Simple Mail Transfer Protocol

What Does Simple Mail Transfer Protocol Mean?

Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) is the standard protocol for email services on a TCP/IP network. SMTP provides the ability to send and receive email messages.

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SMTP is an application-layer protocol that enables the transmission and delivery of email over the Internet. SMTP is created and maintained by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF).

Simple Mail Transfer Protocol is also known as RFC 821 and RFC 2821.

Techopedia Explains Simple Mail Transfer Protocol

SMTP is one of the most common and popular protocols for email communication over the Internet and it provides intermediary network services between the remote email provider or organizational email server and the local user accessing it.

SMTP is generally integrated within an email client application and is composed of four key components:

  1. Local user or client-end utility known as the mail user agent (MUA)
  2. Server known as mail submission agent (MSA)
  3. Mail transfer agent (MTA)
  4. Mail delivery agent (MDA)

SMTP works by initiating a session between the user and server, whereas MTA and MDA provide domain searching and local delivery services.

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Margaret Rouse

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.