I need some help understanding the nature of this service with relation to incoming emails.

We have adopted SendGrid for ensuring deliverability of our application's emails (automated stuff like confirmation messages, etc.) I've followed their whitelabel wizard to setup our dns.

Since it now seems that all incoming mail to our domain is being routed through sendgrid, I am at a loss for how to ensure our non-virtual users (think secretary at her desk) are going to configure their mail clients to receive their emails as normal, since everything is on the same domain. SendGrid tech support doesn't seem to understand my question.

I setup the dns in BIND to follow their specs - created the subdomain email. they assigned and installed the SPF records etc. SendGrid tech support has advised me to make all the mail clients login to this subdomain (which is CNAMEd to their dns) and use our account login from SendGrid... but how the heck would this identify the user retrieving mail? Thunderbird would just login with our account creds, so nothing specific about the reciepient would be transmitted... I think they are assuming I want to pick up all the application emails, but what I really want to get setup right now is just proper routing behavior.

Am I misunderstanding the process here? Is there really no way we can operatate normal incoming delivery on the same domain that is hooked into sendgrid for outgoing (both for app emails and regular, non-virtual compositions)?

Any guidance at all would be appreciated... whenever I have to wear the sysadmin hat it really mystifies me.

  • Have sendgrid got a support channel you can contact? Feb 17, 2012 at 16:52
  • Attempted this but got pretty countervailing responses. The thing is, SendGrid is definitely intercepting all the domain emails - I've run trace tests in exim on other remote machines and everything is going there. I just cant understand how local mail clients like Thunderbird are supposed to retrieve these messages for their owners. Feb 17, 2012 at 16:58
  • SendGrid isn't "intercepting", you're directing them there, where they're getting essentially blackholed.
    – ceejayoz
    Feb 17, 2012 at 17:27
  • Definitely a misunderstanding - I had assumed the MX entry needed to be changed as well. Thanks for your help. Feb 17, 2012 at 17:54

1 Answer 1


I work at SendGrid.

There seems to be some misunderstanding here. We don't provide any inbound mailboxes. The only inbound mail handling we do is with our Parse API, which would be typically used by developers to execute code based on the contents of an email (such as adding an inline email reply to a support ticket to the ticketing system's database).

You will not be able to retrieve any messages from SendGrid via a client such as Thunderbird, because we don't store any messages and we don't provide mailboxes. Our services are for sending email, and in some cases parsing inbound email.

You can operate inbound mail through a separate service or provider just fine. You just need the MX record for your domain to point to the inbound mail provider.

Hope that helps!

  • Thanks a bunch for the clarification, definitely had things confused. Is it ok for me to use the smtp server just for outgoing in the clients to apply the same ensured delivery for user-composed messages? I got incoming working again by correcting the dns back to our dovecot instance. Feb 17, 2012 at 18:04
  • Well, that satisfies me and the OP :) Feb 17, 2012 at 18:06
  • @DeaconDesperado No problem :) You should be able to use SendGrid for outbound mail from your email client as well, just have to set it up to use our server, e.g. smtp.sendgrid.net on port 587, and then authenticate with your username and password. We currently don't have support for multiple usernames per account, but it is something we are working on, so that might limit the usefulness of this approach at the current time.
    – Brand
    Feb 17, 2012 at 18:11

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