|Electronic mail (e-mail) is mail that is sent using a computer network. When you send an e-mail message, it is sent to another computer called an e-mail server. The server is like a post office. Your message waits on the server until the person you sent the message to (the recipient) opens his or her e-mail programme. Then the message leaves the server and moves to the computer of the recipient; see figure 1. |
Figure 1: How E-mail Works
E-mail messages have an address just as regular letters do. An e-mail address has two parts. The @ symbol separates these two parts. The first part of the address is the name of the recipient, and the second part is the domain name. An example of an e-mail address is email@example.com. Johnsmith is the recipient name and cisco.com is the domain name; see figure 2.
Figure 2: The Parts of an E-mail Address
All e-mail messages have the same format. When you send an e-mail, you have to type in the address of the recipient and write the subject line. Your e-mail programme automatically adds your own name and address and the date. You can also add files to your e-mail message. These are called attachments. When you receive an e-mail, all this information can be seen at the top of the e-mail. Figure 3 illustrates a typical e-mail heading.
Figure 3: A Typical E-mail Heading
When you receive an e-mail, there are several actions that you can perform. You can send a reply to the sender, you can send the message to someone else (this is called forwarding a message), or you can delete the message.