Lost in all the technical jargon? Find definitions for common email and technical terms and learn more with our related resources.

Email analytics

Email analytics are a way to track statistics like open rate, conversion rate, and click-through rate, all of which allow brands to determine if their current email strategy is working or if they should pivot to something else. These metrics are also an important part of an email program, as brands gauge their email campaigns’ health and ROI to assess market strategies and plan for growth.

Email automation

Email automation involves automating messages for an email program so they are received by the right people at the right time. These triggers include messages like:

Email blast service

An email blast service enables brands to integrate email with their web apps and send email campaigns at scale, and provides metrics on campaign performance to help you pinpoint effective strategies for sending.

Email bounce

Email bounces occur due to temporary or permanent email delivery failures. Temporary delivery failures, also called soft bounces, often occur due to server downtime, interrupted internet connections, and temporary failures. Permanent delivery failures, or hard bounces, occur due to incorrect email addresses, email servers that reject emails, and invalid domain names.

Email compliance

Email compliance is the process of ensuring data practices conform to data protection regulations, like the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and the California Consumers Protection Act (CCPA). Becoming compliant involves these regulations for obtaining, storing, and processing customer data. Also, being compliant with a particular legislation or security standard signals that a company protects its customers’ personal data rights, and builds reputation with inbox service providers (ISPs) improving email deliverability.

Email deployment

Email deployment is the process of sending emails to a predetermined email list. It’s typically associated with email marketing practices where businesses send high volumes of emails at once. But email blasts aren’t necessarily good for a brand’s IP reputation and may negatively affect deliverability, as inbox service providers (ISPs) may perceive it as spam. To combat this issue, brands leverage email deployment services like Mailgun to optimize send time and manage the volume of emails sent to ensure emails land in subscribers’ inboxes. These email deployment platforms rely on customer data to ensure they deliver emails at an optimal time.

Email encryption

Email encryption is the process of using secure cryptographic protocols to ensure email messages are encrypted before, during, and after sending. It’s important for email security because it prevents hackers from employing man-in-the-middle attacks, which put sensitive personal details of both brands and customers at risk.

Email envelope

An email envelope is the “envelope from” address of an email message, and it’s used for routing. Every email contains two “from” addresses, “envelope from” and “header from.” The “header from” address is what people normally think of as the “from” address. It’s visible to all email users and displays in the “from” field of an email. This address is read by users and email clients but isn’t used for email delivery. The “envelope from” is a return path, which is the return address hidden in the email message header that instructs mail servers or inbox service providers (ISPs) where to return messages if they bounce. This address is used for email delivery.

Email gateway

An email gateway server processes all incoming and outgoing emails to keep brands’ internal servers safe. It’s a key part of an email infrastructure that protects internal and external communication. Secure email gateways monitor sent and received emails to prevent phishing emails, which spoof legitimate emails to reach a brand’s internal servers. They protect brands against malware and fraudulent content.

Email harvesting

Email harvesting is the process of maliciously obtaining a large number of email addresses for sending spam or malware. Specialized email harvesting tools like harvesting bots crawl through websites and exploit vulnerabilities to obtain lists of email addresses. At Mailgun, we recommend complying with all data collection and storage regulations and organically building an email list to avoid spam traps.

Email integrations

Email integration is the process of unifying various systems, tools, and software to create a seamless workflow for email marketing. Companies use email integration in websites, web or mobile apps, and more. They bring together email development tools like drag-and-drop editors, email service providers (ESPs) responsible for delivering email, and analytics software that track an email program’s health.

Email logs

Email logs contain email data on each message that has been sent, including the sender’s details, recipient’s email address, timestamps, and any error codes. Logs can also link to reports that track marketing metrics like delivery, bounce, and open rates. These gauge an email program’s health, helping senders analyze why their emails have failed to reach recipients’ inboxes, sending trends, and performance issues impacting sender reputation. Email logs let senders perform deliverability audits to see where the issues might be before they impact deliverability.

Email open rate

Email open rate refers to the percentage of emails brands send that recipients open. When expressed in a formula, it’s the number of emails opened divided by the number of emails sent and multiplied by 100.

Email order confirmation

An email order confirmation is sent to a customer to confirm an order they’ve placed via a web store. It’s a transactional email, or an automated response based on users’ actions. These emails usually consist of the following details:

Email parsing

Email parsing is the process of extracting data from incoming emails, carried out by a software using an Application Programming Interface (API). The extracted data could be recipient contact details, order numbers, and leads from an email’s HTML header and body code or attachments. Brands use email parsing to collect and send email data to web applications for more efficient workflows.

Email routing

Email routing is the process of designating an email to be a routing address to handle incoming email traffic. Email senders don’t need to know the routing address to send messages to an email account, as the address is only seen and used by the receiving mail server to point messages to a certain destination. In other words, email routing involves forwarding all incoming emails to the routing address.

Email server

An email server is a system responsible for sending, receiving, and storing messages. The server is accessed by users through a client program, such as Microsoft Outlook or Apple Mail, using either the internet or a secure local network. The email server uses protocols, such as SMTP and IMAP, to communicate with other mail servers and deliver messages to recipients. Depending on the email server, there may also be built in filters for spam and virus detection.

Email service providers

An email service provider (ESP) is a software provider that facilitates integration between email capabilities and web or mobile applications. It allows organizations to integrate email sending with their web apps via an Application Programming Interface (API) or Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP). Brands can then send emails at scale while managing their IP reputation and email-sending schedules.

Email spoofing

Email spoofing is a method used to trick recipients into opening spam emails as part of a phishing attack. Cybercriminals forge email headers to mimic trusted sender identities and trick an email client into displaying a fake “from” email address. When recipients see the fake email address, they might presume the email is from a person or brand they know and trust. Once they open the email, the hacker tries to convince the victim to share sensitive personal details, resulting in cybercrime.

Email subscriber

An email subscriber is a user who has opted to receive email messages from a specific sender. A key part of building up an email program is growing and maintaining a healthy  list of email subscribers. Mailgun recommends implementing double opt-ins, which ask recipients to twice confirm they want to be added to a mailing list. This helps senders grow their email lists organically and maintain high engagement from users not likely to mark them as spam.

Email validation

Email validation, or email verification, is the process of checking that the email addresses on an email list are valid and not spam traps to maintain email list hygiene. Brands perform email validation when new subscribers sign up to be on their email lists. Companies periodically clean email lists through email validation, identifying invalid email addresses, possible bad actors like spam traps, or low-quality emails like info@ or admin@ types of email addresses to keep deliverability high.

Email validation API

An email validation API is a specific API offered by some ESPs like Mailgun, that automatically checks your email list for errors, common typos, domains, etc. to validate your email addresses and ensure your email list is clean. This contributes to a healthy sender reputation.

Email worm

An email worm, or mass-mailer, is a type of an internet worm (or virus) cybercriminals use to infiltrate their victims’ inboxes. Hackers usually deploy worms as attachments to fraudulent email messages. These attachments allow the worm to distribute itself in infectious executable files. Email worms self-download files and delete all security software on users’ devices. They also pose a grave security threat to email programs and brands’ IT infrastructure by creating their own copies and attaching to emails.

End user

An end user is an individual who uses a product or service. The term “end user” is generally interchangeable with “customer,” but customers can be retailers buying from wholesalers or third parties. End users are the customers who ultimately use the product.