What Is Email aka Electronic Mail?

Electronic mail is a staple form of communication

Electronic mail, commonly known as email, is a digital message between two or more people. To compose an email, the sender uses a keyboard (or sometimes, voice) to type a message on a smartphone, tablet, or computer. Email messages are sent digitally to the receiver via the program's Send button or icon.

What Do I Need to Send an Email?

An email address is required to send or receive an email message. The address is unique to each user. To access and store emails, you need an internet-based application or a dedicated program on your computer.

The first email message was sent by Ray Tomlinson in late 1971. Although the exact words have been lost, this email is said to have included instructions on how to use the @ character in email addresses.

All emails contain the same core elements:

  • A To section to indicate recipients.
  • A Send button.
  • A subject line.
  • Typically, CC, BCC, and Send All are among the additional options.
A close-up view of an email header.

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What Is an Email Address?

Emails are sent to an email address from another email address. Email addresses are written with a custom username at the beginning, followed by the email service provider's domain name, with an @ sign separating the two. Here's an example: name@gmail.com.

If you're not sure what your email address is, there are ways to find out.

What Does 'Send an Email' Mean?

When you finish composing an email message and have addressed it to another email address, sending it allows the message to reach the intended recipient. A Send button or icon is part of every email program.

Then, servers transmit the message from your address to the recipients. SMTP is the protocol used to send email messages, and POP or IMAP servers are needed to download electronic mail to the email client.

What Is an Email Client?

An email client is a computer program used to read and send electronic messages. Typically, the client downloads messages from the server for local use (or for use within a browser) and uploads messages to the server for delivery to its recipients.

How Do I Open New Mail?

Tap the new email (on a phone) or click it (on a computer) to open and read the message. Every email program works a little differently. For example, Gmail lets you open a new email in the same window as your inbox, or you can choose to open the message in its own window.

What Are File Attachments?

You can attach a picture or other file type to send to the recipient. These add-ons are called file attachments.

Why Is Email Popular?

The speed at which an email can be sent and received is a benefit to most people. Most of us can now communicate in minutes or seconds from anywhere, whether it's in the same building or around the world.

Emails are usually faster and easier than a phone call. Plus, there's no danger of being put on hold or forced to engage in lengthy conversations. If you have a quick question for someone, send them an email. It's simple to attach a file to an email message.

Email accounts are like large folders for private messages, files, and other important information. Good email clients make it easy to organize, archive, and search your messages, so any information contained in an email is readily accessible.

Email provides a record of a conversation, which you don't get with verbal communication. It's easy to print emails or store your emails in the cloud (space your service provider has allotted to you).

Unlike texting, you can write as much as you want in an email's unlimited space. Email services are typically free, too.

Most email providers give you an email account at no charge. Select your own email address, send and receive all the electronic mail you want, and store everything online without ever paying a dime. Some email services are built specifically for privacy and security, so you can be confident that messages and files are hidden from everyone but the intended recipients.

The most popular web-based email client is Gmail, followed by Microsoft Outlook and Yahoo Mail. Other popular email clients include Mozilla Thunderbird, macOS Mail, IncrediMail, Mailbox, and iOS Mail.

The Problem of Spam

Email's biggest problem is unsolicited mail, more commonly known as spam. With hundreds of these junk emails in your inbox, the occasional good email can get lost. However, sophisticated filters exist to remove the advertising and other unwanted material automatically.

You can help alleviate the junk mail problem by properly reporting spam. First, identify the real source of the message, then find the ISP used to send the message. Determine the correct person to contact and make them aware of the spam.

FAQ
  • What is Bcc in email?

    Bcc and Cc are both ways to email multiple recipients at once. Bcc stands for blind carbon copy, which means that only the sender of the email can view the Bcc recipients. Cc means carbon copy, which sends the same letter to two (or more) simultaneously.

  • What is phishing email?

    Phishing is an example of spam email. A phishing scam attempts to fraudulently gain the recipient's personal information or access to their financial accounts.

  • What is my PayPal email address?

    Your primary PayPal email address is the one you used when you set up your PayPal account. However, you can receive money on PayPal using any email address you have added to your PayPal account. You can add up to eight email addresses to your PayPal account.

  • What is an Exchange email account?

    Microsoft Exchange is a groupware server that runs on Windows Server operating systems. To find out if you have a Microsoft Exchange Server account, open Outlook, select File > Account Settings > Account Settings and go to the E-mail tab. Then, look for Microsoft Exchange in the Type column.

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