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If you are using a computer with an Internet connection, you almost certainly have acquired or have been given an email address. So in this chapter, we are going to be looking at the basics of emailing. Let's start with a quick overview of what email is and how it works. Emails are electronic text-based messages you can send and receive either through the web site of your email hosting service or through a dedicated email software program called an email client. When you want to send an email to some one, you need to know his or her email address. Then you compose a message using your email client or through your email provider's web site.
Your email can be plain text, but you can also include attachments like photos and short audio or video files. When you're done composing your email, you click Send, which sends your email through your email provider server. Your email service provider server looks the address of your recipient to figure out where to send it next. Your email is then sent to your recipient's email hosting service and stored there until your recipient downloads the email into his or her own email client or reads it from a web browser. Once you click Send, it can be just a matter of seconds before your email arrives at your recipient's email server. Now whether this email is then read right away depends upon whether your recipient is sitting in front of his or her computer at the time or has access to some portable email capable device like a smart phone.
And that's a very basic description of how email works. Both,you and your recipient have to have your own email addresses. Usually your work or school will provide you with an address. If you're at home, your Internet service provider will give you an email address. Or you can also sign up for free email addresses from services like Google's Gmail, Microsoft's Hotmail or Yahoo! Mail. You can also have and manage as many email address as you wish. Some people like to keep their work and personal email separate and that's generally a good idea. You probably don't want personal messages going to your work's email address. Many companies have policies in place stating that any email that goes through their servers are their property and can be reviewed by them at any time.
Also if you were to change jobs, you'd probably lose access to the emails that came to your work address. Personally, I prefer a free email service like Gmail, which isn't tied to a work or internet service provider, because you might find your self switching Internet providers at some time and you'd have to again change your address and you might lose your old emails that you received through your service provider. Okay, so those are some basic things thing to know and keep in mind about email. We'll get in to more specific topics in the rest of this chapter.
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