One of the associations I'm in (besides LUV) have been experiencing
difficulties sending bulk emails to members on a monthly basis (for
announcements, newsletters purposes). This is because when you are trying
to send bulk emails via your free web mail account (in this case, GMail),
there is a limit imposed by Google (or any other webmail service providers)
on the number of email addresses we can mail out to, within a period of
time - and this limit can get ever stricter as time goes by. So the whole
mailout process becomes unmanageable after a while.
While the Ctte is looking into various alternatives, including several of
the 3rd party mail services / transactional mail services in the market, I
am offering them another option: Setup a SMTP mail server (e.g. Postfix)
on a VPS hosted by a web hosting company, and handle the whole bulk mailout
ourselves. I am willing to help them setting up a VPS, hardening the
Linux, installing & configuring all the mail software, etc, and then take
care of the regular maintenance.
For VPS hosting service - I had looked at one hostwinds.com
Choice of au.pcmag.com
2017) (~ US$ 14 / mth). Will check out others to
compare - basically I'm after a reasonably priced and reputable VPS web
hosting company. I would like to hear any recommendation, or any
first-hand experience dealing with any particular web hosting company -
which I'm sure many of LUV members certainly have.
For domain name (.org.au) - About $48 for 2 years. Any reputable Domain
Registrar that you would recommend?
For SSL Certificate - I can install one from Let's Encrypt, which will be
Any major cost/charges that I have missed?
I also intend to follow all the bulk mail best practices, SPF/DKIM
settings, MX records, security measures, email etiquette, etc, to make sure
that our organisation normal notification/newsletter to our members, would
not be treated as SPAM.
The 3rd party mail service providers that I had found so far: MailChimp,
MailJet, Amazon-SES, SendGrid, MailGun (and many others).
Did lots of google searches, trying to compare (Advantages & Disadvantages)
between managing own SMTP mail server and using 3rd party mail services.
The results were mix and varied.
I myself certainly have much more faith in opting for a self-managed mail
server solution over the commercial mail service ones.
Some of the advantages:
- Have full control over most aspect of the mailing process. More
flexible. Not constraint by the ever-changing rules imposed by 3rd party
- Using all free & open source software - have all the freedom, and can
tap into the large FOSS Community out there for various kinds of help and
- Cost-wise, the mail server option is generally on the lower end of the
price spectrum, as compared to many of the 3rd party mail services in the
- No doubt the own mail server option would involve more work, more time
to manage the whole thing - but I'm quite happy to take up this challenge,
and to learn a lot from this hands-on experience.
I would be delighted if any of you who are experienced in managing a
linux-based mail server can kindly share with us some more real-life
examples and hands-on experiences - so that I can gather more solid
evidence & cases, hopefully to strengthen my case for a self-managed mail
Some points that I had read somewhere that I would like to quote below to
seek your comment:
"*What a commercial mailing list operator does, and which you cannot easily
replicate, is build and maintain a reputation as a responsible and
reputable source of bulk email. If you are not going to be getting into
that, perhaps you could benefit from getting help from a commercial mailer.
*Abuse handling, bounce handling etc are important to get right, but until
you have significant experience, your reputation is going to remain zero,
if not negative (which is a reasonable starting point for unknown domains
in this day and age). A lot of the reputation-based stuff like SPF, DKIM
etc will help only if you have a reputation to defend. On the other hand,
it does send the right signals to somebody who is deciding on whether or
not a sender is to be treated as reputable (or rather, their absence is not
a good sign; neither, in my book, is anything to suggest you are using
homegrown and/or prerelease software to send email). *..."
I also read somewhere which seemed to point to a 3rd option: Still use own
mail server, but direct the outbound mails to an external Mail Relay
service. What do you think?
When this whole project (if accepted by my Ctte) is done and implemented
successfully, I intend to share my experience in this whole process, in one
of LUV talks.
In the mean time, I have a lot of work to do, and lots to learn ...