ESMTP (Extended Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) specifies extensions to the original protocol for sending e-mail that supports graphics, audio and video files, and text in various national languages. The original Internet protocols for sending e-mail are described in Request for Comments (RFC) 822, Standard for the Format of ARPA Internet Text Messages, and in RFC 821, Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP). As users began to want to attach various kinds of files to e-mail, the need for additional capabilities arose and resulted in RFC 1869, Extended Simple Mail Transfer Protocol.
ESMTP provides the capability for a client e-mail program to ask a server e-mail program which capabilities it supports and then communicate accordingly. Currently, most commercial e-mail servers and clients support ESMTP.