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To clarify I have an app that notifies users via email when certain actions take place (I am not spamming as the user has opted in to the notifications and can change that option at any time). Because of number of emails that needs to be sent, Gmail, Yahoo, etc will not work. Unless I am mistaken services like MailChimp, Lyris, etc will also not fit this need since every email is sent one at a time and is very specific to the user and action that took place.

What I really want is something that would allow me to be able to call some mail function, give it a recipient, from, message and subject, and not have it be blocked by the email service. This can be a free or paid service. I have server access so I can install something if necessary as well but I don't know much about email services and fear if I do it myself, I'll get blocked by some other player like my VPS host or ISP or something.

For my server setup I am currently running CentOS on Linode.

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

Work with your ISP to determine whether a mail server with the kind of volume you're talking about is in compliance with, or in violation of, their policies. Make sure you are able to accurately describe the volume of mail, and be prepared to demonstrate the 'opt-in' measures you are employing.

Presuming you're in compliance with your ISPs policies, they shouldn't block you. Set up a mail server -- any one will do, pretty much -- configure MX records, and be your own mail host.

You haven't specified your software platform, so it's hard to give good recommendations on what you could use as a server. On Unix, I'd recommend Postfix, Exim, or Sendmail, depending on your needs.

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Thanks I made the suggested edit to the question. Since I am using a VPS, would I get in touch with them to get to their ISP? – jhchen Apr 29 '10 at 22:31
The VPS provider is your ISP, in this case. They will need to comply with their provider's policies as well, and everyone else upstream of them, of course. :) Given that you're using CentOS, I believe sendmail is the default mail server. You should enable that and send mail that way. – Jon Lasser Apr 29 '10 at 23:45
  1. If you want to manage it in-house, get a good server, Implement Postfix and implement suggestions from this Email Server Test. You may also want to sign up with Feedback programs with major service providers including Yahoo!, MSN, etc.

  2. If you want to outsource, consider a SMTP Relay service.

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