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Multi-Purpose Internet Mail Extensions

Multi-Purpose Internet Mail Extensions

(also MIME)

Multi-Purpose Internet Mail Extensions definition

Multi-Purpose Internet Mail Extensions (MIME) is a fundamental email standard that allows users to send files (e.g., videos, photos, or audio recordings) over email. MIME is an extension of the Simple Mail Transport Protocol (SMTP) — the primary protocol for sending emails. The MIME standard is supported by virtually all modern email servers and clients — it’s an essential part of today’s email technology.

See also: email virus

History of MIME

MIME was introduced in the early 1990s as an extension to the existing email standards to solve one important limitation — emails could only send play text messages. Users were limited to sending simple text, and an enhancement was needed. MIME was developed to address this limitation and allow internet users to share emails with files, images, and videos. MIME quickly became widely used, making it an essential component of email communication.

MIME drawbacks

  • MIME adds additional complexity to email messages, so there may be compatibility issues and difficulties with interpreting email messages correctly.
  • MIME may also increase email size, meaning emails sometimes take longer to send.
  • MIME also introduces some security risks. Malicious actors can add executable files or scripts to emails as attachments, which unsuspecting recipients may open.

Further reading

Ultimate digital security