Differences Between the Email Body and the Header

Each part of an email message has a specific function

Laptop with email illustration

Atomic Imagery/Getty Images

Similar to a piece of paper mail, an email message has two different parts. With paper mail, there's (1) the envelope with the address, stamp, and postal information on it, and (2) the letter or other paperwork inside. With email, there's (1) the header with control information and other data, and (2) the body of the message which includes the sender's text, as well as attachments and other components. Learning more about these two parts of an email message can help you manage each of them better.

The Email Header Section

Only a portion of the header appears in an email message, the rest of the header is hidden. The portions of the header that normally display include the date, sender and recipient information, and subject. Items such as the server path, return path, originating IP address, or spam information aren't seen in the message. View these items to get a better understanding of the journey an email message followed to get to your inbox.

The Email Body Section

On the other hand, the body of an email message displays in its entirety. Separate from the header, the body is a free-form field where you insert as much text as you want, and add supporting links, images, or attachments (though attachments are usually displayed separately).

When you send an email message, you're not limited in terms of how much text you can use. However, email servers do have limits on how big a message they will accept. Common maximum sizes for email bodies, including attachments, are 10 MB to 25 MB.