What are message headers or full headers?

Message headers, or commonly called full headers, contain routing information for messages, including the sender, the recipients, the date when the message was sent, and the path it followed through the network from the sender’s computer to the recipient’s computer. They are useful in re-tracing the path of the mail and establishing its origin.

Full headers though transmitted with each email message, are not always visible. They can be viewed by selecting a ‘Show headers’ option from your mail software menu.

A sample header looks like the one below:

Received: from mail.recipient.com (mail.recipient.com []) by recipient.com (8.6.13/8.7.Alpha.4/1.34.) with ESMTP id ABCD12345 for Fri, 6 Jun 1997 23:17:44 -0400

Received: from mail.sender.com (mail.sender.com []) by mail.recipient.com (8.8.6.Beta0/8.8.6.Beta0/2.0.) with ESMTP ABCD12345 for ; Fri, 6 Jun 1997 23:08:27 -0400 (EDT)

Received: from original.sender.com (original.sender.com [123.456.78.90]) by mail.sender.com (8.8.6.Beta0/8.8.6.Beta0/2.0.) with ESMTP id ABCD12345 for ; Fri, 6 Jun 1997 23:08:25 -0400 (EDT) X-Mailer: Whatever-Mail-Program-The-Sender-Used

How do I report a message with full headers using my current email program?

Most email programs have an option to specify “show all headers” or “turn on mail headers”. For your ready reference, we have provided instructions on how to report a message to us along with its full headers using some of the popular email programs.

NetZero Message Center

Display while reading – Open the email message for which you would like to see the full headers. On the upper right hand side of the message, click on Full Header.

Include while replying/forwarding – Select Messages from the Options dropdown list at the top. In the section titled Sending, check the box next to Send headers when replying/forwarding and then click Save.