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Handling email requirements for busy forum


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Hi -

Although I have a dedicated server, I'm having trouble with my email.

I have 37k members and about 300 signups per day, with a LOT of posting. Because a lot of people follow forums, send PM's etc, the amount of email generated is quite substantial.

As a result, I started getting massive non-delivery because ISP's bouncing the email with messages about detecting an unusually large amount of email from this domain etc...it, it thinks its spam when its all legit.

I figure I can't be the only one running into this...what do you guys do...does your email delivery work? Any suggestions?

Chris

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If you don't use mandril, ensure that you have your spf, DMIK and other dns properly setup for your mail server, you can check the returned emails to see specifics on why they are being rejected as well. Most mail providers/ISP's have very strict requirements such as proper spf records, dkim, etc that must be in place for proper delivery.

Using mandrill as suggested takes this hassle away however as it will use their mail servers to send all mail.

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  • 1 month later...

If you want to shop around, there are many options like... (no particular order)

  • amazon ses (probably cheapest, at least for less than 100k. Personally use, because it's cheapest. but has very few features)
  • mandrill
  • sendgrid
  • critsend
  • postmark
  • socketlabs
  • mailjet
  • elasticmail
  • mailgun

I hope didn't make typos. :tongue:

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SMTP2GO is a good one but compared to the ones listed above more expensive. I'm not sure about how good the features or log or control panel is with any of the other providers. I personally detested Mandrill and it had poor results. SMTP2GO has shown the best results and they keep you up to date with all the emails that bounce.

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  • 1 month later...

FWIW, I use Amazon SES, but I found that having a local postfix instance queue the mail improved posting performance dramatically. My mail flow goes: forum->postfix->amazon->[etcetc].

As a side benefit, I can see nice mail logs now. And if there is a problem with Amazon, the mail is nicely queued up.

robert

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I've been "banned" by Microsoft two or three times.

Every time, I've had to fill out forms and go through the standard process of having the block reviewed and removed. After the last time over a year ago, I haven't had any problems though.

Yahoo! likes to defer e-mails a lot, but they don't ever outright block me.

AOL has had my server blocked since over a year ago. I don't really care about AOL, they didn't seem to have a reasonable system for appealing blocks last time I looked, so I just blocked AOL addresses from being used on my forum. They have a very small market share, and they seem to be prone to blocking a lot of people like this, so I'm not concerned.

It's not uncommon for messages sent to GMAIL to get sent to spam, but I've never really had delivery troubles with Google otherwise. I just add a message reminding people to check their spam folders.

If you don't want to opt for using a third party to handle mail deliveries, Rhett offered great advice.

Along with SPF records, you should ensure your IP has a proper rDNS/PTR record associated with it. If you're on a shared host, this isn't something you'll bother with, but if you have a dedicated server, you'll want to contact your host and ask them to set up a PTR record for your web servers IP address.

In my experience, it seems more common for some ISP's to block messages coming from IP's that have no reverse DNS record than no SPF record.

But if you ever are blocked by a mail service provider, usually you can appeal the block and have it removed. I don't opt for using third party mail services partially for privacy reasons. I avoid relying on third parties wherever possible. This is just a personal choice, if you want to use your own mail server for a moderate to large sized community, it's going to require some work on your behalf to monitor your IP(s) and ensure you have everything set up properly.

I handle thousands of e-mails a day on my server. As my communities started to grow, it was a bit of a bumpy road in dealing with blocks and the sort, but after learning the basics (such as setting up proper SPF and PTR records), I've never really had any problems. I post clear instructions on how members can contact administration if they have trouble validating their account, and every here and there I'll get an e-mail requesting manual validation, but other than that, I have no problems whatsoever handling mail delivery myself.

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The best email provider so far is SMTP2GO simply because of the features they provide and the ease of use. I tried Mandrill and other providers and none compared to SMTP2GO. The best thing about them are the logging features they offer, so you can really see how your email is used and actually take control of it. Not to mention how easy it was to setup unlike Mandril which is just a pain in the behind. The only draw back is that they are pricey comparing to providers like Amazon who are really cheap... but with the services offered, its worth it if you need it.

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Ahah, really? I guess Hotmail is a headache for everyone, even Mandrill :tongue:

yup.

and try running an exchange server from a location where a static ip is not even available (I cannot get business plan here) and its even more a pita.

for that I use dyndns.com smtp relay (not their free services, paid/etc) but even still hotmail will sometimes reject them.

sometimes it almost seems like its an issue with some particular hotmail/live servers as many work fine.

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We dont allow sign up's from anything Microsoft as it seems that members always click report (or spam) when an email (that the member has asked to get) is sent from our servers to the member.

should mention that we don't have an issue with any other email service. Only anything Microsoft, so we have banned members from signing up with *@hotmail.com *@live.com and *@outlook.com - I am sure more will come in the future.

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I have had issues with yahoo but was able to step through their "certification" process and resolve that.

aol I could not do. in order to get aol to not treat a spam you need to have sent tons of emails to show server isn't proxied/moving around. then if you send tons they flag as spammer. no win situation.

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We dont allow sign up's from anything Microsoft as it seems that members always click report (or spam) when an email (that the member has asked to get) is sent from our servers to the member.

should mention that we don't have an issue with any other email service. Only anything Microsoft, so we have banned members from signing up with *@hotmail.com *@live.com and *@outlook.com - I am sure more will come in the future.

I've seen this with Gmail and YahooMail too, probably more so.

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