Email Generalities for my clients
There are two types of email accounts: Actual email accounts and forwarding (or ALIAS) email accounts.
Forwarding (or ALIAS) email accounts are used to receive emails. You can not send emails from a Forwarding email account. When these emails are received by my mail server, they are automatically forwarded to one or more real email accounts that have been associated with the forwarding email address. Let's say that you have an email address "info@your_domain.com". You have asked that any emails sent to info@... be automatically forwarded to your gmail, hotmail, yahoo, etc. email address. This lets you recieve your emails in your regular email account. There are only two problems with using these forwarding email accounts. First, sometimes your gmail, hotmail, yahoo, etc. email server will think these emails are spam, and they will be placed in your spam/junk folder on their mail server. So you will need to check to ensure that these emails are making it to your normal inbox. Second, if you send a REPLY to the email, it will come NOT from the "info@... email address, but will come from your real email address. But if you are replying then you probably don't mind that person having your real email address. These kinds of emails don't take up any space on my mail server (emails come in and are immediately forwarded to the real email address associated with them).
Actual email accounts are real email accounts. I am only able to provide a limited amount of disk space on my mail server for these accounts.
The rest of this article will talk about how actual email accounts work.
Are emails secure? Not really. You connect your device (phone, tablet, laptop, etc) to the mail server. Traffic between your device and the mail server will only be secured if you have set the email app or program to use a secured connection (ie - SSL/TLS or https). The problem is that the sender may have a secured connection between their device and their mail server; and the receiver may have a secured connection between their device and their mail server; but mail servers themselves DO NOT use a secured connection in sending/receiving emails via the internet. Bottom line - always set your email app/program to use a secured connection, but be aware that there are other points in the internet highway where your emails will be sent unencrypted. Which is why you should NEVER share your credit card information or SSN in an email.
Where do emails reside? Basically, emails reside in the sending/receiving email servers, and in some cases, emails may also reside on your device (phones, tablets, laptops, etc) if you have installed an email client (app/program) on that device to access your emails. (In addition, some email information may be stored in temporary files on your device). Whether or not emails are stored on your device will depend on whether your email client is using a POP3 or an IMAP connection to access emails from the mail server. POP3 connections result in emails being copied from the mail server to your device. Depending on the email client options the emails may be left on the mail server or deleted from the mail server when they are copied to the device. IMAP connections result in emails being accessed from the mail server. The device may keep header information, but it will download/copy the email from the mail server each time you access it on your device. Generally, if you have an IMAP connection, then deleting the email from your device's INBOX will also delete the email from the mail server's INBOX. With a POP3 connection, deleting an email will only delete the email on the device. If you are using WEBMAIL, then you should think of it as accessing the email directly on the mail server. If all your email resides on a single device (such as your phone), then I recommend using a POP3 connection that has been set to delete the emails from the mail server when they are downloaded to your phone. This keeps the space on the mail server to a minimum - only new emails that you have not seen yet will remain on the mail server. On the other hand, if you access emails from multiple locations (your phone and your laptop), then you will want to either use a POP3 connection that is set to leave the email on the mail server; or you will want to use an IMAP connection for both devices. To further complicate your life, deleting an email from your INBOX will normally only mean that the email has been moved from your INBOX folder to your TRASH folder. You should ensure that your options/preferences have been set so that the TRASH folder on your device will automatically be emptied when you exit your email app/program.
Do I need to empty the TRASH folder from the mail server? It depends. The best answer is to periodically check the contents of your mail server's TRASH folder. If there are old email messages present, then you should empty the TRASH folder. You will need to use WEBMAIL to do this.
What happens if I exceed my email disk space quota? You will receive warning messages that you are nearing your quota. If you exceed your quota then you will not be able to recieve any new emails. There are only two solutions available to you. First, you can contact me to increase the size of your email disk space quota (usually entails a larger monthly fee). Second, you can use WEBMAIL to delete emails from your INBOX and your SENT folders, and to empty your TRASH and JUNK folders.
Reducing the amount of spam/junk emails that show up in your INBOX. There are general techniques used to identify and eliminate spam/junk mails.
- White and Black lists are used to identify domains and/or specific email senders whose emails should always (white list) be delivered or whose emails should always (black lists) be treated as spam/junk. These lists are maintained by me for you. You simply need to tell me when to add something to either a white list or a black list.
- Spam Assassin is a tool that assigns a score to each email. The higher the score the more likely it is that the email is spam. I can assign a value for you so that ANY email with a score equal or higher to the value you want used will be automatically moved to your Junk folder.
- Spam Filters are used to identify specific values in the FROM, SUBJECT, and BODY of emails that will cause emails containing those values in the selected field to be filtered out from your INBOX and automatically moved to your JUNK folder. You have the ability to add, change, and delete these filters yourself using WEBMAIL.
- In addition there are stratigies that different mail servers use to reduce the amount of spam that normally won't affect legit emails. These are beyond the scope of this article.