Server Fault is a question and answer site for system and network administrators. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top


I'm trying to understand the safest way to use SMTP. I'm considering purchasing a second virtual server mainly for email sending, on which I will set up PHPlist (a free open-source mailing program), so we have the freedom to send unlimited newsletters (...well, 10,000 per day at least, which requires a VPS rather than shared hosting).

Here's my current setup with a paid mass-mailing software: I have a website - let's call it I send newsletters with the From / Reply To address as, which isn't being hosting by me but I have access to the email account.

Can I more or less safely set this up with an SMTP server on a VPS? i.e. send messages using as the visible address, but having it all go through my VPS SMTP? I cannot authenticate it, right? Is this too risky a practice? Is my only hope to use an address with a domain on the VPS, i.e.

I already have a Reverse DNS record for the domain hosted on my current VPS. I also see other suggestions, like SenderID and DKIM. But with all these things combined, will this still work? I don't want to get blacklisted, but the good thing is this is a somewhat private list, and users opt-in to subscribe. So it's a self-made audience.

(If it makes you feel better, this is related to a non-profit activity, not some marketing's for a good cause, I assure you!)

share|improve this question
Ok, here's a follow-up thought: Since I want to preserve to the utmost -- it must be absolutely free of risk of (accidental) blacklisting, if I created a new domain just for sending emails out in bulk....and let's say, worse-case scenario, I get blacklisted....would this negative report affect all domains on the VPS? Or just the one sending the bulk mail? I obviously don't plan on any negative reports, but I am trying to understand all the risks here. Thanks! – Andy M Jan 13 '11 at 4:34

In addition to SenderID and DKIM, you should be marked as authorized to send mail for via SPF. Even with all of these things, you are probably going to run in to trouble sooner rather than later. Sending bulk mail is an extremely tricky business.

I gave a presentation a few months ago that will help you out:

share|improve this answer
Thank you very much, sir! Your presentation seems quite helpful, especially for novices like myself. Much appreciated. – Andy M Jan 13 '11 at 3:41
@blueben, p.s. link isn't working at the moment - redirects to acetate-dreams.comindex.php/2010/10/19/delivering-the-mail – David d C e Freitas Nov 10 '11 at 13:02

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.