What is Email?

what is email

Developed by a developer, Raymond Samuel Tomlinson in 1972, “E-mail” also known as “electronic mail” or “email” is one of the most popular medium of connecting, communicating and sharing files, images, links etc. between two or more persons. Traditionally, E-Mail was one of the first activities used over the internet and it simplified the process of sharing data and information while reducing cost. This helped E-Mail gain an upper hand over the traditional postal system and was the prime reason for its growing success and popularity.

Key highlights of the blog are:-

  • Origin of E-mail
  • What is Email?
  • What is E-mai Id?
  • What Makes an E-mail Id Valid?
  • What Can be Sent in an E-mail?
  • Advantages of E-mail
  • The Bottom Line

Origin Of E-mail

  • Widely used for communication and sharing of data and information today, E-mail was originally a gift given by Raymond Samuel Tomlinson who was a developer at Bolt, Beranek and Newman (presently known as BBN) Technologies.
  • He sent the first e-mail to himself which was transmitted through Advanced Research Project Agency Networks (ARPANET) in 1971 and in 1972 he designed and implemented the first e-mail messaging program for PDP-10 computers.
  • However, at that time the computers required two individual programs, SNDMSG and READMAIL for sending and retrieving mail respectively.

What Is E-mail?

  • “E-mail” or “electronic mail” is one of the protocol which is included within the Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) and is used for the exchange of computer-stored data and information between two or more persons in the form of messages by telecommunications.
  • Usually, E-mail messages are encoded in American Standard Code for Information Interchange (ASCII) and contain text files. However, one can also send non-text files such as graphic images, sound files, links etc. simply by attaching them with the mail which is eventually sent in binary streams.
  • Today, E-mails are so popular that it consists of a large share of total traffic over the internet and can be used by anyone simply by using browser-based electronic mail programs such as Gmail, AOL or by using non-browser-based electronic mail programs such as Outlook which provide you with an e-mail Id for sharing messages that may contain text, images, sound clips, links etc.

What Is E-mail Id or Email address?

An E-mail Id is a unique Id provided by the electronic mail program to the user which acts as an address from where the e-mail can be sent or received. This is the reason why e-mail Id is often referred to as e-mail address. The e-mail Id is the prime requirement for sending an e-mail and can be divided into three parts or segments.

  • The part before the @ symbol, contains the user, alias, group or department of a company. This is the first portion of all email addresses and is used to identify the name of the mailbox. This part often refers to the username of the recipient.
  • Next, the @ (at sign) acts as a divider and is required for all SMTP e-mail addresses.
  • Finally, the part after the @ symbol refers to the domain name which belongs to the user and is the last portion of all email addresses.

What Makes An E-Mail address Valid?

As stated earlier, a valid e-mail address is the minimum basic requirement for sending an e-mail. The following rules, make an e-mail Id valid:-

  • An e-mail Id must begin with a username, followed by @ sign and a domain name with a domain suffix at the end.
  • The username must not exceed 64 characters.
  • The domain name must not exceed 254 characters.
  • The username in particular and the e-mail address, in general, must not begin an end with a period.
  • The e-mail address must not contain two consecutive periods.

Note :- In addition to these, the following points must also be kept in mind

  • Special characters and spaces are also valid but are not supported by some e-mail providers.
  • Although, the standard requires the local part (the portion before the @symbol) to be case sensitive, it also urges the mailing host to deliver e-mails in a case-independent fashion. This means that both the local part written in uppercase and lowercase are treated similarly and not separately.

What Can Be Sent In An E-mail?

Today, e-mails are widely used by individuals for one-to-one connection, both personally as well as professionally. This is the reason why most of the e-mails contain text messages. However, in addition to text, one can also send other stuff such as graphic images, PDF files, Excel files, Word Documents, hyperlinks or any file stored on his/her computer system through an e-mail.

Note:- While a variety of files can be shared over e-mail, most of the e-mail providers have file restrictions and this is the reason why users fail to share files or programs even when the files are available on their customer system as it exceeds the file size set by the e-mail provider.

Advantages Of E-mail

Owing to the advantages that e-mail has, it has managed to gain an upper hand over the traditional postal system ever since it came into existence. Some of the advantages of e-mail are as follows:-

Cost Effective :

Sending an e-mail is very cost-effective as it does not incur any cost and is virtually free for anyone who is connected to the internet. There are various free e-mail services that an individual or an organization can use once they are connected to the internet. Also, in contrast to buying a stamp for sending a letter, you do not need to pay anything to send an e-mail.

Global Reach :

E-mails have a global reach as they can be sent nearly to anywhere in the world, to any country.

Instant Delivery And Easy Accessibility:

E-mails are instantly delivered and can be accessed by anyone as long as he/she has a stable internet connection.

Flexibility :

E-mails allow individuals to respond and communicate at their own convenience and thus gives flexibility to the individuals.

Mass Sending

E-mails make it easy for the sender to send the same message to a large group of people and thus adds the convenience of mass sending for the sender.

File Attachments :

E-mail allows an individual to send attachments such as graphic images, sound clips, documents, hyperlinks etc. in addition to text in the form of a message.

Long- Term Storage :

The messages over e-mail are stored electronically on a server and thus it facilitates the storing of messages for a long period of time.

Allows Sorting Of Messages :

E-mails enable individuals to filter, sort and see the messages as per their need. This helps them to avoid unwanted messages and focus on important or relevant ones.

Environment Friendly :

By sending an e-mail you can conserve paper resources such as paper, cardboard or packing tape and thus is regarded as environmentally friendly.

The Bottom Line

Wrapping it up all I would say is, e-mails are the new way of communicating and sharing data in this digital age. Today, e-mail is widely used by almost everyone for personal as well as professional communication. The paperless concept of e-mail and the various advantages that it posses over the traditional postal system is what drives more and more individuals towards using e-mail.

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