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Email Glossary

Authentication: Any system to verify the legitimacy of access, such as through a password.

Auto-responder: an automatic message sent out in reply to an email, such as the common “out-of-office” messages when someone is on vacation.

CAN-SPAM Act: The U.S. law that regulates commercial email, passed in 2003. It does not prohibit unsolicited commercial email but provides regulations to try and prevent abuse. Consequences can include criminal prosecution.

Domain name: The name (or URL) of a website such as “” or “”

Email client: A program that runs on your computer specifically for receiving, sending and storing email. Examples are Outlook, Outlook Express, Apple Mail, Entourage, Eudora and Thunderbird.

Forwarder: an email address that does not actually receive or send email but simply forwards received email to another address.

IMAP: Internet Message Access Protocol, a method of accessing email while leaving it on the mail server, so the same email can be accessed from more than one computer.

ISP: Internet Service Provider, the company which provides the connection between a computer and the Internet. Verizon, Comcast, AOL, Earthlink and Brighthouse Networks are examples.

POP3: Post Office Protocol 3, details how most email is received over the Internet.

Port: an arbitrary digital channel for access to a computer. Different port numbers are reserved for specific purposes.

Server: any computer which serves other computers or devices usually in a specified way. A hosting server holds websites and connects them to the Internet. A mail server handles incoming and or outgoing email.

SMTP: Simple Mail Transfer Protocol, details how email is sent over the Internet.

SSL: Secure Socket Layer. The usual method of preventing confidential information such as passwords and credit card data from being intercepted and read by the wrong people.

Web browser: A program for viewing websites, such as Internet Explorer, Safari or Firefox.

Webmail: Any program for accessing email through a web browser as opposed to through an email client.

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