If you have a shared hosting package and you set up an e-mail address, you may take the option to send out and receive emails for granted, however, that isn't always the case. Sending email messages is not necessarily a part of the web hosting plans that providers offer and an SMTP service is required to be capable to do that. The abbreviation signifies Simple Mail Transfer Protocol and this is the piece of software that allows you to send emails. If you use an e-mail application, it connects to the SMTP server. The latter then requests the DNS data of the domain name, that is a part of the receiving address to find out what mail server manages its e-mails. After system data is exchanged, your SMTP server delivers the message to the remote IMAP or POP server and the e-mail is finally delivered in the corresponding mailbox. An SMTP server is required if you work with some kind of contact page form also, so if you have a free hosting package, as an example, it is very likely that you won't have the ability to make use of such a form as most free website hosting service providers do not allow outgoing e-mail messages.