What You Should Know About Your Email

Email has been part of our daily lives for quite some time now. Most of us use it and the only threat to it recently has been the advent of social networks and instant messaging programs.

However, despite this, email remains a very popular and cheap way to communicate. As a Nottingham web designer, i provide email services to customers so I have had to learn much about how it works. But most people who use email have no clue about how it works. Which is fair enough. I drive a car but don't have much of a clue about what goes on under the bonnet.

There are several things that are worth knowing about email that before today, you might not have known.

1. Email is Not Secure At All

I once played an April Fool's Joke on a colleague by sending an email as if I were him to our colleagues who worked for the same company. It was a harmless joke that he found very funny. However, he was really shocked that I had been able to send an email as if I were him. He asked me how I had hacked into his email account and how I had got hold of his password.

The fact is that I had not done either of these things. Spoofing the "from" email address is extremely simple and takes little or no knowledge.

So never take it for granted that an email you receive comes from the person from whom it purports to come.

2. Know Your POP3 From Your IMAP From Your SMTP

You may remember these codes from the last time you set up your email address. I think it is worth a brief explanation of what these mean.

POP3 is the term given to the most common method of retrieving incoming email. If you retrieve your email on one PC only, then this is the method to use.

IMAP is the second most common method of retrieving email and is very useful when you want to synchronise your email between two devices. For example your PC and your smartphone.

SMTP is the method by which almost all email is sent.

3. Check Your Spam Regularly

More than 50% of all email traffic is unsolicited spam. For this reason, most of us have some sort of spam filter to take these annoying messages out of our inboxes. However, it is not a precise science and it is worth regularly scanning your spam box for any emails that were deleted but which you actually wanted to receive.

4. Don't Send Big Files

Email was invented many years ago and is not very efficient at sending large files. I recommend limiting them to 3 megabytes only. Anything larger could cause you or the recipient a problem. Try zipping files before you send them, this can make an enormous difference.

5. Don't Show Your Email Address on a Website

Don't put your email address on your website. Use a contact form instead. Once your email address is present on a website it becomes a magnet for the spammers. They have special programs that can trawl the Internet for email addresses and you will surely have major problems within a few weeks of doing this.

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