A message submission agent (MSA) or mail submission agent is a computer program or software agent that receives electronic mail messages from a mail user agent (MUA) and cooperates with a mail transfer agent (MTA) for delivery of the mail. It uses ESMTP, a variant of the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP), as specified in RFC 6409.
Many MTAs perform the function of an MSA as well, but there are also programs that are specially designed as MSAs without full MTA functionality. Historically, in Internet mail, both MTA and MSA functions use port number 25, but the official port for MSAs is 587. The MTA accepts a user’s incoming mail, while the MSA accepts a user’s outgoing mail.