Sending email and third-party SMTP
At Performance Foundry, we believe your web server should do just that: serve websites! That's why our servers don't host any kind of email.
Two types of email
We can think of email in two ways: there's the everyday email that you send and receive from your inbox. Then there is outbound mail which is sent from a service. Password resets, comment notifications, sales receipts are all examples of outbound email. And your site needs to send them!
For everyday email, we recommend using a third-party email provider (like GSuite) for sending and receiving emails. We don't want to run this kind of system on a web server: it's bad for performance and worse for security.
For outbound email, we use a third-party SMTP provider (SMTP stands for Simple Mail Transfer Protocol). Our servers send the request to email to the SMTP provider, and they handle sending, spam protection and any bounces. (If spam is being sent from your site, we'll be notified - that's part of our malware protection system.)
Why do we use a third-party SMTP provider?
If we sent all the email directly from the server, we'd run into issues with the IP addresses. By using a third-party, we share the emails around various IPs, reducing the risk of any being blacklisted.
Our provider also kills spam emails before they are sent. This means that your site won't get pinged for being the cause of sending spam -- and our team will be able to investigate and solve the problem.
Sending email via a web server is hugely inefficient. By using a specialist provider, we have more resources available to serve your website.
- Better deliverability
- Fewer spammed emails
- Fewer server resources used
What SMTP system do we use?
The system we use at Performance Foundry is called MailChannels. This runs automatically in the background of your site. No plugins or special configuration is needed at the WordPress level.
If you manage your own DNS, make sure to add the following SPF records: https://mailchannels.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/200262610-SPF-Records-Configuration-for-MailChannels-Cloud -- If like the majority of clients, Performance Foundry manages your domain or DNS, we will arrange this for you.
This is a paid service?!
Performance Foundry manages SMTP on your behalf unless you have special needs, such as deliverability tracking or very high email volumes. As always, we'll work with you to find the best solution as you grow.
If you would like to take more control over your email settings, to get email deliverability reports, or have very high volume there are other services available. Each of these can be installed with a plugin, and that will over-ride our default provider.
- SendGrid (https://sendgrid.com/) -- Most recommended
- AWS SES (https://aws.amazon.com/) -- Cheapest, but technical to manage
- SparkPost (https://www.sparkpost.com)
- MailGun (https://www.mailgun.com/)
- Mandrill (part of paid MailChimp) (http://mandrill.com/pricing/)
- MailJet (https://www.mailjet.com/pricing/)
What's the SparkPost plugin?
Until December 2018, Performance Foundry used a provider called SparkPost. This was a plugin-based solution to SMTP, and we eventually grew away from it. All copies of the SparkPost plugin should be removed; if you do see it, please let Support know.