The Basics of Email

Email is a system of transmitting messages between individuals using electronic means. Email first entered limited commercial use in the early 1960s, when it was used by Email1and1 university students as a way of sending information back and forth. However, email quickly became popular among business owners who wanted to communicate with their clients on a regular basis.

In its earliest days, email was sent through a server maintained by the Electronic Communication Commission (ECC). This email system was vulnerable to security breaches because the system was opened on a variety of public networks, including the ARPANET, floppy diskettes, and Internet access. Security concerns increased with the widespread availability of computers and their widespread use. The Federal Trade Commission received thousands of reports detailing IT abuse related to email systems. In reaction, the FCC developed rules and guidelines intended to discourage email abuse.

Later that decade, email systems took another major step forward with the advent of the internet. An email could be sent without being accessed through a web browser, requiring that the recipient download an email program to his or her computer. Most email programs supported the local socket layer (LSL) technology, which provided a protocol to allow multiple computers to send and receive messages. Soon, however, companies started using more sophisticated technologies that could send large email messages over longer distances. This new technology, GSM, or Global Standard of Mobile communication, became a solution for mobile phone users who needed an email system but did not want to have to access and upload the email through the internet.

Currently, emails can be sent by virtually any computer with an internet connection, making it an exceptionally flexible communication medium. Web-based email services and email software packages can be installed on almost any operating system, from the very basic MSN, Yahoo, or Gmail, to more advanced platforms like LAMP. These email systems are highly configurable to include all of a company’s necessary features, and many are available for free. However, a dedicated email server is always required to send and receive email messages from an email account.

A company must designate an email server, or network, to host its email service. In most cases, a dedicated server is only used for the company’s email messaging needs, and for the organization’s email server. Large email accounts, or ones that require the storage and security of large email messages and attachments, are best housed on a dedicated hosting server. Another use for an email server is as a backup storage facility for email messages and attachments that may be lost, misplaced, or accidentally deleted by a user.

Although email systems have come a long way in terms of functionality and convenience, they still have some limitations that are worth noting. A user can only read or retrieve an email message that is in his or her inbox; the sender is not able to read any other email. Also, an email message can only be received or read on the computer from which it was sent. Finally, an email cannot be forwarded from one user to another.

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