet, in 1971; he is internationally known and credited as the inventor of email.


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Electronic mail (email or e-mail) is a method of exchanging messages ("mail") between people using electronic devices.
The term email (short for "electronic mail") first appeared in the 1970s.

Computer network

networkcomputer networkingnetworking
Email operates across computer networks, which today is primarily the Internet.
Computer networks support an enormous number of applications and services such as access to the World Wide Web, digital video, digital audio, shared use of application and storage servers, printers, and fax machines, and use of email and instant messaging applications as well as many others.

International email

internationalized domain names and address localpartsInternationalized email
International email, with internationalized email addresses using UTF-8, has been standardized, but it has not been widely adopted.
The result is email that contains international characters (characters which do not exist in the ASCII character set), encoded as UTF-8, in the email header and in supporting mail transfer protocols.

Online and offline

Some early email systems required the author and the recipient to both be online at the same time, in common with instant messaging.
Similar meaning is also given by the prefixes "cyber" and "e", as in the words "cyberspace", "cybercrime", "email", and "ecommerce".

Email address

e-mail addressemail addressesEmail Address Internationalization
The diagram to the right shows a typical sequence of events that takes place when sender Alice transmits a message using a mail user agent (MUA) addressed to the email address of the recipient.
An email address identifies an email box to which email messages are delivered.

Email spam

spame-mail spamspam email
However, this mechanism proved to be exploitable by originators of unsolicited bulk email and as a consequence open mail relays have become rare, and many MTAs do not accept messages from open mail relays.
Email spam, also referred to as junk email, is unsolicited messages sent in bulk by email (spamming).


X400message handling systemADMD
For a time in the late 1980s and early 1990s, it seemed likely that either a proprietary commercial system or the X.400 email system, part of the Government Open Systems Interconnection Profile (GOSIP), would predominate.
At one time, the designers of X.400 were expecting it to be the predominant form of email, but this role has been taken by the SMTP-based Internet e-mail.

Open mail relay

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Such MTAs are called open mail relays.
An open mail relay is a Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) server configured in such a way that it allows anyone on the Internet to send e-mail through it, not just mail destined to or originating from known users.

Email box

mailboxEmail mailboxmailboxes
e-mailbox) is the destination to which electronic mail messages are delivered.

Message submission agent

mail submission agentMSAsubmission
A message submission agent (MSA) or mail submission agent is a computer program or software agent that receives electronic mail messages from a mail user agent (MUA) and cooperates with a mail transfer agent (MTA) for delivery of the mail.

Signature block

The body contains the message, as unstructured text, sometimes containing a signature block at the end.
A signature block (often abbreviated as signature, sig block, sig file, .sig, dot sig, siggy, or just sig) is a personalized block of text automatically appended at the bottom of an email message, Usenet article, or forum post.

MX record

MXbackup serversDNS MX record
A mail exchanger record (MX record) specifies the mail server responsible for accepting email messages on behalf of a domain name.

Post Office Protocol

However, once the final restrictions on carrying commercial traffic over the Internet ended in 1995, a combination of factors made the current Internet suite of SMTP, POP3 and IMAP email protocols the standard.
In computing, the Post Office Protocol (POP) is an application-layer Internet standard protocol used by e-mail clients to retrieve e-mail from a mail server.

Internet Message Access Protocol

The Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP) provides features to manage a mailbox from multiple devices.
In computing, the Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP) is an Internet standard protocol used by email clients to retrieve email messages from a mail server over a TCP/IP connection.


Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensionsmultipart/form-datamedia type
Originally an ASCII text-only communications medium, Internet email was extended by Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (MIME) to carry text in other character sets and multimedia content attachments.
Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (MIME) is an Internet standard that extends the format of email messages to support text in character sets other than ASCII, as well attachments of audio, video, images, and application programs.


fax machinefacsimilefax machines
For example, several writers in the early 1970s used the term to refer to fax document transmission.
In many corporate environments, freestanding fax machines have been replaced by fax servers and other computerized systems capable of receiving and storing incoming faxes electronically, and then routing them to users on paper or via an email (which may be secured).

Domain name

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Such examples are the realm identifiers used in the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP), the Domain Keys used to verify DNS domains in e-mail systems, and in many other Uniform Resource Identifiers (URIs).


Message Submission ProgramSendmail XSendmail+IDA
Sendmail is a general purpose internetwork email routing facility that supports many kinds of mail-transfer and delivery methods, including the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) used for email transport over the Internet.

Simple Mail Transfer Protocol

SMTP8BITMIMEemail protocol
The Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) protocol was introduced in 1981.
The Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) is a communication protocol for electronic mail transmission.

Blind carbon copy

BCCBcc:bcc: field
This concept originally applied to paper correspondence and now also applies to email.

Store and forward

store-and-forwardStore-and-forward switching centerstored and forwarded
Today's email systems are based on a store-and-forward model.
It is very common for an email system to accept a message, store it and then forward it on elsewhere.

Server (computing)

serverserversserver computer
Email servers accept, forward, deliver, and store messages.

Header (computing)

headerheaderspacket header
Each email message has a header (the "header section" of the message, according to the specification), comprising a number of fields ("header fields").