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Seeking recommendations based on experience for Sendmail Relays


  • Spoilt for choice here!..

    Screenshot 2020-07-16 at 02.15.57.png

    And looking for tried & tested experience to narrow down my research and testing options, and hopefully help others with similar.

    Scope

    • 50 personal mailboxes for sending (Webmail and Local Client Apps)
    • 6 shared mailboxes for sending via a Helpdesk & CRM platform (say Freescout & EspoCRM for example)
    • 1 shared mailbox for sending emails newsletters 3-5 times a week to ~100,000 subscribers (opted-in and regularly cleaned list all GDPR compliant and all that). (say 1M emails a month with Maintain or similar)
    • 6 marketing and ecommerce websites for transactional emails.

    Current solutions

    • GSuite for personal & shared mailbox sending & receiving (£9/month/user tier so we have Google Vault for compliance auditing)
    • Freshdesk (getting slower, pricer at over $2k a month and less value with every update and price hike)
    • Campaign Monitor for newsletters (again getting pricey for what it is at over $1k a month)

    Requirements

    • Deliverability for regular mailbox sendmail.
    • Deliverability for regular newsletter sendmail.
    • Deliverability for regular transaction sendmail.
    • Permanent record of all emails sent regardless of whether the sender deletes from their local Sent mailbox or IMAP folder.
    • Multiple sending domains under the same account and tiers.
    • EU region hosting for GDPR respect.
    • Reporting on delivery and open or spammed for all sent emails (you know, for those people that claim they didn't receive an email but had opened it or got overly restrictive spam filtering)
    • Price is relative really, just competitive will do, reliability and audit-trail on delivery is the most important. Still I think we're paying rather a lot right now compared to the alternatives.
    • Unlikely to have random account issues from whatever - humans are better than robots at these discussions.

    So reasonably high-volume sending needs and don't particularly thing using the Cloudron sendmail would be wise for that - although I have an open mind.

    Hopefully the experience and recommendations her can also help others with similar decisions.

    I'm posting a load of my recommendations from experience in various places here but this is the one thing I've not changed in years, so it makes me nervous to have new account issues.

    Anyone as happy with their high-volume sendmail service as I have been with Cloudron and Hetzner?

    I did look into this a while ago, so will revisit and share my own research and selection here too as I find more useful info for the group.


  • First of the interesting links:

    (and Trustpilot ratings are hard work to maintain!)

    Seems to tick a lot of boxes and decent pricing.

    Anyone here using an SMTP/API emailer service they love?




  • Lately, I migrate one of my clients which had an old CentOS to send an invoice and mailing list which was around 500 000 mails per month. I compared Mailgun, Mailjet and SendGrid which are all offering service in EU. We end going with SendGrid because they are Microsoft Partner. But overall I noticed

    • Amazon SES is great but pricy if you don't host your VM at Amazon.
    • SendGrid and Mailgun are rock solid.
    • MailJet has random support and, one time they blocked my account simply because I didn't reply on time, they are the cheapest.

    Let's do some math

    • 50 mailboxes * 20 days * 100 mails per day = 100 000 mail per month
    • 6 shared mailboxes * 30 days * 150 mails per day = rounded at 25 000 mail per month
    • 4times a week * 4weeks *100 000 subscribers = 1.6M mail per month but you mention 1M
    • 6 e-commerce websites * 30 days * 150 mails per day = rounded at 25 000 mail per month

    for 1.5M of email per month Mailgun and Mailjet would be around 650$US/month and SendGrid would be over 800$US


  • @JOduMonT Nice, exactly the insight and experience needed. I do everything possible to avoid Amazon for ethical reasons.

    Mailgun looked good from the big boys & girls last time I looked, could be a candidate, although the above shows they have decent and hungry competition, so it's certainly a premium option.

    Sendgrid - no EU options that I can see, and I thought insisted on double opt-in (also doubling subscription email sending) and our subscribers have been around for 15 years, way before double opt-in was a thing.


  • I guess sometimes you hear a name enough you expect them to be pricey and funding slick marketing but Sendinblue might be legit:

    https://www.sendinblue.com/
    https://uk.trustpilot.com/review/www.sendinblue.com

    Can't argue with the free plan allowances compatible to GMail.

    Seems to insist on double opt-in though, which isn't always appropriate.

  • Staff

    We use postmark for some of our internal services. The pricing for that comes roughly to what @JOduMonT mentioned. Postmark is very reliable and we have only good things to say about them.

    But bulk of our emails are sent out directly from the server and we haven't had delivery issue. This is probably because we were very early adopters of DigitalOcean and got a clean IP. These days it's really hard to get clean IPs. One idea might be to shop around for some VPSs with a clean IP. Before going to production, you should also reach out to them and let them know about the email volume since if you send even more than 1k mails a day, they get all paranoid and shut down the VPS these days.


  • @girish said in Seeking recommendations based on experience for Sendmail Relays:

    around for some VPSs with a clean IP

    clean IP is not enough, if the Ip has being bad in the past and/or is in a bad neighbourhood it might result into SPAM.
    That said, more and more provider block by default STMP which is to prevent my first point.
    Provider such as Vultr, Linode and upCloud (probably DigitalOcean too) have this practice.

    @girish does Cloudron regulate how much email it is possible to send per secs / minutes / hours because Mailcow do and it is a great way to mitigate the issue.

  • Staff

    @JOduMonT said in Seeking recommendations based on experience for Sendmail Relays:

    @girish does Cloudron regulate how much email it is possible to send per secs / minutes / hours because Mailcow do and it is a great way to mitigate the issue.

    No, Cloudron doesn't regulate how much mail it sends out.


  • Feedback on reviews of all the above so-far - all very well documented and self-guiding to setup and with competitive pricing I don't think you can go too far wrong with any of them.

    • Elasticmail
      • Absolute lowest costs possible & extremely comprehensive documentation, guides, interface & API (seems to be automated approval).
    • PepiPost
      • Next lowest cost and active live-chat and good documentation with direct Mailtrain & Mautic support and guides. Only one offering encrypt-at-rest for email lists too - which is very handy for mailing-list security and GDPR protection from that vector. (manual approval process).
    • Sendinblue
      • Application and service supplied with lots of marketing extras for a hybrid approach to use Mailtrain/Mautic/SendInBlue tools (seems to be automated approval).
    • turboSMTP
      • Manual approval process and can't see anything yet. Might be a bit more tolerant for imperfect email lists from anecdotal reviews but they will all be strictly against excessive spam reports.

    Bonus, Elasticmail guides taught me more about how to manage multiple sendmail providers on a domain and has this very useful DMARC voodoo generator and guide:

    Overall, I think all 4 would be great integrations for Cloudron to have and lower cost than everything except self-sending compared to current options.

    Will report back more as I find out more.

    Worth noting, Mailtrain only has SMTP setup, no API for anything other than Amazon SES - but if you need to send high volumes in a short time (ie: to hit optimal localised delivery times), then you really want API sending as SMTP won't handle the volumes.


  • @JOduMonT Thanks for the numbers!

    Elasticmail for 1.5M emails would be $135/month Standard and +$30 for Pro, so $165/month for comparison. Basically, $515 to $665/month cost-savings on the table, or $6,180 to $7,980 a year.

    The research kinda pays for itself a few times over once you get above say 10,000 emails a month.

    You do need to bring your own client though, like Mailtrain - but then it will support a hosted HTML page generated anywhere if the GUI templates aren't pleasing to the design team.


  • FYI: Apparently, Amazon SES is blocked by the major German email services and a couple in France in Brazil: https://forums.aws.amazon.com/thread.jspa?threadID=323992


  • What are the best options to have a reliable email relay for a privat domain - I don't have huge amounts of mail (5-10 a day) and don't need tracking, analysis, etc.
    I currently have my domain at Namecheap - should I just buy their mail option?


  • Elasticmail gets immediately rejected by the Provider "mailbox.org"

  • Staff

    Not sure what that AWS forum entry exactly indicates, however I am using SES for my personal Cloudron just fine and most of my contacts are within Germany.


  • @necrevistonnezr For low volumes like that I'd just use the Cloudron SMTP.

    Namecheap's email is good too, tried that and it worked well but I ended up retiring it in favour of Cloudron's SMTP.

    Lemwarm is good for building a trust reputation on a new sendmail service with any provider.

    Amazon services I avoid, Google I'm starting to think similar. Just easier to stick to EU services for GDPR and their generally more pro-privacy claims at least.


  • @marcusquinn said in Seeking recommendations based on experience for Sendmail Relays:

    @necrevistonnezr For low volumes like that I'd just use the Cloudron SMTP.

    My Cloudron is at home with a dynamic IP from my ISB - that won't work for building reputation, I guess.


  • @nebulon said in Seeking recommendations based on experience for Sendmail Relays:

    Not sure what that AWS forum entry exactly indicates, however I am using SES for my personal Cloudron just fine and most of my contacts are within Germany.

    I had several mails rejected today for GMX and Web.de accounts - and others have too, see the AWS forum entry.


  • @necrevistonnezr If it were me I'd go with Mailgun free tier, which is the only supported sendmail service from Ghost websites if you use that (I recommend it and use for my personal blog, blog.cloudron.io does too).

    If you want to pay and have sort-of-privacy, I think Namecheap lowest tier for email is decent value and service.

    If you thought you might need more mailboxes and want to build an IP sendmail reputation, you could create your own Cloudron tiny sendmail server on Hetzner / Netcup for < €3/m and the free Cloudron subscription.