Commonly known as email or e-mail, electronic mail is a method of exchanging digital messages from an author to one or more persons. Email operates across the Internet or other computer networks. Email is an electronic mail for sending, receiving and storing of our electronic messages. Email has gained popularity with the spread of the Internet. Today, email is the preferred method of communication.
The email system is based on store and forward model in which email server computer system accepts, forwards, delivers and stores the messages on behalf of users to send and receive email messages. Email consists of two parts: the message header and the message body. The header contains the information like one or more sender's address, receiver's address, data, content, length, etc. whereas the body part contains the actual message which the sender has sent to the receiver.
It is one of the most frequently used features of the internet. Many people sign up for internet services so that they can send and receive e-mail messages. The internet is now the world’s largest electronic mail system. More than 30 million people are directly connected to the internet and can send and receive electronic mails.
Uses of Email:
(Shrestha & Khanal, 2013)
Email is probably the most used feature of the web. With this technology, we can not only send text messages but also digital files like images, audio, video, etc. attached to the email message. There are mainly 2 major email types: POP email and Web-based email.
1) POP email account
This type of email account requires a client application installed on the user's computers. The user has to get the service from the email service provider for free or by paying some amount. The user then gets user id and password along with the POP mail server configuration that is required to setup the email client. The popular email clients are Microsoft Outlook, Opera Mail etc. To send the mail, a user composes the mail using the email client and posts the mail to the email server. The email server then sends the mail to the destination address.
2) Web-based email account:
Web-based email accounts can be accessed using a web browser (yes, the same program that we use for surfing the web) from which we can compose, reply, send, forward and organize email.
To gain access to our account, we use a web browser to visit the home page of the email service and enter our login details. All of our messages and address book (contact list) are stored on web servers owned by the respective companies. We need an active internet connection to log on to our account and check our emails. For instance, the sign in page for Yahoo is located at www.yahoo.com and to log in at our Hotmail account, we need to enter our full email address and our password.
Advantages of Web-based email:
Disadvantages of Web-based email:
1) Email accounts provided by the ISP:
ISPs generally provide an email account for free with the internet connection. If we don't get one from our ISP, we should seriously consider shifting to another provider. Anyway, the main advantage of using an email account provided by the ISP is the support we receive; we can either call the ISP or refer the extended documentation (usually) provided in their manual.
ISPs know that many users would be new to the web and so have a helpful and patient staff to help troubleshoot problems. This is in direct contrast to web-based email service providers such as Hotmail, Gmail or Yahoo! Mail where, unless we take the paid version, the support is sadly missing. However, there is one major drawback in having our ISP account as our primary email address for online correspondence. If we change our service provider or shift to a new location where our old ISP has no service, we might lose the email address; else we have to keep paying for it.
2) Website email accounts:
Do we own a website? Depending on our hosting package, we can create email accounts on the websites for ourselves or our staff. Most web hosting companies let us access emails through a web-based interface or download the messages using email programs such as Outlook Express, Windows Mail, Thunderbird, Apple Mail, etc.
3) Email accounts from institutions, schools, colleges etc:
Our schools or institutions can also provide us with email accounts. Typically, we need to contact the IT department that provides the email id and password required for the email service .This type of email account is not recommended to be used as our primary email account. It's good for internal purposes in school and colleges because it helps in being updated about things going around in school. This email account is unusable once we leave the institution or the school.
4) Email account from our company:
If we work in a medium-sized or a large company, they would probably have their own email servers. Generally, we get our own email address a few days after joining the company. This would be our business email ID. It is better to keep this type of email account away from personal correspondence.
(Karn & Pudasaini, 2015)
Karn, M. K., & Pudasaini, D. (2015). Computer Science I. Anamnagar, Kathmandu: Buddha Publication.
Shrestha, P. R., & Khanal, R. (2013). Computer Essentials I. Putalisadak, Kathmandu: Asmita's Publication.