When you have a shared website hosting account and you create an e-mail address, you might take the option to send out and receive emails for granted, but in fact, this isn't always the case. Sending emails isn't necessarily part of the web hosting packages that service providers offer and an SMTP service is needed to be capable to do that. The acronym stands for Simple Mail Transfer Protocol and this is the piece of software that enables you to send e-mails. If you are using an e-mail application, it connects to the SMTP server. The latter then requests the DNS records of the domain, that is a part of the receiving address to find out what email server manages its e-mails. After some system information is interchanged, your SMTP server provides the e-mail to the remote IMAP or POP server and then the email is finally delivered in the related mailbox. An SMTP server is required if you are using some sort of contact page also, so if you use a free hosting plan, for example, it is very likely that you won't have the ability to make use of this type of form as many free of charge hosting providers do not allow outgoing e-mails.