As you may know, sending and receiving emails is an integral part of our tech-oriented lives today. But how much do we actually know about what goes on once we hit the “Send” button in our mailbox?
Well, let us find out the “technical” part here below.
Understanding email servers
The tech element which is responsible for sending an email from an email address to another is the server. To make sure that an email reaches point B from point A, the email message is routed from the sender’s server to the recipient’s server. Now you might be wondering how these servers work?
What are the types of mail servers?
Mail servers are categorized into two prime categories, incoming mail servers, and outgoing mail servers. This type of server, also known as SMTP servers, follows the test SMTP authentication process to ensure reliability and security.
Incoming mail servers are broken down into two main components, IMAP and POP3. IMAP servers are responsible for storing copies of email messages on the servers. The main task of POP3 is to securely store sent and received emails on the hard drive of the system.
What happens when an email travels to the recipient from the sender?
Now that you have understood the functions of the mail servers, it is time for you to visualize how an email travels from point A to point B:
- The email attaches itself to the SMTP server of the domain
Most of us log into Gmail to send and receive mails because Gmail acts as a web-based email client. When you sign in to Gmail and hit the send option, Gmail has to associate itself with the proper SMTP server.
- Gmail communicating with the SMTP server
If the connection is successful, Gmail begins to provide information about your mail, like your recipient’s email address and the content to the SMTP server. Now the server begins to process your recipient’s email address to determine whether it belongs to the same domain. If yes, then routing servers would not be necessary and therefore the message will be directly routed to the IMAP or POP3 server, and otherwise, servers need to be routed.
- SMTP server connects with DNS to determine the recipient’s IP address
To send the email, the server needs to know the IP address of your recipient’s because only knowing the domain name would not be enough.
- Traveling through unrelated servers
After your SMTP knows the IP address of your recipient it starts its journey towards the IP address by traveling through a ton of unrelated servers. This continues until it reaches the appropriate server.
- Getting the final approval from the recipient server
Your recipient’s server has to process the message to decide whether it will land up in the recipient’s mailbox. This happens if your recipient’s SMTP server recognizes the username and domain name of the email.
These are the basic steps or technicalities behind the working of emails. Just imagine so much and more happens in the blinking of an eye, and our emails get delivered!