How E-Mail Works

Electronic mail is an electronic form of the traditional postal mail. Instead of using a pen and paper to write a postal message, you use a software program, called the E-mail client to create E-mail messages.

You can also send pictures, data files, audio, and even video clips with your e-mail messages. For example, you can send a family photograph or a small home video to your friends with your E-mail messages.

After you create and send an E-mail message by using an E-mail client, it connects to an E-mail server. The message then travels from your E-mail server to the destination E-mail server over the Internet. This E-mail server then sends the E-mail message to the recipient’s E-mail account.

There are two types of E-mail clients: Local and Web-based. Local E-mail clients are installed on your computer, and you can use them to save E–mail messages to your hard disk. Windows Live Mail is an example of a Local E-mail client. You connect to Web-based E-mail clients by using a Web browser. Web-based E-mail clients help you to send and open E-mail messages by using a Web browser. Unless you specifically download a message to your local computer, all messages remain on the service provider’s system.

To send E-mail messages, you need to ensure that your computer is connected to the Internet, and you have an E-mail client installed on your computer. To exchange E-mail messages with other people, you need to have an E-mail address for yourself, and you need to know the E-mail address of the person to whom you want to send the E-mail messages to. You can obtain an e-mail address by opening an account with an E-mail service provider.

An e-mail address has two parts separated by the @ symbol. The following explains the different parts of the e-mail address,


This is the name you use to create your E-mail address. People recognize the E-mail address with the help of the user name. When you open an account with an E-mail service provider, you can specify your user name. The user name that you specify should be unique. The E-mail service provider checks if the user name you provide already exists. If it exists, you need to provide another user name.


The @ symbol separates the user name from the remaining part of the E-mail address.

This represents the domain name of the mail server, where all your E-mail messages are stored.

Next: Write and Send E-Mail Messages