E-mail explained: Building Block 2 - E-Mail Types

Building Block 1 explained how the mail gets to and from your mailbox, Building Block 2 continues with what is an "email address" compares to an "email mailbox" and the types of mailboxes available.

E-Mail Explained: Building Block 2 - Mailbox Types
Our World Computer World
Mailing Address E-Mail Address
Royal Mail Redirection Service Email Redirection
In-Tray, Out Tray, Post Box Mailbox
Email Address

As we covered in Building Block 1 the email address sets whether the email is accepted or rejected by the email server. If there is a mailbox on the server with the email address it is accepted if not an error is returned to say the email address does not exist. Think of Elvis "Return to Sender Address Unknown".

Taking this a step further multiple email addresses can be setup to deliver email to a single mailbox.

Method 1. Redirection

- email to mail1@zebraIT.commail1@zebraIT.com redirects to mail2@zebraIT.commail2@zebraIT.com


- Easy to setup (Usually can be configured by your Web Designer)

- Suitable for all mailbox types


You can only reply using mail1@zebraIT.commail1@zebraIT.com (another example where you can take our word for it or ask Google, as it's too much for what we are covering here.)

Method 2. Mailbox with multiple email addresses

- mail1@zebraIT.commail1@zebraIT.com and mail2@zebraIT.commail2@zebraIT.com


- You can reply and send new messages from either address mail1@zebraIT.commail1@zebraIT.com or mail2@zebraIT.commail2@zebraIT.com


- Configuration is limited on some mailboxes and sometimes not available at all

Email Mailbox

Back in the days before email, if you worked in an office on your desk might have been a plastic stacking tray system with an Inbox and Outbox. Now with email we all have an electronic version of this. The difference in the mailboxes is how we access the information. Lets cover the 3 main ways we access our email today.

Method 1. POP3 - Post Office Protocol (version 3)

The standard configuration downloads all the emails from the server to a single computer. It is possible to ask for a copy to be left on the server for a set number of days or when it has been deleted from your deleted items. This is still probably the most common method of email access, however with the introduction of multiple computers and smart phones to access a single mailbox POP3 becomes very difficult to track your emails. If you have one computer with a regular backup to an external drive POP3 can still work for you, any more access than this POP3 may no longer be for you.

Method 2. IMAP - Internet Message Access Protocol

Unlike POP, IMAP offers two-way communication between your email server and your email client. This means when you make a change to your mailbox on your computer the change is replicated to the server.

IMAP also provides a better method to access your mail from multiple devices. If you check your email at work, on your mobile phone, and again at home, IMAP ensures that new mail is accessible from any device at any given time.

Finally, IMAP offers a more stable experience overall. Whereas POP is prone to losing messages or downloading the same messages multiple times, IMAP avoids this through two-way syncing capabilities between your mail clients.

Method 3. Corporate Email - Office 365, Google Apps

Corporate email functions like IMAP with two-way communication between the server and your email client. However email, contacts and calendar entries are now synchronised between all devices.

Office 365 and Google Apps both provide a corporate email service from one to thousands of users, each have slightly different functionality and user interaction. zebra IT prefer Office 365, however you can also find companies who work with Google Apps.

With corporate mail, in addition to the multi-device access you can have multiple users on the same server sharing the access to their individual mailboxes. You can share calendars with multiple people so you can schedule meetings more effectively. Shared email and contacts allow you all to keep in contact with your customers as a single entity.

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