A courier is a person or a company who delivers messages, packages, and mail. Couriers are distinguished from ordinary mail services by features such as speed, security, tracking, signature, specialization and individualization of express services, and swift delivery times, which are optional for most everyday mail services. As a premium service, couriers are usually more expensive than usual mail services, and their use is typically restricted to packages where one or more of these features are considered important enough to warrant the cost. Different courier services operate on all scales, from within specific towns or cities, to regional, national and global services. The world's largest courier companies are DHL, FedEx, TNT, UPS, and Aramex. These offer services worldwide, typically via a hub and spoke model. In ancient times runners and homing pigeons and riders on horseback were used to deliver timely messages.
Contributions by Buffalo Bill, RoyBoy, and Frap.