subscribe: Posts | Comments

Reading full email headers

0 comments
Reading full email headers

Email headers determine where a message is sent, and records the specific path the message follows as it passes through each mail server. To follow the path of a message chronologically, read from the bottom of the header, and work your way up.

Here’s an example of a message header for an email sent from MrJones@emailprovider.com to MrSmith@gmail.com:

Delivered-To: MrSmith@gmail.com
Received: by 10.36.81.3 with SMTP1 id e3cs239nzb; Tue, 29 Mar 2005 15:11:47 -0800 (PST)
Return-Path:
Received: from mail.emailprovider.com (mail.emailprovider.com [111.111.11.111]) by mx.gmail.com with SMTP id h19si826631rnb.2005.03.29.15.11.46; Tue, 29 Mar 2005 15:11:47 -0800 (PST)
Message-ID: <20050329231145.62086.mail@mail.emailprovider.com>
Received: from [11.11.111.111] by mail.emailprovider.com via HTTP; Tue, 29 Mar 2005 15:11:45 PST
Date: Tue, 29 Mar 2005 15:11:45 -0800 (PST)
From: Mr Jones
Subject: Hello
To: Mr Smith

In the example, headers are added to the message three times:

When Mr. Jones composes the email

Date: Tue, 29 Mar 2005 15:11:45 -0800 (PST)
From: Mr Jones
Subject: Hello
To: Mr Smith

When the email is sent through the servers of Mr. Jones’ email provider, mail.emailprovider.com

Message-ID: <20050329231145.62086.mail@mail.emailprovider.com>
Received: from [11.11.111.111] by mail.emailprovider.com via HTTP; Tue, 29 Mar 2005 15:11:45 PST

When the message transfers from Mr. Jones’ email provider to Mr. Smith’s Gmail address

Delivered-To: MrSmith@gmail.com
Received: by 10.36.81.3 with SMTP id e3cs239nzb;Tue, 29 Mar 2005 15:11:47 -0800 (PST)
Return-Path: MrJones@emailprovider.com
Received: from mail.emailprovider.com (mail.emailprovider.com [111.111.11.111]) by mx.gmail.com with SMTP id h19si826631rnb; Tue, 29 Mar 2005 15:11:47 -0800 (PST)

Below is a description of each section of the email header:

Delivered-To: MrSmith@gmail.com

The email address the message will be delivered to.

Received: by 10.36.81.3 with SMTP id e3cs239nzb;
Tue, 29 Mar 2005 15:11:47 -0800 (PST)

The time the message reached Gmail’s servers.

Return-Path:

The address from which the message was sent.

Received: from mail.emailprovider.com
(mail.emailprovider.com [111.111.11.111])
by mx.gmail.com with SMTP id h19si826631rnb.2005.03.29.15.11.46;
Tue, 29 Mar 2005 15:11:47 -0800 (PST)

The message was received from mail.emailprovider.com, by a Gmail server on March 29, 2005 at approximately 3 pm.

Message-ID: 20050329231145.62086.mail@mail.emailprovider.com

A unique number assigned by mail.emailprovider.com to identify the message.

Received: from [11.11.111.111] by mail.emailprovider.com via HTTP;
Tue, 29 Mar 2005 15:11:45 PST

Mr. Jones used an email composition program to write the message, and it was then received by the email servers of mail.emailprovider.com.

Date: Tue, 29 Mar 2005 15:11:45 -0800 (PST)
From: Mr Jones
Subject: Hello
To: Mr Smith

The date, sender, subject, and destination — Mr. Jones entered this information (except for the date) when he composed the email.

Leave a Reply