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Smtp Stands For Simple Mail Transfer Protocol.

By Author: Nicolas Brown
Total Articles: 15

Familiar with the terms gmail, rediffmail, yahoo? They are mail servers and are used by a vast number of people worldwide to relay information or news to others who are miles away in just a blink of an eye. Although technology has replaced the traditional methods of communicating, the basic rules underlying the transfer of information more or less coincide with the rules laid down for the more primitive methods.

SMTP is basically a text-based protocol. In this type of protocol, a mail sender communicates with a mail receiver by issuing command strings (specific words that direct a server to execute actions) and supplying necessary data. This data is sent over a reliable ordered data stream channel. A typical SMTP session comprises commands sent by a SMTP sender and corresponding responses to these commands by a SMTP receiver so that session parameters can be exchanged and a session might be started. On initialization of a session, the sender then transfers the required information to the receiver following other protocols that control the transfer of data packets. Interestingly, it is a deliver protocol only and it cannot retrieve mails from a remote server.

Initially, this protocol suffered from a severe setback…it lacked the usual security measures (authentication via a username and password method) and thus, information was prone to falling into unwanted hands. To counter this, RFC 2554 introduced the SMTP-AUTH extension which allows users to specify security mechanisms for a SMTP mail server, authenticate the exchange, and negotiate a security profile for future message transfers after completing the authentication and security measures process. Microsoft introduced the Secure Password Authentication (SPA) protocol through the use of the SMTP-AUTH extension implemented by their products. However, spamming (overflowing inbox by sending useless mails) cannot be handled by these security measures. In order to reduce spamming, server administrators impose control on clients linking to a server by allowing users on whose IP the administrator has control over to link to the server and denying linking rights to users whose IP is beyond the administrators control. This procedure reduces spamming to a great extent, though, preventing spamming completely impossible without an external agent like anti-spam software.

To simulate a SMTP mail server, Microsoft introduced a software called Free SMTP Server. It is a SMTP mail server software for Windows which allows users to send email messages directly from their computer. This software is very useful for laptop users traveling the globe as they connect laptops to different Internet Service Providers in different countries. This software increases the users security and privacy as it does not use the ISP’s SMTP mail server.

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