Third Party Email Services

Third Party Email Services

A problem users of Dada Mail have - especially once their list has grown considerably, is that the mail services provided by their web host are lacking. Users with shared web hosting accounts will find that the mail server provided is also shared, which leads to problems if this mail server gets added to a realtime block list.

A tool I use all the time to test if my client's own mail servers are blocked is this one:

If a mail server is added to a RBL, it's possible mail delivery will be impacted, as incoming mail servers will check these lists, before accepting delivery of a message.

Being blocked can happen for a variety of reasons - none of which may actually be because of any action of your own. In many instances, a mail server can be added to a RBL when a compromised web app (like, Wordpress) is used to send out unsolicited messages. Since the mail server is shared by many other users, it affects everyone using the mail server. The bottom line is mail doesn't get delivered when using this mail server at a respectable deliverability rate. What to do.

Some people will try to use the SMTP server that's available on their web host, thinking that sending a message, perhaps using SMTP authentication, will get around the problem of a shared webserver. Most of the time, this won't make a difference, as the SMTP server will, in the end, send messages out using the same mail server as the default (for Dada Mail) sendmail command does. SMTP in this scenario makes no difference - it's just a more complicated, slower, and more error-prone way of doing what you were already doing.

At this point, some people opt to go for a virtual private server, or dedicated server, moving their entire website infrastructure over. Be careful with a virtual private server (do your research) - the mail server itself may still be shared! even if you are web hosting is on a dedicared IP. A dedicated server, where the mail server is running on this same phyiscal/virtual box may work well, but then you're burdened with the additional task of administrating the mail server. It usually not something you want to deal with.

A solution that may work the best is to get an account with a third party email sending service. This will add some cost to your mailings, but it probably is worth it, if deliverability rates climb dramatically.

The following is a short list of such services:

Amazon SES

Of all the services available, this is the one that I have the most experience with - in fact, it's what we use on itself. We use it, we love it, Dada Mail has great support for it, and we want you to use it to. We have separate docs that goes through more information on Amazon SES, how to set it up in Dada Mail and some things you should read up on, so you can make sure SES is right for you:

Amazon SES is also something that we offer as an option on our own installation services:



All and all, Amazon SES is severely lacking in being simple to set up. The Amazon AWS spread of tools and services is incredible, and if you just want to use Amazon SES, you need to wade through everything else.

We do provide setup of Amazon SES as part of our installation services of Dada Mail - see the installation request form for exact pricing. It's a one-time setup fee, and then the only recurring charge will be from Amazon AWS for messages you send:

Starting mail sending limits. For reasons that are lost on me personally, you can only start sending with the service at a rate of 10,000 messages/day. This limit can be raised, but only after the SES system sees that you are using the service up to its limit. Some of my clients now how daily quotes of 500,000 messages and above, but it won't be something you will have right off the bat.



Mailgun is another third party email sending service. Since v11.22.0, Dada Mail does have experimental support for its API for mail sending. Only sending is supported, so additional features like tracking bounces/complaints aren't done from within Dada Mail, although these are tracked by Mailgun, and addresses that continually bounce (for example) will be suppressed from being sent to.

To configure Dada Mail to use the Mailgun API, you'll want to fill in the region, API Key, and Domain in Dada Mail's global configuration via the included Dada Mail installer:

Then select "Mailgun" as your sending method for each list in the control panel under: Sending: Options.

Mailgun also has a SMTP gateway if you want to try Mailgun with any version of the app. Just make sure port port 25, 2525, 587, or 465 are open to the outside world, or you won't be able to connect.





Sendgrid is another third party email sending service. You will want to use their SMTP gateway, as Dada Mail does not have API support. Dada Mail most likely won't ever have API support, until a time where they support sending raw MIME messages through the API - I wouldn't hold your breath. Here's their docs on using the SMTP gateway:

Like Mailgun, you'll want to make sure that port 25, 2525, 587, or 465 is open for outgoing connections to use the service.

Other Services We do not have as much knowledge of these services:



We've written up a small intro on SparkPost on our blog, since then the product seems to have gone through a name change :

Getting Started with SparkPost Email Delivery Service and Dada Mail

Elastic Email

Socket Labs


Dada Mail Project