How E-mail Works
It can take a day to send a letter across town and weeks to go around the world. To save time and money, you can't beat electronic mail. It's fast, easy and cheaper than using the postal service.What is E-mail?
In its simplest form, e-mail is an electronic message sent from one device to another. While many messages go from computer to computer, e-mail can also be sent and received by mobile phones, PDAs and other portable devices. With e-mail, you can send and receive personal and business-related messages with attachments, such as photos and documents. You can also send music, podcasts, video clips and software programs.
Let's say you have a small business with sales reps working around the country. How do you communicate without running up a huge phone bill? Or what about keeping in touch with far-flung family members? E-mail is the way to go. It's no wonder e-mail remains the Internet's most popular service.Follow the Trail
Just as a letter makes stops at different postal stations along the way to its final destination, e-mail passes from one computer, known as a mail server, to another as it travels over the Internet. Once it arrives at the destination mail server, it's stored in an electronic mailbox until the recipient retrieves it. This whole process takes seconds, allowing you to quickly communicate with people around the world at any time of the day.Sending and Receiving Messages
To receive e-mail, you need an account on a mail server. This is similar to having a postal box where you receive letters. One advantage over regular mail is that you can retrieve your e-mail from any location on earth, provide that you have Internet access. Once you connect to your mail server, you either download your messages to your computer or wireless device, or use your web browser to read them online.