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I have recently noted a few clients complaining that emails from one of my sites always go into their spam folder.

I don't know enough about email to start trying to work out even what level in my stack this is happening at - so first I want to collect as much information as possible and write up a test plan for emails coming out of my system.

I was thinking about setting up accounts at the following places:

  • gmail
  • hotmail
  • ymail
  • same domain as the website
  • custom domain on same server as website
  • custom domain on another server

Do you think this is a complete enough list?

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The first thing I'd do is collect all the error reports and see if there's a common factor.

Are all the e-mails from one or two domains (for example). If it then you can narrow down your search. I would suspect that the "problem" lies in a combination of the type of e-mails you are sending and the particular e-mail provider:

  • Are your e-mails plain text or HTML?
  • Do you have a lot of links and not much text?
  • Are there images in the e-mail?
  • Have you set up proper headers etc on the e-mails?
  • etc.

In the meantime you can put a disclaimer on your site asking people to whitelist your e-mail address. This is fairly common practice and people are used to it.

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