In case you have a website hosting plan and you set up an email address, you may consider the option to send out and receive emails for granted, but in fact, this is not always the case. Sending e-mails isn't necessarily a part of the web hosting plans that service providers have and an SMTP service is needed to be capable to do that. The acronym represents Simple Mail Transfer Protocol and this is the software application that enables you to send e-mails. If you use an email application, it connects to the SMTP server. The latter then requests the DNS records of the domain name, that is a part of the receiving address to find out which email server deals with its email messages. After some system data is exchanged, your SMTP server provides the email to the remote IMAP or POP server and the email is finally delivered in the matching mailbox. An SMTP server is needed if you are using some kind of contact form too, so in case you use a free of charge hosting package, as an example, it's probable that you will not be able to make use of this type of form as many free website hosting providers do not allow outgoing emails.