SMTP is short for Simple Mail Transfer Protocol and is a type of outgoing mail server. Due to the difficulty with maintenance, most web hosting providers do not offer access to simple mail transfer protocols. Also, they can be extremely difficult to defend against hackers and malicious users. Many web hosting companies are also trying to cut corners to save money so SMTP is one of the first areas to eliminate.
The most common email systems can be broken down into two functions:
When combined, these two protocols allow users to send and receive email messages across the internet. SMTP performs the functions necessary to send a message from one point or address to another. As a user is sending a message, SMTP confirms that the sender has the right to do so. Then the system sends the outgoing message. If the mail is undeliverable, SMTP sends an email back to the sender notifying them of the failure.
The majority of email systems utilize SMTP to send messages between servers. POP3 or IMAP platforms are then used to retrieve those send messages on the other end. SMTP is also used to send email messages from a mail client to a mail server. These are the reasons for specifying the SMTP and POP3 or IMAP servers when configuring your email client.
Configuring the application correctly will identify which SMTP server is being used for sending outgoing messages and which POP3 or IMAP server is used for receiving messages. To complete this task properly, give your email client access to the SMTP server by stating your IP address.
The user never sees any of these transactions as they are all behind the scenes. The user simply clicks the send button or opens the email and the transfer is complete. With the emergence of IMAP email system technology, SMTP may not be necessary in some cases as it handles both sending and receiving of email messages.
Like POP3, SMTP has been around for quite awhile, specifically since the mid 1980’s. As technology is improving, the need for these types of systems may be diminishing and making way for one that completes all tasks. For instance, the IMAP technology is implementing aspects of POP3 and SMTP and combining them into one easy-to-use package.
The concept behind SMTP working in conjunction with POP3 is simple: one sends the messages and one receives them. Although the mechanics in the coding of these systems can be complex, it makes life much easier for those using an email client.