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So what is e-mail?

Internet e-mail addresses typically have two main parts:
professor@learnthenet.com
 
First there is the user name (professor) which refers to the recipient's mailbox.
Then there's an axon sign (@). Next comes the host name (learnthenet), which is also called the domain name. This refers to the computer where the recipient has a mailbox and is usually the name of a company or organization.
Finally, there's a [DOT] followed by three letters (com) that indicate the type of domain it is.
 
An address ending with [DOT] com means the host is a business or commercial enterprise or a commercial online service like America Online, CompuServe or Prodigy. Most companies use this extension.
 
A host name ending with [DOT] edu means the host is a university or educational facility while a [DOT] org indicates the host is a non-commercial organization.
Let's say you wanted to e-mail the President of the United States. You would sendmail to: president [AT] whitehouse [DOT] gov. gov stands for "government" and is used by government agencies and officials.
 
Other extensions you might encounter are [DOT] mil for military and [DOT] net for network. The latter tends to be reserved for organizations like Internet Service Providers. By the way, there are currently plans to add seven additional top level domains, such as .web, later this year. We'll keep you posted on these developments.
 
For e-mail addresses outside of the United States, there is often a [DOT] followed by two letters representing the country. For instance, .ca indicates Canada, .de indicates Germany and .nz indicates New Zealand.
 

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