Electronic Mail Addresses

In order to communicate with another computer user via electronic mail, you will need to know that user's electronic mail address. This address provides the same functionality as an Australian Postal Address; it tells the mail delivery system exactly where to deliver the mail.

An e-mail address is like a phone number or a street address. If you know someone's phone number you can ring them up no matter where they are located. If you know their street address you can use the postal system to send them a letter. E-mail addresses are the way they are as a natural consequence of this evolution. The best way to understand the addressing system is to look at a couple of addresses.

If you wish to send electronic mail to a user on another computer system, your computer must be connected to their computer via a network. The most widley used computer network, the Internet, connects many of the world's computer networks into one large network.

A user's electronic mail address is a combination of their username and their host (sometimes called site or domain). Their username is the name that they use to login to their computer system, and their host designates where their computer is located.

The first part before the @ symbol designates the person or thing to whom the mail is sent. Usually it is the name of the person but sometimes it may be a number or a nickname.
To the right of the @ symbol you will find the name of the computer system for that e-mail address. This name is actually a domain name. A single computer may support several domains.

In fact all the names after the @ are domain names. Each one is more inclusive as you move towards the right. The host specification for the CLIMAX system is: eelab.usyd.edu.au. Thus, to send an electronic mail message to a user on the CLIMAX system, you would need to specify an electronic mail address in the format of:


Where "username" is the username/login-name of the intended recipient. Note that the at-sign (@) is an integeral part of an electronic mail address as it separates the username from the host.

What is my electronic mail address?

This concludes this lesson of EMAIL . Please return to the EMAIL Index and continue with the next lesson.


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Friday, 17 July 1998