SMTP stands for Simple Mail Transfer Protocol. It is a protocol used primarily for sending emails across the internet. SMTP dictates how email messages are formatted, encoded, and transmitted between mail servers, and it plays a crucial role in the email delivery process. Despite its name, SMTP is a complex system that ensures emails reach their intended recipients efficiently.

History and Development of SMTP SMTP was first defined in 1982 by Jonathan B. Postel in RFC 821 as a way to simplify the process of sending mail electronically. As the internet grew, the protocol was updated in 2008 with RFC 5321 to accommodate the needs of modern email transmission, introducing features to improve security and efficiency. SMTP's design allows it to handle not just text but also multimedia content as attachments.

Basic Functionality of SMTP SMTP operates using a 'store and forward' model, which means it temporarily stores incoming emails in a queue before forwarding them to the recipient's email server. The process begins when a user sends an email, which is then routed from the client's email server to the recipient's server using SMTP. This protocol works closely with the Mail Transfer Agent (MTA) to ensure that emails are properly routed to their destinations. SMTP uses a series of commands and responses to communicate between servers, such as HELO (greeting), MAIL FROM (sender's address), and RCPT TO (recipient's address), culminating in the DATA command, which precedes the actual body of the email message.


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