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I'm coming from a background of paying a hosting company X amount per month for a server. This server comes with IIS, WebsitePanel and Smartermail all bundled together. When I create a new domain using WebsitePanel it automatically creates my email account. All I then need to do is configure my DNS to point to the server.

I've decided that it is more cost efficient to move to AWS / Azure.

Has anyone come from a similar background and moved onto a cloud system? I'd be interested to know what you did regarding emails. So far, these are the suggestions I've seen:

  • Use Google Apps for each domain
  • Use something like Elastic Email to sent out emails
  • Launch a new instance and host an email server on that

The first option seems like quite a lot of manual configuration, the second one works good with outgoing emails but what about receiving? Option 3 would make it less cost effective.

What is your experience?

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I use SendGrid.com with Azure. There is an API, but the easiest way is to just use their SMTP server. Pricing is very reasonable, a couple of dollars for thousands of emails per month.

I previously used Google Apps but there are limitations, like 1000 emails per days, which could be a problem if you have to send in bulk.

Regarding receiving emails, I use Google Apps for that. Anyone that replies to a system email will be sent to my Google Apps domain. Or more often, every email sent via Sendgrid will have a reply-to set by the application user (this is a SAAS app) where the email is sent to.

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