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What does it take to host a listserv?

Posted on 2006-05-18
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I know how to subcribe and participate in a listserv, and that's it. A client is asking about hosting a listserv from their network and I would like to help them decide if it's feasible or not. They have a web domain and Earthlink hosts that. They have Cable internet with 256 upload capacity. Even without knowing what is required, I'm inclined to think with their small network and IT budget, it will probably be more practical to pay someone else to host it. I'm also concerned about the potential traffic load at the WAN port.

Is this a service that is frequently farmed out like web and e-mail domain hosting?

What hardware, software and bandwidth is required to to host a listserv? I realize that the potential subscriber base affects the requirements. I'm guessing maybe 1,000 subscribers in the first few months.

Thanks for any helpful info,
Bill

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Question by:westone
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scrathcyboy earned 700 total points
ID: 16715089
Check out these they say it pretty well --
http://www.lsoft.com/products/listserv_hardware.asp
http://www.aapt.org/aboutaapt/listserv.cfm
http://www.enmu.edu/services/technology/faculty/listserv.shtml

This is generally something that University web servers use to manage their 1000s of email clients.  I see no reason why a corporate client would want to get into this.  They did a search and got the wrong results????
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by:nprignano
nprignano earned 700 total points
ID: 16715181
>>I'm guessing maybe 1,000 subscribers in the first few months.

I would say there is a place for a listserv in this network.  I will assume you would want this to be publicly available as well - if so you will need public IP and decent firewall at minimum.  Bandwidth will depend on the number of users and software you select, but should not be an issue for 1000+ users on decent connection (T1 and above).  Server hardware will depend on the software you go with.

Rather than using a hosted solution, you could run a listserv off your own server. Doing so requires access to a server, listserv software, and a little more computer knowledge than you would need for a hosted group (since you will have to install the software and configure the server and software). While some listserv software is free, other packages cost money.  The most popular listserv packages include Listserv from Lsoft - link given above, Majordomo, ProcMail, and Listproc.

here are some more resources for software (mostly UNIX based):
http://www.procmail.org/
http://www.greatcircle.com/majordomo/
http://www.listproc.net/index.html


nprignano
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by:jar3817
jar3817 earned 600 total points
ID: 16717519
A cable connection is probably not the best choice for running a big email operation. Many mail server will reject mail coming from a cable connection. I personally use a dns blacklist of just dialup/dsl/cable ips, and I know many other people that do too. You could forward all the mail to your ISPs server to relay, but sending email to 1000s of addresses will raise a red flag and they'll probably cut you off. You might want to think about having this operation hosted somewhere.  
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by:westone
ID: 16717698
Okay, jar3817, from what you say then I take it that the listserv is a seperate function from the mail server. And you are right, I would not expect to be able to send thousands of e-mails through our ISP's mail server without some issues. We would need to run our own mail server. Using up our bandwidth is my main concern.
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