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My web site is supposed to send email to customers and its hosted on a VPS. Should I use local SMTP or is it better to use a third party SMTP provider like Google App Engine?

What are the disadvantages and advantages for each method (Spam, reliability and so on...)

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migrated from May 19 '11 at 18:00

This question came from our site for professional and enthusiast programmers.

AppEngine does not have SMTP services. You might mean Google Apps? – Chris Farmiloe May 18 '11 at 18:08
i followed this… – user437631 May 18 '11 at 18:09
So were you thinking of sending a request from your VPS -> AppEngine -> send mail? – Chris Farmiloe May 18 '11 at 18:13
yes. or use my own SMTP. – user437631 May 18 '11 at 18:16
Would you really want to manage your own SMTP server? Getting email into inboxes is not a science, there's a lot of gobbledegook that third-party SMTP providers handle so you don't have to. – JonLim May 20 '11 at 15:45

Unless the IP your VPS is sitting on has been blacklisted from a previous user, or your ISP is just plain evil, you should be fine sending out emails from a local SMTP server.

For maximum deliverability you will want to look at:

  • Ensuring you have setup your SMTP server NOT to rely mail, and is safely behind a firewall. (this is a surefire way to get blacklisted within days)
  • Ensure you have reverse-DNS setup for your VPS and that the host name your SMTP server is using matches your domain
  • Adding SPF records for your domain.
  • Checkout DKIM if possible.

Your AppEngine approach seems convoluted, if you wanted to use a third party system something like SendGrid would be a better fit.

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great answer! do i have any way to know that i'm blacklisted? if i'm on vps aren't i'm automaticly behind FW?why reverse DNS setup and how do i do that? – user437631 May 18 '11 at 18:33
Your VPS company (or whoever you use for DNS) will probably have some way of setting up reverse-DNS for your mail-server. It's needed as some servers will check that you are not just making up a domain/mailserver to send mail from. – Chris Farmiloe May 18 '11 at 18:41
Firewall will depend on how you setup your VPS. Who do you use? – Chris Farmiloe May 18 '11 at 18:41
i'm looking right now for a VPS provider in the US.i'm thinking of accuwebhosting. – user437631 May 18 '11 at 20:29
you can see your blacklist status at – gravyface May 19 '11 at 18:32

If you have less then 500 mails/day I would use Google apps (free!), this way you know 100% that all is working fine. Plus, no need to setup your own mail server.

For paid google apps, the limit is 2000 mails/day.

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