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Five types of email address, part 1

If you thought that all email addresses are the same, think again. There are five main types of email address and if you want to organize your email sensibly you should know the difference.

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All email addresses are formatted the same way <user name>@<domain name> but what isn’t obvious are the different ways that email sent to an address is handled.

In this and the next issue we’ll explain the basics of these types of addresses – it may seem a bit theoretical but in the next issues you’ll see how this knowledge can make your email setup much, much better.


We all know about mailboxes, each email address ends up at some type of mailbox (POP, IMAP, Web, Exchange Server etc).   The type of mailbox doesn’t matter to the sender, you send a message and it ends up in a mailbox for the receiver to collect.

Most people have a mailbox that’s supplied by their Internet Service provider.  That’s immediately convenient but also ties you to that ISP, and the companies know that.  If you want to change the way you connect to the Internet, one hurdle can be having to change all the places where your old email address is used.

The solution is to separate the email address given to the outside world from the mailbox.  You can change mailbox at any time while your publicly disclosed email address stays the same.

Which brings us to the second type of email address .. alias.

Article posted: Wednesday, 03 May 2006

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