Email message header information: Standard fields, values

Email message header information: Message header is the top portion of email which contains all the necessary information about an email. It is not usually displayed in the email as it is of little use for a regular receiver. However, if you wish to see additional details of an email message then, message header is very useful. Header is composed of several fields which have name and values. A typical message header looks like:

Received: by with SMTP id k1csp125767wjj;
Sat, 23 Mar 2013 16:50:37 -0700 (PDT)
X-Received: by with SMTP id ih10mr9881578pbc.187.1364082636392;
Sat, 23 Mar 2013 16:50:36 -0700 (PDT)
Return-Path: <>
Received: from ( [])
by with ESMTPS id pc5si8462080pac.139.2013.
(version=TLSv1 cipher=RC4-SHA bits=128/128);
Sat, 23 Mar 2013 16:50:36 -0700 (PDT)
Received-SPF: pass ( domain of designates as permitted sender) client-ip=;
spf=pass ( domain of designates as permitted sender);
DKIM-Signature: v=1; a=rsa-sha256; q=dns/txt; c=simple/simple;; s=dkim-201205;
h=Message-ID:Date:Content-Type:MIME-Version:Subject:To:From; bh=tGLpoLmryRkfZhSW1VmC+Rlu+mW3+Cf+OrGNrVH0bUQ=;
From: “HostGator (Twitter)” <>
To: More Process <>
Subject: HostGator (@hostgator) is now following you on Twitter!
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: multipart/alternative;
X-return-path-rewrite: true
X-twfbl: am-111949529413640826271070284
Date: Sat, 23 Mar 2013 23:50:27 +0000
Message-ID: <>

Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit

Here are the standard fields in a message header:

1) From: It displays who sent the message.

2) To: It displays the primary recipients to whom the message is sent. A message can be sent to many recipients.

3) Subject: Subject of the message.

4) MIME-Version: Shows MIME (Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions) version.

5) Content-Type: It shows MIME data format used.

6) Delivered-To: It shows to which email address the message was delivered.

7) Received: It displays information from each host service which relayed the message.

8) X-Sender: It is used to add a authentication layer to a message by identifying the sender.

9) X-Mailer: It is the application which is used to compose the message.

10) Return-Path: It is the address to which a reply will be sent.

11) Message-ID: Unique ID to identify a message.

12) Cc: For additional recipients of the message. Cc is an abbreviation for carbon copy.

13) Date: Specifies date and time message was sent. Date and time is according to the sender’s computer.

14) Bcc: For additional recipients of the message, this email address or addresses will be invisible to other recipient. Bcc is an abbreviation for Blind carbon copy.

15) Content-Transfer-Encoding: It shows that field names and other values have a restriction of 7-bit characters.

16) Received-SPF: It is used to display SPF check results.

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