In general terms a 'protocol' can relate to a set of procedures or rules that are followed by a governing body or a system. A protocol can be a blueprint or a specific set of steps that are always followed to create a regulated and reliable outcome. When thinking of a protocol in the context of computing the meaning is very similar. A protocol within the world of computing relates to rules that are followed during the exchange or transmission of data between devices, to give an example of a set of protocols follow this link to our Knowledgebase article ('What is the difference between POP and IMAP?').
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