How email works

Email is one of the most widely used forms of communication in the world, and it’s an essential part of our digital lives. But have you ever wondered how it works from the client’s perspective? In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at how emails are sent and received, starting with the process of accessing a mail server via MX records and DNS.

First, let’s define some terms:

  • MX (Mail Exchange) record: A type of DNS record that specifies the mail server responsible for accepting email messages on behalf of a domain.
  • DNS (Domain Name System): A decentralized system that translates domain names into IP addresses and other information.
  • Mail server: A computer system responsible for receiving, forwarding, and storing email messages.
  • Email client: A software application used by an individual to send and receive email messages. Examples include Microsoft Outlook, Apple Mail, and Gmail.

Now, let’s dive into the process of sending an email:

  1. The email client connects to the recipient’s mail server using the recipient’s email address.
  2. The client then looks up the MX records for the recipient’s domain to determine the mail server responsible for accepting email messages.
  3. Once the client knows the IP address of the mail server, it opens a connection and sends the email message.
  4. The mail server accepts the message and stores it in a queue. The server then tries to deliver the message to the recipient’s mailbox.

The process of receiving an email is similar:

  1. The recipient opens their email client and requests any new messages.
  2. The client sends a request to the recipient’s mail server, asking for any new messages.
  3. The server returns any new messages to the client, which then displays them to the recipient.

In summary, accessing a mail server via MX records and DNS is a crucial part of the email process. It allows email clients to find the correct mail server responsible for accepting email messages on behalf of a domain and ensures that messages are delivered to the correct recipient. Whether you’re sending or receiving an email, this process happens behind the scenes, making email a seamless and convenient form of communication.