Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) is an Internet standard for electronic mail (e-mail) transmission across Internet Protocol (IP) networks. SMTP was first defined in RFC 821(STD 10) (1982),and last updated by RFC 5321(2008) which includes the extended SMTP (ESMTP) additions, and is the protocol in widespread use today. SMTP is specified for outgoing mail transport and uses TCP port 25. The protocol for new submissions is effectively the same as SMTP, but it uses port 587 instead.

While electronic mail servers and other mail transfer agents use SMTP to send and receive mail messages, user-level client mail applications typically only use SMTP for sending messages to a mail server for relaying. For receiving messages, client applications usually use either the Post Office Protocol (POP) or the Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP) or a proprietary system (such as Microsoft Exchange or Lotus Notes/Domino) to access their mail box accounts on a mail server.