When you've got a shared hosting package and you set up an e-mail address, you may consider the option to send out and receive emails for granted, however, this isn't always the case. Sending e-mails isn't necessarily included in the web hosting plans that companies feature and an SMTP service is necessary to be able to do that. The abbreviation signifies Simple Mail Transfer Protocol and that is the piece of software that enables you to send e-mails. If you work with an e-mail program, it creates a connection to the SMTP server. The latter then searches the DNS data of the domain name, which is a part of the receiving address to find out which mail server manages its e-mails. After some system information is exchanged, your SMTP server delivers the e-mail to the remote IMAP or POP server and then the e-mail is finally delivered in the related mailbox. An SMTP server is necessary if you use some kind of contact form as well, so in case you work with a free hosting plan, for instance, it's probable that you won't be able to make use of such a form since many free hosting providers do not allow outgoing emails.