When you've got a shared website hosting account and you create an e-mail address, you may consider the option to send out and receive messages for granted, however, that isn't always the case. Sending e-mail messages is not necessarily part of the website hosting plans that companies will offer you and an SMTP service is required to be able to do that. The acronym stands for Simple Mail Transfer Protocol and that is the software application that allows you to send out emails. If you work with an e-mail application, it creates a connection to the SMTP server. The latter then searches the DNS records of the domain, which is a part of the receiving address to find out which email server deals with its e-mails. After some system information is interchanged, your SMTP server provides the message to the remote IMAP or POP server and then the email is finally delivered in the corresponding mailbox. An SMTP server is required if you use some sort of contact form also, so if you have a free hosting package, as an example, it's probable that you will not have the ability to use such a form as many free web hosting companies don't allow outgoing email messages.