A mail server (also known as aÂ mail transfer agentÂ or MTA, aÂ mail transport agent, aÂ mail routerÂ or anÂ Internet mailer) is an application that receives incoming e-mail from local users (people within the sameÂ domain) and remote senders and forwards outgoing e-mail for delivery. A computer dedicated to running such applications is also called a mail server. Microsoft Exchange, q mail,Â EximÂ andÂ send mailÂ are among the more common mail server programs.
The mail server works in conjunction with other programs to make up what is sometimes referred to as a messaging system. A messaging system includes all the applications necessary to keep e-mail moving as it should. When you send an e-mail message, your e-mail program, such as Outlook or Eudora, forwards the message to your mail server, which in turn forwards it either to another mail server or to a holding area on the same server called aÂ message storeÂ to be forwarded later. As a rule, the system usesÂ SMTPÂ (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) orÂ ESMTPÂ (extended SMTP) for sending e-mail, and eitherPOP3Â (Post Office Protocol 3) orÂ IMAPÂ (Internet Message Access Protocol) for receiving e-mail.
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Often referred to as simply "mail server", anÂ e-mailÂ serverÂ is a computer within your network that works as your virtual post office. A mail server usually consists of a storage area where e-mail is stored for local users, a set of user definable rules which determine how the mail server should react to the destination of a specific message, aÂ databaseÂ of user accounts that the mail server recognizes and will deal with locally, and communications modules which are the components that actually handle the transfer of messages to and from other mail servers and email clients. Generally the person responsible for the maintenance of the e-mail server (editing users, monitoring system activity) is referred to as the postmaster. Most mail servers are designed to operate without any manual intervention during normal operation.
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Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP)
Simple Mail Transfer ProtocolÂ (SMTP) is anÂ Internet standardÂ forÂ electronic mailÂ (e-mail) transmission acrossÂ Internet ProtocolÂ (IP) networks. SMTP was first defined byÂ RFC 821Â (STDÂ 10) (1982),Â and last updated byÂ RFC 5321Â (2008)Â which includes theÂ extended SMTPÂ (ESMTP) additions, and is the protocol in widespread use today. SMTP is specified for outgoing mail transport and usesÂ TCPÂ portÂ 25. The protocol for new submissions is effectively the same as SMTP, but it uses port 587 instead.
While electronicÂ mail serversÂ and otherÂ mail transfer agentsÂ use SMTP to send and receive mail messages, user-level client mail applications typically only use SMTP for sending messages to a mail server forÂ relaying. For receiving messages, client applications usually use either theÂ Post Office ProtocolÂ (POP) or theÂ Internet Message Access ProtocolÂ (IMAP) or a proprietary system (such as Microsoft Exchange or Lotus Notes/Domino) to access their mail box accounts on a mail server.
Post Office Protocol (POP)
In computing, theÂ Post Office ProtocolÂ (POP) is anÂ application-layerÂ Internet standardÂ protocolÂ used by localÂ e-mail clientsÂ to retrieveÂ e-mailÂ from a remote serverÂ over aÂ TCP/IPÂ connection. POP andÂ IMAPÂ (Internet Message Access Protocol) are the two most prevalentÂ InternetÂ standard protocols for e-mail retrieval. Virtually all modern e-mail clients andÂ serversÂ support both. The POP protocol has been developed through several versions, with version 3 (POP3) being the current standard. Like IMAP, POP3 is supported by mostÂ webmailÂ services such asÂ GmailÂ andÂ Yahoo! Mail.
Microsoft Exchange Server
Microsoft Exchange ServerÂ is the server side of aÂ client-server,Â collaborativeÂ application product developed byÂ Microsoft. It is part of the MicrosoftÂ line ofÂ serverÂ products and is used byÂ enterprisesÂ using Microsoft infrastructure products. Exchange's major features consist of electronic,Â calendaring, contacts and tasks; support for mobile and web-based access to information; and support forÂ data storage.
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A port number is a way to identify a specific process to which an Internet or other network message is to be forwarded when it arrives at aÂ server. For the Transmission Control Protocol and the User Datagram Protocol, a port number is a 16-bitÂ integerÂ that is put in the header appended to a message unit. This port number is passed logically betweenÂ clientÂ and server transport layers and physically between the transport layer and theÂ Internet ProtocolÂ layer and forwarded on.
Outgoing Email Server
Email clients require an address for theÂ outgoingÂ emailÂ serverÂ and the POP3 or incomingÂ serverÂ in order to collect and send mail. Internet Service Providers (ISPs) provide these addresses to customers at the time a subscription or contract is enacted, and mailÂ serverÂ addresses are also commonly listed on the ISPs' website. In some cases bothÂ outgoingÂ and incoming mail will be handled by a singleÂ server, such asÂ mail.[yourisp].com; but often theÂ outgoingÂ emailÂ serverÂ address resemblesÂ smtp.[yourisp].com, and the incoming address,Â pop3.[yourisp].com.
Authentication is required to access anÂ outgoingÂ emailÂ server, consisting of theÂ usernameÂ andÂ passwordÂ associated with the customer'sÂ ISPÂ account. This protects the ISP from handlingÂ outgoingÂ email generated by non-customers, which could quickly bog down its resources. Additionally, authentication allows theÂ server's administration to more easily control activity on its outgoingÂ emailÂ serverÂ to help prevent abuses likeÂ spamÂ andÂ fraud.
Once mail is sent to anÂ outgoingÂ emailÂ server, the associated SMTPÂ serverÂ reads the headers in the email message in order to relay the message to its destination. A dialog begins between itself and the next mailÂ serverÂ along the route. The dialog takes the form of a set of requests and responses, which moves the mail forward to its ultimate destination. The mail might travel though several intermediary hosts before reaching the host that serves as the incoming mailÂ serverÂ for the recipient. If there is a problem along the way, the mail might be sent back to re-trace its route to the sender, arriving as undeliverable.
Microsoft Exchange ServerÂ is the server side of aÂ client-server,Â collaborativeÂ application product developed byÂ Microsoft. It is part of the Microsoft ServersÂ line ofÂ serverÂ products and is used byÂ enterprisesÂ using Microsoft infrastructure products. Exchange's major features consist of electronic mail,Â calendaring, contacts and tasks; support for mobile and web-based access to information; and support forÂ data storage.
List of exchange
- Exchange 1.0 - Exchange Server 4.0
- Exchange Server 5.0 - Exchange 2000 Server
- Exchange Server 2003 - Exchange Server 2007
- Exchange Server 2010
For networks, a port means an endpoint to a logical connection. The port number identifies what type of port it is. Here are the default email ports for:
POP3 - port 110 - IMAP - port 143
SMTP - port 25 - HTTP - port 80
Secure SMTP (SSMTP) - port 465 - Secure IMAP (IMAP4-SSL) - port 585
IMAP4 over SSL (IMAPS) - port 993 - Secure POP3 (SSL-POP) - port 995