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For my upcoming social networking website, I am looking for suggestions on the best way to implement emailing. Here are some of my requirements and constraints:

Requirements:
- Should be able to send emails based on events (new registrations, change password, etc.), promotions (advertisements based on user consent), bulk mails (newsletters), reminders (profile updates), etc. I hope I got the point through.
- Should be able to process faults (incorrect email address, mail-box full, etc)
- User initiated invites (inviting friends to connect)

Constraints:
- As of now I am looking at Godaddy for hosting. Subsequently I shall move to, may be Amazon Cloud. Godaddy seems to be excruciatingly conservative (not bad always) when it comes to the ability to send email.
- My tests on Godaddy so far have been discouraging. There is limit to no. of emails I can send and sometimes if emails carries special characters it throws strange exceptions like there was a virus affected attachment (even though I hadn't attached a thing). The replies from Godaddy support have been equally funny.

My intent is not to portray Godaddy as wrong but I am looking for a work-around that frees me from said constraints. I am looking for a mechanism / service that is either free of very cost effective. I wonder how other sites address this.

Mine is a .Net / Windows based application.

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closed as not constructive by Michael Hampton, John Gardeniers, Ward, Magellan, HopelessN00b Dec 3 '12 at 11:46

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I think most sites address this by not using a host like GoDaddy. –  ceejayoz Jan 21 '10 at 17:31
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Okay. So do other hosting providers provide ability to dispatch unlimited no. of email (no spam of course)? And are they free or do they charge extra for this service? Few pointers would help. –  Kabeer Jan 21 '10 at 17:54
    
It seems to me that if one provider doesn't have the facilities you require then you need to find another provider. It's a case where you need to do some research and has nothing at all to do with system administration. –  John Gardeniers Jan 22 '10 at 8:02
    
You don't specify what kind of hosting you are looking to get from Godaddy. Presumably server hosting? –  dunxd Oct 19 '10 at 14:46
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3 Answers 3

To me, this seems like more of a StackOverflow question, but i'll give you some hopefully useful information anyway.

  • Send plain text emails only, and avoid using any special characters. This will ensure that your host, and the recipients host will block as few emails as possible. Just take a look at the emails the major sites are sending out for their notifications - all plain text.

  • Write an email handling function, probably with overloads too. That way, you can call the same function after you've made sure the data has been written to the DB, and just add or remove data you send to it as necessary.

  • You'll need to write some sort of process/service for monitoring the inbox for any returned emails reporting errors. This will check the message for the specific SMTP code in the body, and either write them to some sort of log table so the user knows if their message went through, or whatever else you want to do with the notification. For a list of SMTP codes: http://www.answersthatwork.com/Download_Area/ATW_Library/Networking/Network__3-SMTP_Server_Status_Codes_and_SMTP_Error_Codes.pdf

  • User initiated events. Use the aforementioned overloaded email functions to send invites after you've saved the data in the database.

I would also determine what you expect your site traffic to be for the first 6 months, how much RAM/CPU/HDD space/DB space you need, double that, and look for hosts that will provide cost effective hosting for the numbers you come up with. This will then give you enough time to gauge your expansion, and negotiate increased capacity if need be.

Unless i completely misunderstood the question...

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Thanks buddy. - Well honestly, the emails I have tested are 'text only' and the special characters I mention are like extra white spaces & characters like -=&%^ etc. That is the reason I am confused. Further, re-sending the same email sometimes helps :| - There is this restriction of 1000 emails on Godaddy which for my application is unrealistic ... need more. - So if I continue to host on Godaddy, I'd like to know if I can (and should) host the email dispatcher elsewhere? And what would be the best place (that has lesser restrictions)? –  Kabeer Jan 21 '10 at 19:05
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Try a combination of these

  1. List maintenance - PHPList
  2. Sending out emails - Secure SMTP Service

    As suggested before, do not send any emails to Unconfirmed addresses. If you do send Unsolicited Bulk Emails, none of the SMTP services (including above) will be helpful.

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GoDaddy's hosting is pretty good for the price but I wouldn't use their email service for anything. Get an account with a specialised email provider -- if your site is successful you'll have to do this anyway.

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Dan, can you name a few specialized email providers? –  Kabeer Feb 5 '10 at 6:54
    
Google Apps has the best deal on the block these days. –  Dan Feb 22 '10 at 7:31
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