The Process of Sending an Email

The Process of Sending an Email

Now that you know the basics about incoming and outgoing mail servers, it will be easier to understand the role that they play in the emailing process. The basic steps of this process are outlined below for your convenience.

Step #1: After composing a message and hitting send, your email client – whether it’s Outlook Express or T4AS.comĀ – connects to your domain’s SMTP server. This server can be named many things; a standard example would be

Step #2: Your email client communicates with the SMTP server, giving it your email address, the recipient’s email address, the message body and any attachments.

Step #3: The SMTP server processes the recipient’s email address – especially its domain. If the domain name is the same as the sender’s, the message is routed directly over to the domain’s POP3 or IMAP server – no routing between servers is needed. If the domain is different, though, the SMTP server will have to communicate with the other domain’s server.

Step #4: In order to find the recipient’s server, the sender’s SMTP server has to communicate with the DNS, or Domain Name Server. The DNS takes the recipient’s email domain name and translates it into an IP address. The sender’s SMTP server cannot route an email properly with a domain name alone; an IP address is a unique number that is assigned to every computer that is connected to the Internet. By knowing this information, an outgoing mail server can perform its work more efficiently.

Step #5: Now that the SMTP server has the recipient’s IP address, it can connect to its SMTP server. This isn’t usually done directly, though; instead, the message is routed along a series of unrelated SMTP servers until it arrives at its destination.

Step #6: The recipient’s SMTP server scans the incoming message. If it recognizes the domain and the user name, it forwards the message along to the domain’s POP3 or IMAP server. From there, it is placed in a sendmail queue until the recipient’s email client allows it to be downloaded. At that point, the message can be read by the recipient.