Retrospective #2 – Mailservers are hard

Retrospective #2 – Mailservers are hard

Over the past month, I’ve been trying to set up a mail server for outbound SMTP. In the end, I ended up with going with mailgun.com for my outbound SMTP. These are the reasons why I ended up going with mailgun.com

1 – SPAM, IP and VPS providers

For a personal mail server, using dedicated hardware does not make sense financially. My number one choice was using a VPS provider. Finding a VPS provider for a mailserver provides a couple difficulties on its own:

  1. Clean IPs – some providers has IPs that have been previously blacklisted as they were used to send SPAM. Need to find a provider with clean IPs
  2. TOC – in order for providers to keep their IPs clean, some will not allow mailservers as part of the acceptable use policy

After some searching, I found a provider that met the two criteria; however, this is where the problem is for me.

In order to keep my mailserver up and running, I will need to properly secure the VPS and make sure that the mailserver cannot be exploited to send SPAM.

After reading some online documentation, I found that to properly set up a mailserver is not easy and for a novice like me, it would have been too risky.

2 – Small number of messages

I was only planning to use a mailserver to send Observium notifications. Most likely, the number of messages per month will be less than 100. For such a small number of messages, using a third-party service like Mail Gun makes much more sense.

Where to go from here

I am not giving up on setting up my own mailserver just yet! I need to familiarize myself with mailservers so I can properly secure the instance. Also, once the number of outbound messages goes up, then it would probably make more sense to set up my own mailserver.

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