Short for electronic mail, e-mail or email is information stored on a computer that is exchanged between two users over telecommunications. More simply, e-mail is a message that may contain text, files, images, or other attachments sent through a network to a specified individual or group of individuals. The first e-mail was sent by Ray Tomlinson in 1971. By 1996, more electronic mail was being sent than postal mail.
Advantages of using Email
- Global delivery – email can be sent to nearly anywhere around the world, to any country.
- Instant delivery – An email can be instantly sent and received by the recipient over the Internet.
- Free delivery – Sending an e-mail is virtually free, outside the cost of Internet service. There is no need to buy a postage stamp to send a letter.
- File attachment – An email can include one or more file attachments, allowing a person to send documents, pictures, or other files with an e-mail.
- Long-term storage – E-mails are stored electronically, which allows for storage and archival over long periods of time.
How to send and receive emails
To send and receive e-mail messages, you can use an e-mail program, also known as an e-mail client, such as Microsoft Outlook or Gmail. When using an email client, you must have a server that stores and delivers your messages, which is provided by your ISP or in some cases, another company. An e-mail client needs to connect to a server to download new email, whereas email stored online updates automatically when you visit the site.