Frequent Internet users often consider regular mail as "snail mail." Why? Simple- it's so much slower than e-mail, or electronic mail! With regular mail, it can take days for someone to receive your letter. However, with e-mail, the message gets sent instantly- well, almost instantly! Your letter will reach its destination within a very short amount of time! Best of all, e-mail doesn't cost the 34 cents that regular mail costs!
E-mail is a great way for Internet users to communicate with each other. It lets people send messages to one another. Since communication is the essence of the Internet, e-mail is very important!
So now that you know that e-mail is really important what exactly is it? Basically, e-mail is just like a regular letter, except it's electronic. It is an electronic message that can be sent from one computer to another. There are two parts to an e-mail message.
How Does E-mail Work?
So, how does e-mail work? How can these messages be transferred from one person living in the United States to another living in Australia so quickly?
First, let's take a look at an e-mail address. A typical e-mail address might look like:
Courtesy of Learn
Copyright (c) Michael Lerner Productions.
On the left side of the axon sign (@) is the user name. It could be anything, from a first name to some cool, crazy nickname. The user name acts like a mailbox (more on this later). On the right side of the axon sign is the domain name. For more information on domains, check out the section on "domains." In a nutshell, the domain name in an e-mail address is the name of the e-mail server the user is using. For example, if you are using an e-mail service provided by America Online, then the domain name would be aol.com. If you were using a server provided by Hotmail, then the domain name would be hotmail.com. The .com part of the domain name is called the top-level domain. Different top-level domains represent different things. For example, .com represents a server for commercial purposes, while .org is for non-profit organizations and .edu is for educational organizations, colleges, and universities.
This Domain Name System is used to cover up for the Internet Protocol Address. Each domain name can be written as a series of 32-bit numbers, or as an IP Address. However, it's kind of hard to remember all these numbers. It'd be much easier to remember things like aol.com or hotmail.com. In addition, sometimes, a server can change IP Addresses, but it usually does not change domain names.
Now, we will put all of this together. Let's pretend that you are writing a letter to your grandma. You type up the message, type in her e-mail address, and click the little "send" button. The e-mail gets sent from one computer to another via computers known as mail servers. The message will travel from one mail server to another, until it finally reaches its destination mail server. There, it will be stored in the recipient's "mailbox," which is determined by his or her user name, until he or she picks it up.
Courtesy of Clips Ahoy
And there you go, the trek of an e-mail
message! As you can see, e-mails are pretty straightforward. They are also
a great invention! Now, we can send messages to people living hundreds, if
not thousands of miles away in a few seconds!
1995-2001, ThinkQuest Inc.all rights reserved