If you have a hosting account and you set up an e-mail address, you might take the option to send out and receive emails for granted, however, that isn't always the case. Sending email messages is not necessarily part of the hosting plans that companies will offer you and an SMTP service is needed to be able to do that. The acronym represents Simple Mail Transfer Protocol and that is the software application that enables you to send out e-mails. If you use an e-mail app, it creates a connection to the SMTP server. The latter then queries the DNS records of the domain name, which is a part of the receiving address to find out which email server handles its e-mails. After some system information is interchanged, your SMTP server provides the message to the remote IMAP or POP server and the e-mail is finally delivered in the matching mailbox. An SMTP server is required if you work with some sort of contact form too, so if you have a free hosting package, for instance, it's probable that you will not have the ability to make use of this type of form since many no charge website hosting providers don't allow outgoing e-mails.