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What is email & Type of Email Protocols

What is email & Type of Email Protocols

Email, a short form of "electronic mail," is one of the most widely used features of the Internet, along with the web. You are allowed to send and receive email messages to and from anyone with an email address.

Email uses multiple protocols within the TCP/IP suite. For example:
- SMTP is used to send messages
- POP or IMAP protocols are used to retrieve messages from a mail server

When you configure an email account, you must define your email address, password, and the mail servers used to send and receive messages. Fortunately, most webmail services configure your account automatically, so you only need to enter your email address and password.

However, if you use an email client like Microsoft Outlook or Apple Mail, you may need to manually configure each account. Besides the email address and password, you may also have to enter the incoming and outgoing mail servers and enter the correct port numbers for each one.

Types of Email service providers

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There are two main types of email service providers to choose from: email clients and webmail. When you use your provider to access your email from a different device or location online, you can use one of three major email protocols to do so: POP3, IMAP, and Exchange.

Email Clients
Email clients are software applications that you install onto the computer itself to manage the email you send and receive. To access this email, the client interacts with a remote email server. Email clients you've likely heard of include Microsoft Outlook, Mozilla Thunderbird, and Apple Mail.

Webmail is a form of email you access exclusively from the internet, and therefore exists primarily on the cloud rather than your computer. Instead of an installed application fetching your email, you manage your inbox right from your internet browser.

Email Protocols

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Email protocols are the systems that actually retrieve your email for you. They can be used to fetch email client accounts on the internet, and fetch webmail accounts on a mobile app. Here are the three main types of email protocol your account can use. POP3: Stands for "post office protocol," and is best suited for people who have just one email account and email client. POP3 is the latest version of this email protocol, and allows you to access email while offline. It therefore requires less internet bandwidth. IMAP: Stands for "internet mail access protocol," and is one of the older email protocols available today. Unlike POP protocol, you do not download your email to your offline email client. Instead, all your email stays online while you're accessing and managing it. IMAP is particularly useful for people who have more than one email account and access them from multiple devices or locations. Below as an example for POP & IMAP email configuration:

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Exchange: A Microsoft email protocol. This protocol allows you to not only access your email over the internet from multiple devices, but also tasks, calendars, and contact information tethered to that email address. For this reason, it's particularly helpful to organizations whose employees share many types of information and collaborate remotely.

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