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What is MIME ( Multi-Purpose Internet Mail Extensions) Functions & Advantages

MIME is also well-known for Multipurpose Internet Mail Extension which has a specific standard and the Bell Communication proposed it in 1991. The purpose of this is to expand the email capability.

This is one type of add-on the supplementary protocol which allows non-ASCII data, and that has to be sent through by SMTP. It also allows users to exchange different types of data like audio, images, video, application, and much more. These get files on the internet.

At the beginning, MIME header gets inserted by the server and it begins with the web transmission. The client uses this header to select the appropriate player application. Some players get built into the web client, where others still need to get downloaded.

Now you might be wondering why do we need the MIME?

  1. It contains SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol), and it has very simple structure.

  2. Its simplicity not only comes the price; it can only send the message in NVT 7-bit format.

  3. It will not support with every language like French, Russian, Japanese, Chinese, etc. SMTP cannot be transmitted with everything, so to make that broad, we need to use MIME.

  4. When SMTP cannot use the binary files, MIME helps by proving the authority to use audio and video data. 

Features of MIME

  1. Through this, you can send multiple files in a single message.
  2. You will also get an unlimited message length.
  3. There are few binary attachments like images, executables, video, audio, etc., all can be divided if required.
  4. MIME provides support to varying the content types and multi-part messages.



MIME Header

MIME has five additional fields where the header portion of the actual email is got extended into the properties of the simple email protocol. Those are discussing below

  1. MIME Version- It explains the version of MIME protocol where header usually has the parameter value and indicates the particular message which is formatted with MIME.
  2. Content Type- It describes as a type or subtype of information which has been sent through a message, and these have many varieties like image, audio, video, text, and much more. In subtypes, images have to in png or jpeg format. In the same way, there are a few subtypes of video like WEBM and MP4.
  3. Content-Type encoding– This is one type of field which mainly get used to convert the mail information into ASCII like 7-bit encoding, 8-bit encoding, and much more.
  4. Content Id- In this field there are a unique “content id” number that appended to the all email to be uniquely identified.
  5. Content description- Here, you will get a brief description of the content within a mail. It clearly means that whatever has been sent, is the completely content description. This field has provided the information including name, modification date, and creation date on the file.

 Advantage of the MIME


  1. It is perfect for send different types of files in a message like audio, text, video, etc.
  2. MIME also provides the facility to receive and send emails in different languages like Japanese, Hindi, Chinese, French, etc.
  3. It connects HTML and CSS to the email and designs the email so that it fits as per the requirement and helps make the content attractive and beautiful.
  4. It is also capable of sending the necessary information which contains the email length. It also assigns the unique id to all the emails.



 Functions of MIME

 There are few functions that MIME follows, which are given below

  1. Signed data- This consists of message and encrypted with the private key and both the content has the digital signature encoded with Base-64.
  2. Clear-signed data- It is very similar to signed data, but you will get the difference where it is clearly mentioned that it has used the encoding based on -64.
  3. Enveloped data- This encrypts the content where the key will get used and the receiver will get the public key.
  4. Signed and enveloped-data- This is the combination of both signed and enveloped -data, and it has the capacity to enclosed the signed data.
  5. Signed receipts- It is an acknowledgment of the original message, or you can say it is proof of your delivery where it will defiantly reach to the sender. You will get the receiver signature with the original message, you need to acknowledge and create the MIME message type.
  6. Security labels- It gets added with the message to identify the control access and the priority which will increase the confidence level.
  7. Secure Mailing lists- In this, it will take over the processing where per recipient will be available while sending a message to multiple users. As an example, when a message has been sent to the five recipients, it will get encrypted with the five respective public keys. In MIME’s list, you will have the agent that will take the single incoming message to perform by using appropriate encryption and forward the correct one. Usually, the sender encrypts the message once and sends that only once, and remaining work will become by the mailing list.


MIME is essential for the business, and in this growing market, email message is the primary option to express the terms in multimedia. In this case, MIME works like another email application that introduce that is not restricted textual data.

MIME gets quickly transform to the non-ASCII data, and from the sender side, it delivers to the client SMTP.  The receiver side message gets transferred to the original data.

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