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dynambee

Let's talk about email service providers

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On 6/23/2019 at 1:10 AM, dynambee said:

Well I was going to go with servercow's hosted mailcow but the migration didn't end up happening. Last weekend (planned time) they had some issues connecting to the server that were my fault. I rectified that so the migration could happen either last Sunday or this weekend but despite sending a few emails asking for an update I have heard nothing at all back from them.

Considering that much of the reason for not hosting my own email is to have support from someone else in case things go wrong the lack of response from servercow has been very concerning. I've therefore abandoned the idea of going with servercow and will instead be migrating to OpenSRS. There is no push email but I can live with that if it means having stability & support at a reasonable price. I wanted to support servercow with my business (open source etc) but I can't risk the lack of support.

I just signed up with OpenSRS and made the $95 deposit (it gets added as a credit to your account) and am now starting the migration. I should have most of my domains migrated over in the next few days and can then nuke the VULTR instance that contains my current mailcow server. Will be sorry to see it go.

How is the Opensrs email going?

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I signed up with them and paid the deposit, everything is working. Unfortunately other things got in the way and the actual migration had to be put on hold. It will happen but not for a little while longer.

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On 9/14/2019 at 10:57 PM, dynambee said:

I signed up with them and paid the deposit, everything is working. Unfortunately other things got in the way and the actual migration had to be put on hold. It will happen but not for a little while longer.

Speed is good. Ease of use. Or you pretty much just paid and never started an email account at all?

 

glad your well. I was worried. 

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8 hours ago, Factor said:

Speed is good. Ease of use. Or you pretty much just paid and never started an email account at all?

Everything seems fine on their end, I just haven't started migrating any accounts to it yet. Too many things to do and not enough hours in the day, unfortunately.

 

8 hours ago, Factor said:

glad your well. I was worried.

Lots of problems but haven't given up the ghost yet.

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I am looking to see how it work out for you guys.. we are developing a mail system for our clients thirtybees webshops.. because mailing system has been one of the challenge for them too..

Edited by shoptechmedia

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Okay, I have put a couple of domains onto OpenSRS Hosted Email so I have a few initial thoughts about it now.

The initial setup (adding the domains and setting up email DNS authentication records) is a bit more involved than I would ideally like but anyone who has set up domain-level email before will be fine with it. The interface is a bit old-school and clunky, but it works.

They are very big on avoiding people using their email service for mass mailing. This is both good and bad. It's good (excellent in fact!) in that it means that your emails are less likely to be tagged as spam. As with all email providers, your mails come from one of a few shared outbound SMTP servers so keeping those servers clean and free of spam reports is very important. On the downside though, newly created email addresses have quite low daily outbound message limits that increase slowly over time. The first address I created was allowed to send 20 emails on the first day, 29 emails on the second... It seems it increases automatically over time as the address is deemed more trustworthy. I don't know how this curve will work or when the address will reach a higher level. You can also request that limits be increased faster if necessary but not having tried this I can't say for sure how easy a process it is.

Running a couple of spam-checkers on messages sent from their servers came back with perfect "not spam" scores once the DKIM/SPF/DMARC entries were set up in the DNS server.

Their webmail interface is very clean and nice to use. It's not quite as fast as Gmail but it's not unreasonably slow. I will probably mostly access email through email clients and mobiles, but it is fine through a browser in a pinch.

I sent some sample emails to various Gmail and Google Apps accounts and all messages came through without problems. Not being able to deliver email to Google was a major reason to abandon the idea of self-hosting email so I'm glad to see that this works without trouble on OpenSRS.

So overall I am satisfied with the service. I would need to set up 80 different email accounts before I reach the costs I was paying to self-host email and I don't expect to reach that level of email anytime soon. I will keep a couple of domains on the free Google Apps tier that they are on now just so I don't have all my email eggs in one basket (and it's free so why not) but otherwise I will be migrating all email to OpenSRS over the coming weeks and months, and all new domains will have OpenSRS email set up for them. The only thing it is really missing, IMO, is a way to push email notifications to mobile clients. 

If anyone has questions I can do my best to answer, especially as I add more domains and get more used to the system.

Edited by dynambee
Wording clarifications.

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On 9/20/2019 at 5:34 PM, shoptechmedia said:

I am looking to see how it work out for you guys.. we are developing a mail system for our clients thirtybees webshops.. because mailing system has been one of the challenge for them too..

They offer whitelabel email hosting, you can use your own domain and logo/branding for webmail. You have to buy an SSL cert through OpenSRS though so that's about a hundred bucks a year. Since I'm not reselling email I don't care what the webmail domain is and just use the standard OpenSRS domain to access webmail.

Considering the amount of work necessary to properly run a mail server (and having many clients rely on that server for their business) I would feel a lot more comfortable reselling something like OpenSRS than building a server from scratch and selling that to people. Unless your labor costs are insanely cheap or you're selling many 100s of email accounts it is almost certainly going to be cheaper to use OpenSRS, too.

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In the past on other projects Ive used sendgrid API, but it thirtybees doesnt seem to be able to connect to it (or mailjet)

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4 minutes ago, Mark said:

In the past on other projects Ive used sendgrid API, but it thirtybees doesnt seem to be able to connect to it (or mailjet)

I'm using postmark to send order notifications, tracking info, etc. They have an API which at one point I was able to get working but eventually I gave up as I was having random problems. They also offer SMTP servers which aren't quite as fast as using their API but it's "good enough" for my needs right now. (I signed up for postmark before they changed their pricing so I have no monthly minimum costs. Their monthly minimums are super reasonable, IMO, but not having one at all is still better.)

It would be great if support for these sorts of mail sending APIs was integrated directly into TB as an option to use instead of SMTP.

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Posted (edited)

Yeah I should clarify that I cant connect to sendgrid or mailjet via TB SMTP relay either. At the moment Im stuck using PHP sending which is completely unworkeable in terms of it actually arriving, so Im in a black hole right now.

Edited by Mark

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2 minutes ago, Mark said:

Yeah I should clarify that I cant connect to sendgrid or mailjet via TB SMTP relay either. At the moment Im stuck using PHP sending which is completely unworkeable in terms of it actually arriving, so Im in a black hole right now.

Whoa. What is stopping you from using the SMTP setup? I have been able to use it with Google Apps (now called G Suite), my previous self-hosted email system, postmark, and (I think?) Open SRS mail as well. It does seem to work okay in a good number of situations, it's just that SMTP is a slow protocol not designed for quick transfer.

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It still sends via smtp using PHP mailer and therefore that is working fine from a TB point of view but of course ends up in spam etc, so I'd prefer to be using a mail sending service.

Despite entering valid credentials and trying a range of port options, it wont connect to either Sendgrid or MailJet, who send back the same fail responses as each other, indicating the problem might well be at my end with TB code, or something on my server I haven't needed to do so far on other projects.

Surely others must have this problem also, as I very much doubt anyone is using PHP mailer.

 

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If you create some temporary credentials and send them to me through the PM system I can test on my server to see if I can connect and send a test message. At least then you will know if it is a server issue or a more general TB issue.

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