An Ethereum account is similar to a bank account. It is personal, it is unique and in it you register (store) your funds.
An Ethereum account allows you to store your coins and gives you an identifier in the network.
Although it is sometimes used as a synonym for address or wallet, they are not the same. The right thing to do is to “create an account” instead of “create a wallet” because a wallet is the way, the means to manage your account.
What does an Ethereum account include?
An Ethereum account consists of several components.
A Public Address or Public Key
Every Ethereum account has a public address or key associated with it. This is the piece of information you share with others to get coins sent to you. In this respect it is similar to a postal address, a bank account number or your email address.
This is the only piece of information you should share or publish. These addresses are of the form:
Keep in mind: when someone asks you for your address, your account or your wallet what is asking you is this address or public key.
A Private Key
A private key is the way you get access to your account. It is the key to open your account. In this aspect it is similar to the password of your email or mailbox key in your home.
You should never give others your private key because if someone has your private key then that person has access to all your coins.
A mnemonic phrase
Ethereum accounts have a 12- or 24-word mnemonic phrase associated with them. This phrase is private as it has the ability to reset your account.
A Keystore file
A Keystore file is a JSON file that saves some data to give you access to your account.