Setting up own SMTP server

Hi All.

We have a client who is battling with their ISP's SMTP daily email limit and we have suggested they set-up their own SMTP server (Theres the problem).

Our client currently has around 825 customers and due to the volatility of their raw materials they regularly notify their customers of price changes - this is essential to their ordering process.

The problem they are facing is that their ISP only allows around 300 emails per day to be sent through their smarthost and normally this is not an issue as these clients can be emailled over 2 or 3 days but this is their busiest last 1/4 of the year and as such raw marterial prices can change daily sometimes which means by the time the customer receives their updated price its out of date and they struggle to send more as they hit their daily limit.

I have suggested they set-up their own SMTP server in-house and use this for sending their email however I have one issue and two questions.

Firstly the Issue: Can anyone please advise me how to set this up - preferably with Server 2008R2 or Windows 7.

The Questions: -
Will this allow our client to send more emails each day without being hit by their ISP's daily limit of 300

If it does - how does this work - does the email still go out on port 25.

Thanks and Regards
Andy
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AndyKeenAsked:
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XGISCommented:
Hello AndyKeen,

Ans 1: Server 2008R2 not W7
Answ 2: Internal is unlimited really, as many as the server and software can handle. But keep the limit at 10Mb per mail unless staff are required to transmit files that are larger.  FTP Server such as FileZilla is easy to manage and setup for files greater than this.
Answ 3: Yes you can use port 25.

My question would be do you have an email client in mind that can handle that many users and wont be a burden to manage.  Alternatively find a new ISP that is willing to handle more emails.  Email server responsibility can be significant if not managed properly.  Think about spam, viruses etc.  Your email client and server MUST at least protect against Viruses like cryptolocker that could unleash fury on your network if not contained in time..
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dipopoCommented:
I think they will still hit a limit with that ISP as their records will still be handled by the same provider, who by the way is throttling their send capacity to 300 emails.

I would in my opinion seek another ISP/or upgrade to a beefier package and then configure an internal SMTP server for the domain.

1. On a windows server - HMailServer is free for windows and easy to set-up.
Although I'd prefer Postfix on a Centos 6.x OS using webmin.

2. You will still utilize port 25, please make sure you have not set-up as an open relay [This is a huge security flaw and will lead to you being blacklisted]

http://www.hmailserver.com/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_mail_relay
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dipopoCommented:
Test for open relays with this tool.

http://mxtoolbox.com/diagnostic.aspx
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AndyKeenAuthor Commented:
Thank you All.

I may have the wrong end of the stick here - but having spoken to the ISP a short while ago where we register all our domains etc - I have mentioned to them this issue and they have said that our client can get round this if we rent one of their servers and set it up as an SMTP relay.

They say by doing this we can send as many emails as we wish.

so why cant we do this for our clients using their broadband and an inhouse server?
(Virus protection, SMTP protection, open relay issue etc - thats not a problem for us - well used to doing that sort of stuff.)

Thanks All
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Simon Butler (Sembee)ConsultantCommented:
If they are regularly sending out content to the same users, then I would outsource it.
Use one of the volume email providers - there are lots out there. That will allow the customers to control the email addresses, unsubscribe etc, allow you to get reports on the process and as it is "bulk" email, avoid the risk of getting blacklisted.

Simon.
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AndyKeenAuthor Commented:
Hi Sembee2.

Thanks for that.

I have suggested this - but they want more in-house control of these emails and to keep the costs down (but I appreciate they are not that expensive).

These clients are their regularly ordering customers so no issue with spam / blacklisted etc.

There just has to be a way of getting over these stupid greedy ISP putting limits on sending email without spending so much money. I fully appreciate why they do it BTW.

So do you know why can our HOSTING COMPANY can rent us a server and we can set it up this way but we can't do it ourselves?

Thank you
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dipopoCommented:
Ok by the sound of it your isp, sound quite draconian and penny pinching. I would transfer to someone like go daddy for domain hosting and use their mail servers to relay.
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AndyKeenAuthor Commented:
Hi Dipopo

Do godaddy have daily send email limit through their SMTP smart host facilty?

Thank you
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dipopoCommented:
Sure they do, but they allow you to burst. And the trick is to split outgoing emails under specific headers into their own mailbox [This is raw materials right, group them i.e metals ,petroleum etc] like this each mailbox will not exceed the 250 emails per day.

So no need to even buy extra packs of 50.

Your email account includes 250 SMTP relays per mailbox, per day. Each address listed in the CC and BCC fields count against your daily limit. One relay consists of an email message sent to one address using the SMTP service. Therefore, you can send up to 250 messages per day, per mailbox. Your SMTP relay limit resets once each day, approximately every 24 hours.

If you need more than 250 relays for your mailbox, you can purchase additional relay packs (in packs of 50). You can use a maximum of 500 SMTP relays per day, per email account. If you want to use more than 500 relays per day, you can distribute SMTP relays across multiple email accounts.

http://support.godaddy.com/help/article/313/how-many-email-messages-can-i-send-per-day
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AndyKeenAuthor Commented:
Thanks Dipopo.

That sounds like an option but time consuming to set-up and manage

I still like the idea of being able to set-up their own SMTP server so that they dont have this issue.

Is there nothing in house we can set-up to give them this facility - will all email going through an in-house SMTP server go through the ISP's port 25 and count as email?
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dipopoCommented:
Yes, you can set-up your own SMTP server as stated earlier edit, your MX records to point to this server and it should be fine without restrictions.

But you will need to make sure it's secured else blacklist.
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AndyKeenAuthor Commented:
Thanks Dipopo.

We seem to have come full circle - as this is what I thought and originally asked - but I am looking for any direction / instructions to do this.

So just to clarify - if we setup this SMTP server do those emails go straight out to the internet or do they still go through Port 25 to my ISP allowing them to keep tally of how many have been sent etc.

Thanks
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Simon Butler (Sembee)ConsultantCommented:
It very much depends if you are able to send email directly or not? If you cannot, and have to use your ISPs SMTP Server, then you are not gaining anything by using your own server.
If you can, and have a static IP address, can get a PTR and valid hosts names for it, then you could probably do something.

Your hosting company can rent you a server to do the job because there is more bandwidth.

"These clients are their regularly ordering customers so no issue with spam / blacklisted etc."

That doesn't mean anything. All it takes is someone to leave or decide they don't want the emails any more and hit the spam button and you are in to the spam blacklisting, particularly if it is Yahoo or AOL. You can avoid it by setting up feedback loops etc, but you have to do that with every major email provider. Outsource it and you don't.
You should also include unsubscribe information and have an automated way of dealing with the rejects. An outsourced solution will do that for you.
Running an internal bulk email service may seem cheaper up front, but the ongoing costs will make it more expensive (much like Linux).

Simon.
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