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Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (MIME) is an Internet standard that helps extend the limited capabilities of email by allowing insertion of images, sounds and text in a message. It was proposed by Bell Communications in 1991, and the specification was originally defined in June 1992 for RFCs 1341 and 1342.
MIME was designed to extend the format of email to support non-ASCII characters, attachments other than text format, and message bodies which contain multiple parts. MIME describes the message content type and the type of encoding used with the help of headers. All manually composed and automated emails are transmitted through SMTP in MIME format. The association of Internet email with SMTP and MIME standards is such that the emails are sometimes referred to as SMTP/MIME email. The MIME standard defines the content types which are of prime importance in communication protocols like HTTP for the World Wide Web. The data are transmitted in the form of email messages through HTTP even though the data are not an email.
The features offered by MIME to email services are as follows:
MIME is extensible because it defines a method to register new content types and other MIME attribute values. The format of a message body is described by MIME using special header directives. This is done so that the email can be represented correctly by the client.