When you have a shared hosting account and you create an e-mail address, you might take the option to send and receive emails for granted, but in fact, this is not always true. Sending emails is not always a part of the web hosting packages that service providers will offer you and an SMTP service is needed to be able to do that. The acronym represents Simple Mail Transfer Protocol and that is the software application that allows you to send out e-mails. If you work with an e-mail app, it connects to the SMTP server. The latter then searches the DNS records of the domain, which is a part of the receiving address to find out what mail server handles its email messages. After system information is exchanged, your SMTP server delivers the message to the remote IMAP or POP server and then the email is finally delivered in the related mailbox. An SMTP server is needed if you use some kind of contact form too, so in case you work with a cost-free hosting plan, as an example, it is likely that you will not be able to use this type of form as most cost-free hosting providers don't allow outgoing e-mail messages.