Talk:Message transfer agent

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the link is dead. somone got a copy or a different survey?

MTA = ???Edit

Shouldn't it be Mail TRANSPORT Agent, and not Mail Transfer Agent?

The Postfix, Courier, and Exim projects each call their software a mail transfer agent but Debian and Fedora both classify those software packages as mail transport agents.
  • The correct term is indeed Mail Transport Agent. According to the O'Reilly book on sendmail (which is the granddaddy of all MTA's) "The acronym MTA stands for mail transport agent"[1] Eric Allman, the author of sendmail, is listed as co-author of this book, so this should be considered an authoritative source. The Acronyms Explained section of also defines MTA this way[2]. --Wormholio (talk) 19:39, 19 May 2010 (UTC)
Conversely, according to my findings, the term “mail transport agent” has never been standardized. The phrases “message transfer agent” and “message transfer system” consistently occur throughout multiple RFCs. The first reference to the term that I could find was in The Red Book (ISBN 978-9-26-102381-2) which appears to have been written in mid-October 1984. This book very clearly defines “MTA” as “message transfer agent”. I was unable to find an earlier reference to a term partly consisting of the phrase “mail transport” or “message transport”. Tylercrompton (talk) 23:44, 12 August 2016 (UTC)
  1. ^ "sendmail", by Bryan Costales, with Eric Allman and Neil Rickert, O'Reilly & Associates, Inc., 1993, page 4
  2. ^ "4.03 Acronyms explained (FAQ, MLM, MTA, MUA)"


i think who ever wrote this article was having a laugh!


added message transfer agent per home page. xenoterracide 16:04, 14 March 2007 (UTC)

simplify pleaseEdit

I read this article and none of it made sense(too many abbreviations) 00:41, 18 April 2007 (UTC)

I agree, it still leaps into techno speak in the first sentence. I was searching for a definition of "mail server" and was redirected to this. Can't we have a plain English definition along the lines of "A mail server is a software application that stores, sends and receives email messages. The server can be connected to the internet or installed in a private network." ... and then go on with the death-by-jargon "real" definition. Aelfgifu (talk) 08:14, 17 August 2015 (UTC)

Why two protocols?Edit

Can someone write a paragraph explaining why MTAs operate with two protocols (SMTP and POP3)? I can understand that SMTP is used to transfer messages between servers, and POP3 is used to transfer messages from the server to a client, but it's a little obscure as to why users must then send messages to their local SMTP, as opposed to connecting directly to the receiving SMTP, or sending via POP3 to the local server. It seems like an inconsistent design and I don't know enough about the evolution of this system to explain it. Ham Pastrami (talk) 08:41, 23 February 2008 (UTC)

pop3 is a complete different beast. it isnt part of the MTA. Although the Microsoft thingy might include pop3 in the same service binary, it has nothing to do with mail exchange. pop3 is just a protocoll for a Mail User Agent to connect to the machine where the mails for a user are stored. Back when smtp was invented, there were no "end user machines". The only machine a user was able to read mails on, was a terminal connected to a big server machine. usually one or two per company/university. So smtp makes a lot of sense there. Nowadays everyone got a computer themselfs, but smtp is still used becouse it is already deployed widely. Now,... the reason you have to send your outgoing mail to your ISP first , who will then send it to the receiver is simply becouse of spam. Alot of end user machines are compromised by third parties without the owner noticing it. The worms send spam directly to the receivers mta. Thats why direct mail from end user machines are usually blocked. There are still alot of compromised servers around, but they got a fixed ip, so you can block them easily. Technicaly there is indeed no reason why you can't just send your mails directly to any mta. (talk) 09:43, 23 June 2008 (UTC) aepvhjvhvjhvjhvh

It's complicated, but basically SMTP is used to route the email to an endpoint as soon as practical and then POP3 or IMAP is used on demand to get it from there to the recipients computer.
SMTP is (for the most part) a push technology while IMAP and POP3 are pull technologies.
Messages can be pulled using smtp via the rarely used TURN and ETRN features, but this is not usually done on a per-mailbox basis.
Jasen betts (talk) 03:39, 23 September 2010 (UTC)

Huston we have a problemEdit

I just started an article on E-mail Letter. An E-mail Letter is an email which gets delivered like a real letter. The e-mail letter service provider prints the email, puts it into an envelope and sends it to the receiver by "snail mail".

The problem I have is that the postman delivering the letter could be called a mail delivery agent, so there's a thin line between postman and mail delivery agent, while the machine which is printing and envelopping the letter also could be referred to a mail transfer agent.

The problem I'm having is a differentiation between real world and cyberworld. Just like a letter can refer to a written message or a letter in the alphabet, a mail delivery agent could also be a postman, and a mail transfer agent could be the printer and envelopping machine which transfers the email into a letter.

I'd be happy, if you leave me a note on my talking page about your opinion and the decision you have made. Copies: Nehtefa talking page, mail transfer agent talk. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Nehtefa (talkcontribs) 19:22, 25 November 2008 (UTC) Nehtefa (talk) 20:52, 25 November 2008 (UTC)

DragonFly Mail Agent ?Edit

How about adding DragonFly Mail Agent (AKA DMA) to the list? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Ericfluger (talkcontribs) 15:04, 24 February 2015 (UTC)