What ismessage transfer agent

A message transfer agent (MTA) is software used to transport electronic mail messages from one computer to another via SMTP in the context of the Internet email system. MTAs are also known as mail transfer agents, mail relays, mail servers, mail exchangers, and MX hosts. These servers pass messages and any attached data files (such as images, multimedia, or documents) between mail servers and frequently host email mailboxes. End users typically access their email through webmail or an email client.

What is a Message Transfer Agent (MTA)?

A message transfer agent (MTA), also known as a mail transfer agent or mail relay, is a software that can transport electronic mail messages from one computer to another via the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP). In the Internet email system, an MTA is responsible for routing messages from the sender’s mail transfer agent to the recipient’s mail transfer agent. MTAs operate at the network level and use various protocols to route email between mail servers.

How do MTAs work?

MTAs work by accepting emails from the sender and forwarding them to the recipient’s mail server. When a user sends an email, it is first delivered to the sender’s MTA. The sender’s MTA then attempts to deliver the email to the recipient’s domain, starting with the recipient’s MX (Mail Exchange) record. If the recipient’s MX is unreachable or unavailable, the sender’s MTA may try other records in the DNS to deliver the email. Once the email is accepted by the recipient’s MTA, it is delivered to the recipient’s mailbox.

What else do MTAs do?

In addition to routing email between mail servers, MTAs often host email mailboxes. An email mailbox is a storage area that holds incoming email messages for a user until they are retrieved by the user’s email application. This mailbox can be accessed through webmail or an email client like Microsoft Outlook or Apple Mail. In some cases, MTAs also provide spam and virus filtering for incoming emails to protect users from unwanted or malicious messages.


An MTA is an essential part of the Internet email system. It plays a critical role in routing email messages between mail servers and hosting email mailboxes. Understanding how MTAs work can help you troubleshoot email delivery issues, configure your email client, and protect yourself from spam and viruses.

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