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JavaMail Tutorial

The JavaMail is an API that is used to compose, write and read electronic messages (emails).

The JavaMail API provides protocol-independent and plateform-independent framework for sending and receiving mails.

The javax.mail and javax.mail.activation packages contains the core classes of JavaMail API.

The JavaMail facility can be applied to many events. It can be used at the time of registering the user (sending notification such as thanks for your interest to my site), forgot password (sending password to the users email id), sending notifications for important updates etc. So there can be various usage of java mail api.

Do You Know ?
  • How to send and receive email using JavaMail API ?
  • How to send email through gmail server ?
  • How to send and receive email with attachment ?
  • How to send email with html content including images?
  • How to forward and delete the email ?

Protocols used in JavaMail API

There are some protocols that are used in JavaMail API.
  • SMTP
  • POP
  • IMAP
  • MIME
  • NNTP and others


SMTP is an acronym for Simple Mail Transfer Protocol. It provides a mechanism to deliver the email. We can use Apache James server, Postcast server, cmail server etc. as an SMTP server. But if we purchase the host space, an SMTP server is bydefault provided by the host provider. For example, my smtp server is If we use the SMTP server provided by the host provider, authentication is required for sending and receiving emails.


POP is an acronym for Post Office Protocol, also known as POP3. It provides a mechanism to receive the email. It provides support for single mail box for each user. We can use Apache James server, cmail server etc. as an POP server. But if we purchase the host space, an POP server is bydefault provided by the host provider. For example, the pop server provided by the host provider for my site is This protocol is defined in RFC 1939.


IMAP is an acronym for Internet Message Access Protocol. IMAP is an advanced protocol for receiving messages. It provides support for multiple mail box for each user ,in addition to, mailbox can be shared by multiple users. It is defined in RFC 2060.


Multiple Internet Mail Extension (MIME) tells the browser what is being sent e.g. attachment, format of the messages etc. It is not known as mail transfer protocol but it is used by your mail program.

NNTP and Others

There are many protocols that are provided by third-party providers. Some of them are Network News Transfer Protocol (NNTP), Secure Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (S/MIME) etc.

JavaMail Architecture

The java application uses JavaMail API to compose, send and receive emails. The JavaMail API uses SPI (Service Provider Interfaces) that provides the intermediatory services to the java application to deal with the different protocols. Let's understand it with the figure given below:

JavaMail API Architecture

JavaMail API Core Classes

There are two packages that are used in Java Mail API: javax.mail and javax.mail.internet package. These packages contains many classes for Java Mail API. They are:

  • javax.mail.Session class
  • javax.mail.Message class
  • javax.mail.internet.MimeMessage class
  • javax.mail.Address class
  • javax.mail.internet.InternetAddress class
  • javax.mail.Authenticator class
  • javax.mail.PasswordAuthentication class
  • javax.mail.Transport class
  • javax.mail.Store class
  • javax.mail.Folder class etc.

We will know about these class one by one when it is getting used.

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