Electronic Mail: Types, Characteristics, And How To Use It

Electronic Mail: Types, Characteristics, And How To Use It

Managing Electronic Mail (email) is now crucial for individuals and professionals: here’s how to create an email, distinguish a client from webmail, and choose the best service.

What Is An Email, What Is Webmail, And What Is A Client?

Electronic Mail (email) is a system that allows you to send messages between devices using the Internet or Intranet. In this kind of communication, the message is forwarded through specific servers: high-performance software and hardware, which in this case deal with managing and sorting the messages. We talk about webmail to refer to web applications designed to allow the user to manage email accounts. Webmail can be free and available upon registration. Alternatively, they can be provided when subscribing to a connection provider. 

Webmails allow all the main functions typical of email: managing folders and messages, creating one or more address books, and inserting filters. In addition, depending on the service, they can add additional services: from spam and virus defense to automatic spelling checking. The main advantages of webmail are ease of use, free (in most cases), and the ability to access multiple devices simultaneously. The main “cons” of this solution is that the user necessarily needs the Internet to view an incoming message and start composing an outgoing one. 

Webmails are applications that allow you to use email over the Internet. On the other hand, the clients are programs installed on the device. On the other hand, an email client is a program that is installed and then runs directly on the user’s computer. Clients provide users with services that are identical to those of webmail. However, there are structural differences between the two products. The client allows you to store all account information (from messages to contacts) directly on the user’s device. 

This approach generates at least two types of “pros “: on the one hand, the storage space limits of a classic email are exceeded. On the other hand, you can access your email box even without being connected to the network. The main disadvantage of the client over webmail is that sometimes the former allows access to Mail from a single computer. For the rest, the two modes have some technical differences, especially related to the use of protocols. Clients mainly use SMTP, POP3, and IMAP, while webmails mostly use HTTP


Gmail is an email service that is part of the galaxy of services provided by Google. Users can use it through mobile applications or directly via the web. The email uses the Google API or the IMAP and POP3 protocols. The history of Gmail is quite troubled: Google email has been in beta testing for more than 5 years. Its journey since July 7, 2009, has been extraordinary; today, it estimates that it has nearly 2 billion users worldwide. Not surprisingly, Gmail is available in more than 100 languages. 

But the main reason for this service’s success is its performance characteristics: from 15 GB of free storage space (expandable by selecting paid solutions) to integration with much other software created by the Mountain View giant. The service offers many functions: if a user logs in on the browser with his Google account, he can quickly switch from Gmail to Photos, from Calendar to Documents. But it doesn’t stop there. It is possible to move and save information from one program to another, even without leaving the email: for example, by saving the documents attached to an email directly into a shared folder on Drive. 

For the rest, Gmail offers various email management features. You can create filters to apply to specific groups of emails. You can create labels but also create messages with an invitation attached to a video conference meeting on Meet. Finally, Gmail is equipped with one of the most effective anti-spam filters on the web. According to some counts, the percentage of spam that arrives daily in Google users’ inboxes corresponds to just 0.1% of the messages received.

Outlook And Hotmail

The names Outlook and Hotmail both refer to Microsoft email. Before going into the merits of the characteristics of this kind of account, it is helpful to make a distinction also because there are substantial differences between Outlook and Hotmail. Outlook is a full-fledged email client. A program that is part of the Office suite that plays the role of PIM ( Personal Information Manager ): an electronic diary created to organize personal information better. Outlook has a mailbox, but that’s not all. Added a calendar, a schedule dedicated to activities, and an address book of one’s contacts. In addition, users can write content in the form of notes and even in a kind of personal diary. Hotmail is also an email, or instead, it was. 

The software was initially called MSN Hotmail, so it changed its name to Windows Live Hotmail. Hotmail was born in 1996, and at the time, its servers were independent: Microsoft’s acquisition would only come during the following year. The almost twenty years of difference between Hotmail and Outlook explain why there is so much difference between one email program and another: from an aesthetic, technical and functional point of view. However, Hotmail no longer exists today, although many addresses with domains such as hotmail.com continue circulating. This aspect should not be confused: even these addresses have now been integrated into Outlook. 

Yahoo! Mail

The email made available by Yahoo! it’s called Yahoo! Mail. Its birth dates back to the second half of the 90s and seems to result from a failed attempt to acquire Hotmail and Mirabilis: two email clients that later came under the control of Microsoft and AOL.Nonetheless 1997, Yahoo! managed to buy a program called RocketMail: one of the first free email software  accessible directly from the web. 

The sale was closed for nearly $ 100 million, and the service was integrated in record time. Since then, Yahoo! Mail underwent its most important restyling in 2002: a reinterpretation of graphics and functionality.  Today the service is available in an unrestrained and business configuration, designed for business use. Yahoo! Mail offers 1 TB of storage space, a spam filter and virus check, and an exciting integration with Dropbox and Flickr: a file hosting service and a platform designed to share photo galleries. 

It features a mobile app and a web interface with IMAP, POP, and SMTP protocols. It allows you to create multiple addresses, send attachments of up to 25 MB, and set filters and automatic replies. Yahoo! Mail also offers a certification service for incoming and outgoing emails. To certify the Mail, it uses the DMARC ( Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance ): a message validation system created to combat practices such as spam and phishing.

GMX Mail

GMX Mail email is free and provided by Global Mail eXchange. It is webmail that uses the POP3 and IMAP4 protocols for incoming Mail. As for outgoing Mail, the reference protocol is SMTP. GMX Mail was founded in 1997 and offered various services beyond the simple mailbox for emails: ranging from the ability to organize your contacts to proprietary file storage. The service is available in free and premium versions, but pop-ups appear every time in both cases. The free version of GMX Mail differs between GMX.net and GMX.com. For this reason, it has some restrictions regarding registration: for example, users with German, Austrian or Swiss IPs are automatically redirected to GMX.COM. 

The GMX.net file storage is 1 GB, while that of GMX.com rises to 2 GB. Email storage is 1GB and 65GB, respectively. The weight limit of attachments to messages is standard and corresponds to 50 MB. All GMX Mail services are equipped with 2-factor authentication security and an automatic spam and virus protection service. The use of this email is remarkably intuitive, thanks to a convenient drag-and-drop system for both files and messages. Almost 10 million users use GMX Mail as their email. At the time of registration, it is possible to choose addresses with different domains: from .com to .us, passing through .co. the UK. The system also allows you to contain some of the most famous and popular clients and webmail, such as Gmail, Yahoo! Mail, and Outlook. 


The operation that would have led the two to acquire the mail.com domain is much greater than one could imagine. The idea was as simple as it was brilliant, considering that the london.com domain alone would sell for around two million pounds in 1999. Despite the change of ownership, all Mail.com accounts remained active, and the service guaranteed the same functionality. 

Even today, by subscribing to Mail.com, the user can register an email address. Above all, he can choose from hundreds of different domain names. Another distinctive element of Mail.com is that the user does not have to provide their phone number to obtain an email address. This opportunity is available to those who do not have a telephone number and those who prefer not to share this kind of personal information.

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