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Understanding the Basics of Electronic Mail
As you know, it often takes several days to mail a letter to another town, state or country. On the other hand, electronic mail takes seconds to travel hundreds of miles. As a result more and more people are using electronic mail because it is a fast easy solution along with being much cheaper than the using the post office.

So what is e-mail? Electronic mail is a message that is sent electronically from one computer to another. Often times there are several other computers that help the message reach it’s final destination. Every e-mail message has a header and a body. The header contains the name and e-mail address of the recipient and anyone who is being copied as well as the subject of the message. The header helps the message to be delivered to the appropriate mailbox. The message body contains the message itself. Just like a conventional letter, the body of an e-mail contains the message or letter you are sending to the recipient.

Nevertheless, electronic mail allows one to send or receive personal and business-related messages with attachments, such as pictures or formatted documents. You can even send music and computer programs.

How E-mail Works

Now that we have explained what e-mail is, lets take a look at how e-mail works. In simplest terms, e-mail travels across the Internet just as a conventional letter does through a our postal system. It makes several stops at different postal stations along its way, passing from one computer, known as a mail servers, across the Internet until it reaches the destination mail server. Once it arrives at the destination mail server, the e-mail message headers are looked at by a program, which determines the mailbox to deliver the message, much like a postmaster at the local postal station. The message is then moved to the electronic mail box for storage until the recipient retrieves it. Again, the entire process can take just seconds to accomplish, allowing you to more efficiently communicate with people or businesses around the world.

Email Addresses

Internet e-mail addresses all have two main parts to the address. An example of an e-mail address is
The first part of the e-mail address (sales) is known as the user name. This refers to the recipient\'s mailbox and tells the mail server where to deliver inbound e-mail destined for your e-mail address. After the user name there is an “at sign” (@), which divides the two main parts of an Internet e-mail address. Following this symbol comes what is known as the host name or domain name. In our example “HomepageUniverse” is our host name. This information is refers to the mail server or the computer where the recipient has an electronic mailbox. At the end of every host name there is a dot (".") followed by two or more letters. Most commonly you will find this will be .com, .net, .org. This part of the domain name indicates the type of organization or the country where the host server is located.

Sending and Receiving E-mail Messages

Now that we know what electronic mail is and how it works, lets take a close look at how to send and receive e-mail messages from a computer.

First and most important, to send or receive e-mail, you must have an Internet connection and an account on a mail server. This is similar to having an address where you receive letters. You must then create your mailbox via Plesk.  You can see a tutorial on how to do this at  Please see your Hosting Setup Email for more details about your accounts mail server.

The standard protocol used for sending Internet e-mail is known as SMTP, which is short for Simple Mail Transfer Protocol. It’s counter part protocol used for receiving e-mail message is known as POP, which stands for Post Office Protocol.

Sending E-mail Message

The most basic way to send and e-mail message is to simply open your e-mail program (Outlook, Eudora, Webmail, etc) and click on the appropriate icon button to compose new message. Once the next dialog box is opened, you will find several fields. One will be the “To:” field, used to type in the e-mail address name of the recipient you desire to send your e-mail message. Remember the main parts of a standard e-mail address as describe above. You must enter the entire e-mail address in this field. You can send a message to multiple recipients by simply putting a semicolon (;) between each email address. In the next field you will commonly find a “CC:” This field is used to send your message to someone you want to also have a copy of the e-mail for informational purposes. Below the “CC:” field you will find the “Subject” field. In this area you will want to type the subject or reason you are sending the e-mail to the recipient. An example of a subject line may be “Missing You!!”. Finally, you can write your e-mail message in the message window. You can copy information, add photos, and much more in the message window. After typing your message, if available, you will want to spell check your message. In Outlook and Outlook Express this option can be found under the “Tools” tab. To send your message simply click on the appropriate icon commonly called “Send”. That is it!! You message is now on it’s way to your SMTP server for delivery.

Receiving E-mail Messages

To receive electronic mail messages, you will need a client-based e-mail, like Outlook Express or Eudora, a software program running on your computer accesses a remote mail server where you mailbox resides. If you do not have a client-base e-mail program, HomepageUniverse has made it possible for our customers to get e-mail using a standard Web browser such as Internet Explorer or Netscape Navigator.

For the purpose of this tutorial we will focus on accessing your e-mail via a Web browser as we know everyone reading this tutorial has access to a Web browser. First, you will want to log on to the Web mail site by typing the following address in your Web browser address bar. ( Please replace the word with your actual domain name. If successful, the Web mail program will pop up a dialog box asking for your account user name and password. Remember, your account user name is the information before the “at sign” (@) of your email address. In the example above our user name was “sales”. Upon successfully entering your account user name and password, you will be taken directly into your “Inbox” which contains all the messages delivery to your account by the mail server. You can view any of the e-mail messages by clicking on the blue words in the subject line of each e-mail message. That is it!!!

Please note, all HomepageUniverse customers e-mail accounts can store up to the limit of the hosting package purchased minus the size of your website. For example, if you purchase a 500 MB account through HomepageUniverse and your website is 10 MB’s in size, you can have 490 MB’s in e-mail storage. However, we recommend our customers to regularly clean our e-mail boxes to prevent going over limits and a general good practice. Moreover, through Plesk control panel, HomepageUniverse customers can limit mailbox sizes to as little as 1 MB. This prevents other users of e-mail on your account from taking up to much disk space.

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Understanding the Basics of Electronic Mail
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Article No. 58
Created: 04:52 AM 12.19.03
Author: HPU Support

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