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Email server

A space on a dedicated internet server used for email services. It runs the necessary processes to allow email clients to communicate during the exchange of messages and stores emails according to its preset configuration so that they can be accessed, for example, through webmail.

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What types of email servers are there?

To send and receive messages, you need access to two types of email servers:

  • Outgoing server: The most common protocol is SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol), which allows a message to travel from the sender's provider to the recipient's provider.
  • Incoming server: This server delivers the message to the recipient's email inbox. Different protocols can be used depending on how the information is managed:
    • POP3 (Post Office Protocol): Downloads the message to the email client and deletes it from the server.
    • IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol): Downloads the message to the email client but retains it on the server, allowing it to be accessed from other devices.

When setting up or configuring an email account, the user needs to enter the data provided by their email service provider for both servers, for example, or, and the security information used to authenticate the user and password for sending or receiving, such as whether authentication is required or the port through which it connects.

How does an email server work?

In addition to sending and receiving emails, an email server performs various functions, such as message filtering and storage. The process typically follows these steps:

  • The user opens their email client, composes a message, and clicks "send."
  • The email client connects to the SMTP server, checks the data to confirm permission to send, and sends the message to the recipient.
  • The outgoing server applies a filter to the message and, if it passes, sends it to the recipient's incoming server, which receives it based on the recipient's email client configuration, such as push notifications or manual checking for new messages.

The incoming email server is also responsible for organizing the stored emails, creating folders, sending responses, or deleting messages, for example.

The primary email servers are often integrated with email clients, such as Gmail, Outlook, or Zoho Mail.