This may be a horribly obvious question, but I'm learning and just need someone to confirm it for me.

I putting together a private social network that needs to email their members (through the social network software, Elgg) regularly. I'm hosting it on a shared HostGator plan (because they won't receive much traffic) and they'll email 10-1000 emails a few times a week. HostGator restricts you to 500 per hour. I'm also worried about deliverability.

I've been searching up and down about how to throttle the emails so it will all send reliably... but then I came across the idea of an outside SMTP relay service.

Would using an SMTP service resolve this issue?

  • This 200 email a day plan (Free) will probably work for you for a long time. Just instead of sending 1000 emails at once, try to schedule your emails differently. mailgun.net/signup?plan=free
    – Frank
    Nov 13, 2012 at 8:57

2 Answers 2


An smpt relay service will solve the issue if either hostgator allows SMTP traffic out to 3rd party relays (this is usually done a different port than smtp 25 which they probably monitor), or if the relay service supports data coming in from a different port.

3 Good choices for transactional email are: 1. MailGun - Amazing API 2. SendGrid - The favorite for spammers 3. Mandrill -

all 3 above also have an api. This lets your php or asp or whatever app send email using port 80. If you have a few hours you can update your app to use the api instead of SMTP mail functions. They add other features such as bounce / reputation / read tracking.

My favorite of the 3 is again mailgun. They have amazing support and are not part of rackspace. The best part of mailgun is that it can work with a postfix mail server. So if you ever get super huge, you can have your mail server use mailgun as its smtp relay and take advantage of all the reputation / read tracking features in mailgun. Mailgun will post this data instantly back to your webapp, so you can reaact to data in real time!

  • Thanks! I contacted HostGator and all they said I had to do was change the MX records to the SMTP relay that I want to use.
    – Josh S.
    Nov 14, 2012 at 17:22

I use Zoho email for my SMTP email. They provide 3 free pop accounts. I did this because I am running my own server on ec2 and decided to use separate servers for email and not have to worry about managing email servers.

Google Apps is another good options. I'm not familiar with either Google's or Zoho's TOS on rate limits.

  • Google apps free does not allow bulk sending of email. They will throttle you like crazy.
    – Frank
    Nov 13, 2012 at 8:56

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