Perhaps you have a business with offices in several locations, or maybe your family members are spread across the world. How do you keep in touch without running up huge telephone bills? E-mail is the answer. It’s hardly surprising that e-mail has become the most popular service on the Internet.
Electronic mail or e-mail for short refers to the composition, transmission and receipt of communication using electronic communication systems as the medium. E-mail was first used in 1965 as a method of communication between multiple users of a time-sharing mainframe computer. Developed in the late 1960s, the ARPANET computer network is believed to have made a significant contribution to the development of e-mail. In 1971, Ray Tomlinson initiated the use of the @ symbol to separate the name of the user and their network.
A letter you post is first picked up by the postal van and sent to the central sorting office. From here all letters are sent to the cities specified in the addresses. Letters received in each city is then sorted according to individual areas in the city and then distributed. Similarly all the e-mails you send first travel to the Mail Server of your Internet Server Provider. From here they are sorted and travel over the Internet to the Mail Server of the service provider at the destination. Here they are stored in an electronic mailbox. When your friend logs on to the Internet his e-mail application, such as Microsoft Outlook or Eudora, then downloads the e-mails sent by you from his mailbox to his computer.
The whole process can take place in seconds, allowing you to communicate quickly with people at any time of the day. To receive e-mail, it is necessary to have an account on a mail server. This is like having a physical address where you receive letters. The advantage you have over postal mail is that you can retrieve your messages from any computer at any location by simply accessing your mailbox using an e-mail client. Most of the mail servers are designed to operate without the need of any human intervention. They receive messages, store them, process them, and transfer them.
Nowadays, web based e-mail has become completely intertwined with business and personal communication. Using web based e-mail, you can access and send messages from anywhere in the world at any time of day.