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Email – What is it and how do emails work?

How does email work?
Email (electronic mail) is a method of exchanging messages between people using the Internet or other computer networks.

An email message consists of a subject line, the body of the message (the content), and various other components like the sender's and recipient's email addresses, date and time, attachments, etc.

To send an email, the sender uses an email client (such as Gmail or Outlook) to connect to an email server, which then forwards the message to the recipient's email server. The recipient can then download the message using their email client.

Emails are stored on email servers, allowing users to access their messages from anywhere with an Internet connection.


I have heard about POP and IMAP, what are they?

POP (Post Office Protocol) and IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol) are two protocols used for retrieving email messages from a mail server and displaying them in an email client such as Microsoft Outlook or Apple Mail.

POP (version 3) is an older protocol that downloads the email messages from the server to the client's computer and typically only keeps a single copy of each message on the client. After messages are downloaded, they can be removed from the server.

IMAP, on the other hand, keeps all messages on the server and allows users to access their email from multiple devices. The email client syncs with the server and displays the messages, but the actual emails remain on the server and can be accessed from other devices. This makes IMAP a better choice for users who need to access their email from multiple devices.

How can I reduce the amount of spam my email account gets?

Here are some ways you can reduce the amount of spam in your email account:

  • Be careful when providing your email address. Only provide it to trusted sources.
  • Use a spam filter: Most email service providers come with built-in spam filters. Make sure yours is enabled.
  • Mark emails as spam: If an email ends up in your inbox but is spam, mark it as spam. This will help your email provider's spam filter learn what kind of emails you consider spam.
  • Unsubscribe from unwanted emails: Many spam emails come from newsletters and promotional emails you have subscribed to in the past. Unsubscribe from these emails to reduce the amount of spam you receive.
  • Use a different email address for sign-ups: Consider creating a separate email address that you use only for signing up for things online. This way, if it starts receiving spam, you can simply delete that email address.
  • Be cautious of attachments and links: Be wary of attachments and links in emails, especially if they come from unknown senders.
  • Enable two-factor authentication: This adds an extra layer of security to your email account, making it less likely for spammers to access it.

Should I send large attachments by email?

Sending large attachments via email may not be the best option in certain cases as email servers have size limits for attachments. If an attachment is too large, it may not go through or the recipient's email service provider may reject it.

In such cases, you can use alternative file-sharing services like Google Drive, Dropbox, or WeTransfer, which allow you to send large files securely. You can upload the file to these services and then share the download link with the recipient.

It's also a good idea to compress the file before sending it, as this can significantly reduce the file size and make it easier to send via email.

Why does my email go into the recipients spam folder?
There are several reasons why emails may end up in a recipient's spam folder:

  • Spammy content: If your email contains language or images that are commonly associated with spam, it is likely to be filtered into the recipient's spam folder.
  • Sender reputation: The reputation of the sender's email address and domain can also impact deliverability. If your email address or domain has a history of sending spam, your emails may be more likely to end up in the recipient's spam folder.
  • Email formatting: Poor email formatting, such as using a lot of images, multiple font colours, or large font sizes, can also trigger spam filters.
  • Unsolicited emails: Sending unsolicited emails, especially in large numbers, can cause your emails to be flagged as spam.
  • Use of certain words or phrases: Some words and phrases, such as "earn money fast" or "limited time offer," are commonly used by spammers and may cause your email to be filtered as spam.
  • To avoid having your emails filtered as spam, it's important to follow best practices for email deliverability, such as using a clear and concise subject line, avoiding the use of spam trigger words, and sending emails only to individuals who have explicitly opted in to receive them.

What are SPF and DKIM and how do they affect email deliverability?

SPF (Sender Policy Framework) and DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail) are two email authentication protocols that help to improve email deliverability and reduce the risk of email fraud.

SPF: SPF is an email validation system that helps to prevent email spoofing. It allows domain owners to specify which IP addresses are authorised to send email on behalf of their domain. When an email is received, the receiving mail server checks the SPF record of the sending domain to determine if the IP address that sent the email is authorised. If the IP address is not authorised, the email may be marked as spam or rejected altogether.

DKIM: DKIM is a digital signature that verifies that an email was sent by the domain it claims to be sent from, and that it has not been modified during transit. A DKIM signature is added to the headers of an email, and it can be used to validate the authenticity of the sender and the integrity of the email's contents.

Both SPF and DKIM are important tools for improving email deliverability and reducing the risk of email fraud. By implementing these protocols, you can help ensure that your emails are delivered to the inbox and not filtered as spam.