Glossary: Mail transfer agent (MTA)

All email marketing tools make use of an MTA solution it is software that is a part of the email infrastructure. A mail transfer agent or mail relay transfers email messages from one computer to another. An MTA is responsible for the core tasks involved with delivering of email, including: queuing, throttling, scheduling, connection management, data transfer, processing of deferrals, bounce generation and tracking of delivery status.

An MTA solution also includes features for handling inbound email, such as replies and remotely bounced messages.

The MTA works in the background, through back end server applications. The typical user interacts with the email marketing tool, not directly with the MTA interface. A correctly configured MTA can have a great impact on the deliverability and performance of the email marketing tool.

Use of an MTA in email marketing

A mail transfer agent might also be known as mail relay or internet message handling service. The terms mail server, mail exchanger or MX host may also refer to a computer performing the MTA function.

More articles about Mail transfer agents (MTA):

About Jordie van Rijn


Jordie van Rijn is an independent email marketing consultant and Analyst. He is the Founder of Email Vendor Selection and specializes in smart email marketing, optimisation and RFP / vendor selection. Named on of "50 Online Marketing Influencers to Watch in 2016 " by Entrepreneur magazine.

  • kossanah

    Do you know of an MTA vendor service i can use?

  • Michael Linthorst

    You could try MailerQ. MailerQ is a high performance Mail Transfer Agent,
    designed to deliver large volumes of email messages
    at very high speeds.