Learn Why SMTP Server – Free Versions Are A Smart Choice For Small To Mid-Sized Organizations

Reliance on email has grown by leaps and bounds in today’s fast advancing world of digital communication. However, very few pause and ponder how an email transfer happens. What facilitates the transfer of text and other data from a sender’s email account to that of a receiver? The answer to this is nothing but SMTP, which is an acronym that stands for ‘Simple Mail Transfer Protocol’.


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SMTP & SMTP Server

SMTP is one of the most common IT protocols used for online digital communication via emails. It works in conjunction with an SMTP server, which refers to a software application whose role is to facilitate sending emails from the sender to the receiver for communication.

SMTP Server Example – Free Version

With SMTP servers, one can find both options, namely SMTP server example – free version as well as the paid one. While large businesses need a paid version with advanced features, for smaller-scale operations, a free SMTP server would suffice. Perhaps the best SMTP example for a free version would be the Gmail’s SMTP server, which is extremely easy to configure. It only requires one to follow a few simple steps and some necessary information that answers questions such as ‘what is my SMTP server name?’ which can be easily obtained from various reliable sources.

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How SMTP Server Works

SMTP encompasses end-to-end delivery of messages right from the sender to the receiver, as follows:

  1. Before delivering a message from the sender, the sender’s SMTP server first reaches out to that of the destination, usually on SMTP port 25. It then holds on for ‘Ready’ signal feedback from the destination email protocol.
  2. On receiving the 220 READY FOR MAIL message, the sender relays a HELLO message.
  3. The destination then replies with an OK message. It is a sign of the destination’s readiness to receive the email.
  4. Then the MAIL command starts by identifying the sender’s address to which any generated errors are to be directed.
  5. On successful execution of the MAIL command, the sender sends out a series of RCPT commands whose purpose is to identify the email recipient.
  6. The destination’s SMTP server must acknowledge each of the commands by sending a 250 OK message back to the sender’s SMTP email server.

Upon successful transfer of the message, the client may perform any of the following actions:

  • Send more email messages.
  • Exchange send/receive roles to now receive emails.
  • End the MAIL session.

Notable Advantages Of Free SMTP Servers

  • Easy and fast to use: SMTP is the most straightforward channel for email message transfer. All that the sender needs is to fill in all the required fields such as the sender’s email, CC, receiver’s email, and the subject. As long as all the details are correct and you have a reliable internet connection, you’re good to go.
  • Upholds privacy: SMTP allows encryption of email messages while in transit from the sender to the receiver. As a result, the email messages are kept secure from cybercriminals who may want to intercept it.
  • SMTP is dependable: Usually, SMTP gives feedback to the sender on whether the email was sent or not. In case the delivery was unsuccessful, the protocol will attempt to re-send the message as long as there is a reliable internet connection.
  • SMTP allows the use of dedicated servers: Bulk email messaging is not a new phenomenon. Big organizations or institutions prefer bulk email messaging to communicate an urgent or official message to the relevant receivers. Additionally, some organizations also use emails for marketing their products to many people simultaneously. This is only possible since SMTP allows the use of dedicated servers.
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SMTP Server Commands

MAIL: A unique command that initiates the transfer of an email message.
VRFY: A special SMTP command that checks if a given email address or username exists. Once the command verifies the information, it sends back feedback.
RCPT: A command that identifies the destination of an email message. In the event of more than one recipient, the SMTP command is usually repeated.
TURN: An SMTP command that helps to reverse the roles. The sender in an email session now becomes the receiver and vice versa. Important to note is that the command eliminates the necessity to activate a new connection.
HELO: An SMTP command sent by the sender SMTP server when trying to connect to that of the destination. The essence of the command is to alert the destination that the client wants to initiate a Mail session. Additionally, the command also identifies the client server by its domain name.
QUIT: An SMTP command that ends an SMTP session between the sender and the receiver.
AUTH: As the command suggests, the AUTH command helps to authenticate the client to the server. Client authentication is done by sending the sender’s username and email address to the email server. Another aim of the command is to ensure a smooth and secure transfer of the email message, once the SMTP session is established.

Common SMTP Server Ports

Nowadays, there are four most widely recommended SMTP ports. These are 25, 465, 587, and 2525. These ports are preferred as they are highly secure and also reliable. Ports 465 and 587 have more preference as they are highly compatible with modern applications. An additional advantage is that ISPs do not block them. Although SMTP port 25 is the most commonly used, it is often blocked by cloud providers.

On the other hand, port 2525 is usually preferred when the standard port is unavailable. The good thing about it is that most apps and cloud providers support it too.

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Final Words

The SMTP protocol is one of the most convenient arrangements in today’s world of digital communication. Not only does it encourage professionalism but also ensure the smooth running of an organization. The SMTP Server – free version offered by many service providers to individuals, professionals as well as organizations is one of the best things that have ever happened in the field of digital communication technology. With the support of cloud services, organizations, especially small and medium, can rely on such servers for fast, safe, and secure email marketing and other communication.

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