Email Clients: A Basic Introduction

by Hannah Miller 28. August 2009 21:12

An email client is a program on your computer that aides you in handling your email. The email client connects to the Internet, logs into your email provider's site, and downloads your email for you to read, reply to, store, or delete. You also have options to save contacts, and set up folders of saved emails to keep them organized. Email clients have multiple preferences and settings, like the following:

  • Specify how often you want to check for new messages

  • Set up multiple email accounts, the download from one or all of them

  • Adjust how long to keep trying to download before a timeout message appears

Email clients typically download emails using two types of incoming servers. POP3 is the most typical server type. POP stands for Post Office Protocol, and 3 is the latest version used. Typically a POP server will connect, download all your messages one at a time, delete all the messages from the server, and disconnect. If you set up folders and organize messages and contacts using a POP3 server, these changes do not affect your mail server settings.

The other incoming server type is IMAP, Internet Message Access Protocol. IMAP downloads a copy of the messages from your server, and changes you make to them and your folders will be applied to the server settings. Essentially, you are interacting directly with your server, but also have the option of reading and composing emails offline. This protocol is usually available on most email clients, but not very many mail servers support it.

Outlook Express is the most popular email client, because it is automatically included in Windows computers. To set up your email account in Outlook Express:

  1. Click Tools at the top of the page.

  2. Click Accounts.

  3. On the right side of the window, select Add > Mail...

  4. The first field asks you to enter your name or whatever you want others to see when they receive an email from you. Typically, you would enter your name or your email address, but a nickname or other title would work as well, e.g., “Grandma Betty” or “Mr. Ransom”.

  5. Click Next.

  6. Type your email address.

  7. Click Next.

  8. Choose your incoming server type (usually POP3) and enter the incoming and outgoing mail server addresses. You can usually find these online or by calling your mail provider. They must be correct or you will not receive mail.

  9. Click Next.

  10. Your account name should already be filled in automatically. Type your password if you want it to be saved on your computer.

  11. Click Next.

  12. Click Finish.

Your ISP or mail provider should have step by step instructions similar to these on their website. There may be additional settings that you have to change from your mail account properties in order to send and receive messages. If you have Window's Vista, the Outlook Express program is called Window's Mail, and the setup process is very similar.

There are other email clients that you can use. Microsoft Outlook very similar to Outlook Express. It has a more professional layout and has options like a calendar and task list, which makes it ideal for business and professional use.

Other popular mail clients, most of which are free to download, include Mozilla Thunderbird. Thunderbird 2 allows you to tag messages with different colors for easy organization and features a find bar to search for keywords in old messages quickly.

IncrediMail is a fun multimedia favorite with emoticons, 3D effects, and sound effects to accompany your email handling and sending. Starfish Family Mail features multiple ways to keep emailing safe for kids and is easy to use. Eudora is popular for its handling of spam. Pegasus Mail is a stable and secure email client. You can search online for many more popular email clients and comparisons of them to find one that meets your needs.


Written by Hannah Miller, Online Marketing Representative and Customer Service, is a nationwide Internet services provider that is all-American owned and operated. Call today, 1-800-336-3318 or sign up online at! Check out my blog for more articles! 

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About the author

Hannah Miller is an Online Marketing Representative for - America's best provider for Dial-Up Internet Service since 1997.

Hannah has been a Customer Service and Tech Support agent for since 2007, which has supplemented her knowledge of dial-up, computers, and the Internet. The entries that are posted in this blog are professional articles relating to our industry. Email your questions, suggestions, and other comments to

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