Send Email From Smtp Command Line

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This article was co-authored by staff writer, Nicole Levine, MFA. Nicole Levine is a technology writer and editor for. He has over 20 years of experience creating technical documentation and supporting leading teams at large hosting and software companies. Nicole holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Portland State University and teaches composition, nonfiction, and performance at various institutions.

Send Email From Smtp Command Line

Send Email From Smtp Command Line

Software like Thunderbird and Outlook make sending email seem like magic. Well, until your email never reaches its destination. How do you know what actually happened when you clicked “Send?” Another option is to send a test message from your outgoing email provider via telnet, a small application that came with your computer. You may receive an error message that does not exist in your email software.

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This article was co-authored by staff writer, Nicole Levine, MFA. Nicole Levine is a technology writer and editor for. He has over 20 years of experience creating technical documentation and supporting leading teams at large hosting and software companies. Nicole holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Portland State University and teaches composition, nonfiction, and performance at various institutions. This article has been viewed 1,367,181 times.

You both search for your server’s response and send the email to the recipient via your computer’s Telnet, which is just a command line. Start by opening a Command Prompt (Windows) or Terminal (Mac), and type

And press ↵ Enter. Then you can enter the command to open a Telnet connection; if the connection is responsive, you will be able to send e-mail via Telnet by entering the necessary commands one at a time. Let’s take a closer look at what happens “under the hood” when you send e-mail. This article covers the first implementation of the SMTP protocol based on research papers and existing documents. Yes, SMTP has evolved over time, but this article will cover the basics of communication.

We will analyze the responsibility of SMTP, look at communication between SMTP clients and SMTP recipients, and finally, use the Terminal to send e-mail by issuing SMTP commands directly to the SMTP server.

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If you’ve configured an email client before, you may have seen issues like IMAP, POP, and SMTP. While IMAP and POP are protocols used to retrieve email from a mailbox, SMTP is strictly a sending protocol. We will look more at IMAP and POP in a separate article.

SMTP is part of the application layer of the TCP/IP protocol and typically operates on port 25. It uses a system called “store and forward” that is used to coordinate sending your email to different networks. Within the SMTP protocol, there are small software services called Mail Delivery Agents that help manage the transmission of email and its final delivery to the recipient’s mailbox. SMTP not only defines this overall communication flow, it can support delayed delivery of e-mail either at the sender’s location, the recipient’s location, or at any intermediate server.

TLDR: SMTP describes a communication protocol that describes how email travels from your computer’s mail transfer agent, which can be on many networks, to the mail transfer agent on the destination SMTP server.

Send Email From Smtp Command Line

User Agent (UA): Application used to send and receive electronic mail (Outlook, Mozilla, etc.) Mail Transport Agent / Message Transport Agent (MTA): Program running on a server of SMTP that helps sending email to recipients receive the correct email. and help manage the delivery of emails to the user’s mailbox. MTAs often help maintain a mail queue so that repeated delivery attempts can be scheduled if the remote server is unavailable. An MTA often has a special piece of software called a mail delivery agent or message delivery agent (MDA) that is responsible for delivering an email message to the recipient’s home mailbox, while an MTA focuses more on sending email from an SMTP server. to the SMTP server.

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When a user sends an email, via a user agent – for example, an Apple email application – the SMTP client program opens a TCP connection to an SMTP program running on a server elsewhere (ie at port 25. For the first handshake, the client and SMTP server processes engage in a short request-response conversation to send email. We’ll be looking more at this move soon.

Take a basic use case of the SMTP protocol (this case would be sending email to a single organization):

In reality, however, an email message may pass through several intermediate MTAs (aka mail gateways) on the way to deliver the message to the correct recipient.

An added advantage of email gateways is that they can handle mail intended for a specific protocol and convert it to SMTP format before sending it along or vice versa.

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We’ll take a closer look at the actual commands and payloads sent between the client and server’s SMTP process shortly. Before we do that, let’s take a look at how email content is structured.

An email has two parts – the envelope and the message/body – much like traditional email.

The envelope contains the host and recipient fields and some additional data (such as timestamp, MIME attributes, etc.) The fields in the envelope section are often formatted like this:

Send Email From Smtp Command Line

Let’s take a look at what today’s headline looks like. Here are the subject lines from a marketing email from Caviar:

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As you can see the header fields can contain more than sender and receiver information; These aspects are the most needed.

Any text after an envelope is classified as body. The body is the user generated content of the email. The body section usually ends with a blank hyphen, a blank line, or one of a few consecutive characters (ie “.”)

An envelope is generally delivered separately from the body of an email. SMTP servers first try to verify the recipient/address information in the header before they take over and interrupt the delivery of the email body.

These fields are sent to the SMTP server using the MAIL FROM and RCPT TO commands (we’ll take a closer look at these commands shortly).

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On the receiving SMTP server, it will periodically check the mailbox contents for new emails and forward or deliver them as needed.

As mentioned earlier, SMTP is part of the application layer of the TCP/IP protocol. Therefore, it should not be surprising that SMTP uses DNS to determine the IP address of the SMTP server to connect to.

Once the host’s IP address is found, the client’s SMTP server can connect to the remote SMTP server with a short sequence of sequential commands.

Send Email From Smtp Command Line

HELLO — It helps to identify the client’s SMTP program on the SMTP server and usually follows the fully qualified author name. This is sent only once per session. Once this verification step is completed, the SMTP client program can send as many emails as they want.

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MAIL FROM — identifies the SMTP server processing the sender’s email address (ie in this email field)

RCPT TO: After the MAIL FROM command, the client’s SMTP server can issue one or more RCPT TO commands to specify the mail addresses of all recipients.

DATA: This is the command before the body of the email. It is a command that warns the SMTP server that it should prepare to receive ASCII content that ends with a blank line or “.”.

We will look at these commands in action using the terminal soon, but it is important to know that these commands are sent as ASCII text that allows building mail clients and servers on any platform.

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Although the list of SMTP commands is much larger than this list, HELP, MAIL FROM, RCPT TO, DATA, and QUIT are the basic commands.

Once the initial handshake is complete (HELO phase), the SMTP session begins. The client first sends the recipient’s email address and each recipient’s email address (think envelopes) to the SMTP server. After each command from the client, the server will respond by sending “250 OK” if it received and confirmed the command. Otherwise, it will send an error message, generally posted by “550” as the error number.

After receiving confirmation of these two fields, the client’s SMTP system submits the body of the email to the server.

Send Email From Smtp Command Line

Here’s an example of a complete flow taken from Wikipedia, take a moment to look at it – we’ll simulate this flow directly using Telnet, Python, and Terminal next:

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S: 220 ESMTP Postfix C: HELLO S: 250, nice to meet you C: MAIL FROM: S: 250 Ok C : RCPT TO : S: 250 Ok C: RCPT TO: S: 250 Ok C: DATA S: 354 End data with . C: From: “Bob Example” C: To: Alice Example C: Cc: [email protected] C: Date: Tuesday, January 15, 2008 16 : 02 :43 -0500 C: Subject: Test message C: C: Hello Alice. C: This is it

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