Noob alert. I've been reading about the big deal that sending massive campaigns is, in terms of not getting banned, warming up IP's and so on.

The thing is that I have a site that deals with a few transactional e-mails, very low volume, so I'm using PHPMailer from my own server, never had a problem that I know of.

But then, when doing newsletters (to 5000 subscribers) I've been using MailChimp, basically because I wanted to avoid the html/css mess that e-mails are. Since their pricing is no good for our usage, I've been looking other options like MailGun, which also deals with transactional e-mails.

So I'm wondering, how can I know when I should consider stop using my own server and paying for a professional service if ever? What it really depends on? Is there a number or subscribers or any other tangible metric? It all seems very eerie.

Now that I've been setting up MailGun for transactional e-mails (so I can easily track opens, clicks and so on) I've been wondering those questions (i.e. "why am I coding to use an external API instead of this simple and seemingly effective PHP class")

The question goes to both newsletter campaigns (massive sendings at once) and transactional e-mails.

Thank you.

2 Answers 2


The key really to ensuring your mail server does not get blacklisted for spamming is to make sure that you only send emails to people who want them and have asked for them, and if you include a working unsubscribe link people can leave your mailing list without any issues, since the main reasons servers get blacklisted are for high numbers of unwanted email messages and unsubscribe links that don't work properly.

In answer to your question the best time to stop using your own server and pay for a professional service is probably when one or more of the following are true:

  • the server is also used for your companies corporate email accounts and so if blacklisted would have a detrimental impact on your day-to-day business communications;

  • the bandwidth usage required to send all the messages impacts on your business;

  • your server seems to frequently get blacklisted and you wish another company to manage the process (including the time and cost) of getting unblacklisted and to at any one time always have a pool of good IP addresses from which they can send emails to maintain a working service for you;

  • your server fails to respond to its other core purposes while sending out email campaigns, for example if it is also responsible for your website or webmail hosting;

  • the features of an external service are worth the cost (such as WYSIWYG editors, templating, HTML and Plain Text emailing, reporting tools etc.);

  • the cost of outsourcing works out to be cheaper than the costs involved in running your own server;

  • you worry about the security of your server and do not have the expertise to ensure it is kept backed-up, software and anti-virus kept up-to-date, and you are not sure if you would even know if the email contact lists are sufficiently protected from hackers, and therefore the security and privacy features of an external service provide peace-of-mind;

  • the frequency of mail-outs is such that your server has not finished sending out the first email campaign when it must already begin the next.

Obviously there could be many more reasons but perhaps this covers the more prominent. If keeping costs low is the most important priority then paying for a professional service may never help you toward this objective.

  • Thank you very much! In my particular case I have very low unsubs, it's a legitimate opt-in mailing list. So I'd still decide to use a paid service because I don't know how to really detect and fix load problems + the easiness of reporting tools. So far I'm using sendinblue.com for mass mailing and I'm starting to learn MailGun for the transactional e-mail, both very cheap. Thanks again! Nov 6, 2014 at 6:16

a very good read about what it takes to send email successfully - https://blog.codinghorror.com/so-youd-like-to-send-some-email-through-code/

  • Indeed, and by a notable community member too...but we generally ask users to summarize the contents of resources instead of just providing a link (aka., a "link-only answer"), so that if it becomes unavailable in the future, the answer will still be helpful. Can you summarize some of the important parts of that?
    – dan
    Jun 2, 2016 at 8:07

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