Configure SMTP server for marketing emails


Configure Windows SMTP sever for bulk email sending.

Following steps may help when you considering setting up on premise Windows SMTP server for sending newsletter and other email communications to external parties.

  1. Register a new domain

    Register a new domain and host the DNS with ISP or service provider that allows you to manage DNS settings.

  2. User clean public public IP (check for black list database)
  3. rDNS (PTR record)
    nslookup [public ip address of smtp server]
  4. Add SPF record
  5. Send email smaller bath (batch by batch; <30 emails)
  6. Include SPF record for primary domain (optional)
  7. DKIM – (DomainKeys Identified Mail) – optional
  8. Configure SMTP server accordingly
  9. Ensure firewall doesn’t block outgoing and incoming for port 25.
  10. Advise receipts to add your domain to Safe Sender list
  11. Avoid SPAM words in email content

Details steps:

  1. Register a new domain

Register a new domain and host the DNS with ISP or service provider who allows you to manage DNS settings.

  1. Use clean public aka external IP

    Check following url to see whether your domain or IP is black listed
    http://www.mxtoolbox.com/blacklists.aspx
    http://www.dnswl.org/s

  2. Create rDNS (PTR) record by your ISP
    Checks for the rDNS record:
    Enter from command prompt
    nslookup
    [public ip address of smtp server]
    Example:
    nslookup
    203.13.4.5
    mail.yourdomain.com
  3. Add SPF record
    Simple example of spf record (it can be in many forms)
    v=spf1 mx a a:mail.yourdomain.com ip4:203.12.22.23 ~allSPF record lookup
    http://www.kitterman.com/spf/validate.html?
    http://www.microsoft.com/mscorp/safety/content/technologies/senderid/wizard/
  4. Send email smaller bath (batch by batch) – this prevents emails arrive in “Junk / Spam” folder or being blocked.

Email interval (20-30 email on each attempt).

  1. Include SPF record for primary domain (optional)

    this is relevant when email need to send from your other (primary) domain as From: address.
    Example:
    yourprimarydomain.com “v=spf1 a mx ip4: 203.12.22.23 include:yournewsmtpdomain.com ~all”

  2. DKIM – (DomainKeys Identified Mail) – optional
    About DKIM:
    http://www.dkim.org/
    Purchase:
    http://www.emailarchitect.net/domainkeys/
    DKIM Test:
    http://www.appmaildev.com/en/dkim
  3. Configure SMTP server accordinglyPlease ensure you are only relying limited internal IPs. Not to whole world.

    Limit message size and limit number of connection per connections setting are must. As this will prevent sending overlay excessive emails at one time.

    Leave following in Default settings:

    Ensure “Limit number of connections per domain” is less than < 30 as an ideal number but if you could control this from email sending application for not to send more than 30 emails in a minute then you could increase it to maximum number. eg. 300 (just in case occasionally needs to send large emails to internal users)

    Precaution:
    For external recipients; increasing value to 200 – 300 may solve large emails delivery issue with ease (eg. 300 emails to Gmail address in one time) but it will likely cause email to go into “Spam” folder.

    Increase maximum hop count will increase the chance to email delivery for furthest remote mail servers. If any remote email server beyond the specified hop counts value, NDR will be generated. Please check your fully qualified domain (FQDN) name is resolvable by clicking Check DNS button. Having Smart host may improve your email delivery when local smtp server is unreachable (you could put your ISP’s smtp server address here if they allow relay or any other smtp server that allow relay).

  4. Firewall configuration
    Ensure firewall doesn’t block outgoing and incoming for port 25.
    Allow in/out TCP/25.
    Often foreign email servers check incoming response from email sever; this check is done for verify for proper email server or just email blast (out-blast) server.
    Checks:
    c:\> telnet mail.yourdomain.com 25
  5. Add domain name to Safe Sender list
    Advise receipts to add your domain to Safe Sender list
    http://www.campaignmonitor.com/guides/whitelisting/
    http://help.verticalresponse.com/how-to/tutorial/add_our_address_to_your_safe_sender_list/
  6. Avoid SPAM words in email content

Words and Phrases that Trigger Some Spam Filters
http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/30684/The-Ultimate-List-of-Email-SPAM-Trigger-Words.aspx

http://webmarketingtoday.com/articles/spamfilter_phrases/

Useful links:

Gmail why messages are marked as SPAM
https://support.google.com/mail/answer/1366858?hl=en&ctx=mail&expand=5

Enhance email delivery
http://download.microsoft.com/download/e/3/3/e3397e7c-17a6-497d-9693-78f80be272fb/enhance_deliver.pdf

Blacklist/Whitelist Resources

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About Robiul

Robiul has 15 years of continuous successful career experience in ICT with extensive background in System Engineering, IT infrastructure design, operations and service delivery, managing IT projects / MIS functions for local and multi-national companies with in-depth knowledge of multiple operating systems as well as construct / manage small to medium size Data Center. Proven ability to design and implement medium to semi-large scale LAN/WAN/WLAN and system infrastructures. Academic qualification: Master of Science in Information Systems. Professional certifications are: MCSE, CCNA, ITIL and FoundStone Security Professional, VCP, NetAPP, CISSP etc.
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