Web Design and Development
If you run a website and you plan to send out mass emails, such as newsletters or holiday greetings, you might find yourself frustrated by your web host's restrictions on how many emails you can send. In this article, you'll learn about SMTP sending limits and how to handle your web host's limitations.
When you send email through your web hosting account, you are likely sending mail via your web host's SMTP mail server.1 And when used to send a moderate number of emails, the server will behave as expected. However, if you start sending an increased number of emails or blasts to email marketing lists, you might find that you are getting error messages. Additionally, all intended recipients will not receive mail that you are trying to send.2 What is happening? You have hit your SMTP sending limit.
SMTP sending limits are normal, and most shared web hosts have restrictions on how many SMTP requests or relays that you can make.3 Be sure to consult your web host to find out what restrictions they have.
There are a few reasons why your host will enforce limits on SMTP email. The first, and most important reason, is spam. To limit the amount of potential spam that can be sent by any one user, web hosts put a cap on the total amount of email that can be sent from one web hosting account within a predefined period. The second reason is resources. Depending on how many customers share your server, sending emails to large mailing lists can be a huge strain on the server's resources. In fact, some web hosting companies will allow you to send emails to large lists, but only on off-peak times.
If your limit is too low, there are a few things that you can do.
If your host has limited how many messages can be sent within a predefined period of time, one workaround is to split your email list and send your messages or email blasts over an increased period of time. Depending on your email marketing software, you might find that there is a built-in feature which allows such strategic scheduling. Additionally, some hosts allow looser limitations on off-peak times, such as weekends or late/night and early morning hours.
Finally, if you have multiple hosting accounts, it may be possible to send your mail using multiple SMTP servers.
If your web host has unrealistic restrictions, you can opt to use alternate mail servers at third-party companies. Google, Yahoo, and various other companies enable you to send SMTP mail through their servers. Additionally, you can also set up an SMTP server on your own computer.4
One easy way to remove most of your email marketing headaches is to use a 3rd party solution. Of course, this option can be very expensive depending on the size of your mailing lists and the number of email blasts that you plan to send. You will also find that while third-party email marketing companies may not limit the number of emails that you can send, they do have their own set of requirements. Be sure to consult their terms of service and email marketing policies before signing up.
If your web host has extremely restrictive SMTP sending limits, it might be cost effective for you to simply move to a new web host. Some web hosts, for example, have daily limits. So moving to a web host that has hourly limits might be worth it.5
A dedicated server is another option. Of course, dedicated servers are very expensive and usually require advanced technical knowledge to manage. However, this option will remove most restrictions.
Indeed, SMTP sending limits can be frustrating, but they are in place for a good reason and help to protect all users on a shared server. If it isn't possible for you to work comfortably within a web host's limits, try third-party options and dedicated servers to get full control.