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This guide covers a variety of related Internet clients, including email clients, spam filters, encryption, webmail, and Internet fax clients.

Email clients are web applications that provide functions for message management, composition, and reception.

Email clients are active only when they are in use. Generally, the email user arranges with a remote mail transfer agent (MTA) server for the receipt and storage of email messages. Using a mail delivery agent (MDA), the MTA adds email messages to the user's storage as they arrive. The database in which the messages are stored is known as the user's mailbox.

Email is stored in the user's mailbox, generally located on a remote server until the user's email client requests them to be downloaded to the user's computer.

When the user is able to log in and run a mail client on the same computer that hosts his mailboxes, the process becomes a form of webmail.

Most email clients support multiple mailboxes at the same time, permitting a user who has several email addresses to download mail addressed to each of them to the same mailbox. Email clients usually allow users to request the download of email automatically, at predetermined intervals, or the request can be initiated manually.

A user mailbox can be accessed in a couple of ways. The post office protocol (POP) allows a user to download messages one at a time, deleting them from the remote server only after they have been successfully downloaded to the user's computer. POP does not support the flagging of a specific message as seen, answered, or forwarded, so it is not very convenient for users who access their mail from different devices. However, the Internet message access protocol (IMAP) allows users to store messages on the server, organizing them into folders and sub-folders that can be shared with others who have access to the username and password. Most IMAP systems create sent, drafts, and trash folders automatically, and allow users to create others. Email is usually sent using the simple mail transfer protocol (SMTP).

There are several email clients, and they are appropriate for this category, or one of its subcategories.

Email spam refers to unsolicited and unwanted emails, usually commercial in nature, and sent to a large number of recipients. Various anti-spam techniques are used to prevent or at least reduce the amount of spam cluttering a user's mailbox. Large among these are spam filters, which are software programs that use a medley of automated methods of detecting, flagging, segregating, or even deleting email spam. These clients are also appropriate for this category.

Email encryption is sometimes used to protect the content of an email from being intercepted and read by anyone other than the intended recipient. Email encryption may also include authentication.

Webmail is a web-based email client that is implemented as a web application running on a web server. Webmail may be offered as an option in web hosting accounts, or it may be provided by a third-party, such as Gmail and Outlook. Other webmail providers, such as Hushmail, combine encryption techniques and other privacy features.

Also known as online fax, Internet fax refers to the use of the Internet and Internet protocols to send a facsimile, as opposed to using the traditional telephone connection and fax machine. A distinguishing feature of Internet fax is the ability to exchange fax messages with traditional telephone-based fax machines.


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