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Currently we ran into some issues with our mail server setup. I'm preparing a list of actions that we should enforce and use in order to maintain a proper email solution within our company.

We have around 80 Exchange users, and send mass emails out almost on a monthly bases to 20,000 + customers each time.

The checklist I currently have:

  1. Mcafee Mxlogic 'cloud' anti-spam functionality for incoming message.
  2. Antivirus on each computer in company
  3. Antivirus on Exchange and DNS servers
  4. Setup SPF record
  5. Setup DKIM
  6. Setup domainkey
  7. Setup senderID
  8. Submit SPF to Microsoft, Yahoo, etc. for 'whitelist' purposes.
  9. Configure size limits for messages in Exchange to safe numbers
  10. I have 2 outside IPs for my email server, in case one gets blacklisted, switch to the backup.
  11. My Internet site rests on a different ip than the mail server
  12. All mass emails for company sent through 3rd party company (listtrak.com)
  13. Setup domain alias, media, enews, and bounce for the 3rd party mass mail software.
  14. Verify the setup using check-auth@verifier.port25.com
  15. Configure group policy and our opendns.org account to prevent unwanted actions and website viewing

Mass emails:

  1. Schedule them to send different amounts at different times (1,000 at 10am, 1,000 at 4pm, 1,000 10am next day)..
  2. Setup user preferences, decide what they want to receive ect. ( there interests)
  3. Send a more steady flow of email, maybe 100 a week with top new products instead of 20,000k every other month..

If anyone has suggestions or additions/subtractions to this checklist they are greatly appreciated.

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Additions:

  • Configure rDNS for all sending server's IP address(es) (Not needed inbound servers.) port25 will catch this.
  • Configure subdomain for outside mailers to use, or have them use their addresses.
  • Match hosts DNS to servers name used for HELO/EHLO message. Switch name if switching IPs.
  • Setup mechanism for clearing invalid addresses off mass mailing list.
  • Register your server with dnswl.org.

I did a blog posting on setting up an email server. Other than DNS, I think you have done a good job of covering everything there and more. Legitimate bulk mailers tend to do a poor job of configuring their servers. I don't know why as it is their business.

  • Thanks, yeah we pay a mass emailing company 100+ dollars monthly to prevent our current situation.. and it didn't work out. – Jeff Jan 4 '11 at 17:53
  • you said configure subdomain for outside mailers to use, or have them use their addresses. do you mean for the mass email..? – Jeff Jan 4 '11 at 17:54
  • @Jeff Yes use a subdomain for outside mailers. From address should be in this subdomain or the mailer. Follow your other steps for the subdomain also. Among other things, this helps process bounce messages for invalid addresses. The blog is somewhat targeted at non-admin users (marketers included). It would be nice if more of them took the efforts you are. Check the RFCs including the spam reduction RFC for more information. Not always the most accessible documents. – BillThor Jan 5 '11 at 3:27
  • @BillThor Thanks. I have no experience with this and it is being pushed in my direction - so im trying to make sure i cover as much as i can. just to make sure i understand, you mean when the mass goes out instead of going from mass@ourdomain.com, it comes from mass@email.ourdomain.com correct? Thanks again – Jeff Jan 5 '11 at 14:08
  • Yes, that will make it easier to setup SPF as only mailer.ourdomain.com needs to be allowed from your mass mailer. You may want to match the subdomain to the mass mailer. This will allow you to use multiple mailers. The MX for the subdomain will likely be your MX which will need to handle the mail appropriately. It will need a postmaster address that works. Often mail is sent from noreply@... which gets delivered to the bit bucket. You may want to look at my updated email policy as well as the other page. – BillThor Jan 6 '11 at 3:24

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