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Mail retrieval agent

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A mail retrieval agent (MRA) is a computer application that retrieves or fetches e-mail from a remote mail server and works with a mail delivery agent to deliver mail to a local or remote email mailbox.[1] MRA is an automated agent that works on behalf of the user agent checks for the new incoming mail.[2][3] MRAs may be external applications by themselves or be built into bigger applications like a mail user agent. Significant examples of standalone MRAs include fetchmail and getmail.[4][user-generated source]

The concept of an MRA is not standardized in email architecture. Although they operate like mail transfer agents, MRAs are technically clients when they retrieve and submit messages.

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Delivery mechanisms

The mail retrieval agent may support delivery of retrieved mail via the following mechanisms:

  • Via a mail transport agent (Listening for SMTP transfers on port 25)
  • Via a mail delivery agent
  • Direct delivery to an mbox formatted mailbox
  • Direct delivery to a maildir directory
  • Output to standard output

Multiple mailbox support

The mail retriever agent may support retrieval of mail from multiple mailboxes simultaneously. This enables a mailserver to have a centrally configured mail retriever agent that runs against a dedicated mail system account, and collects the mail for all users in a single invocation (rather than using cron to run a mail retriever agent against all the mail recipients).

See also


  1. ^ "GBdirect — An Overview of Internet Email". Retrieved 2023-06-19.
  2. ^ Bergstra, Jan; Burgess, Mark (2011-08-11). Handbook of Network and System Administration. Elsevier. ISBN 978-0-08-055358-0.
  3. ^ "GBdirect — An Overview of Internet Email". Retrieved 2023-06-19.
  4. ^ MuttWiki: MailConcept


This page was last edited on 10 July 2023, at 16:18
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