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If you would like to send bulk email from an email client or found out transactional emails on your website, you’ve probably encounter the term SMTP. But you would possibly be wondering, what’s SMTP and the way does it concern me?
SMTP is sort of a technical subject and if you’re new the planet of email, are often a troublesome one to urge your head around.
This guide will offer you the SMTP information you would like to manage your emails during a way that best serves your business.
We’ll even be watching how SMTP server functions.
What is SMTP?
SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) is a communication protocol, or set of rules, used to send email from an email client or webmail provider to a recipient’s email server.
In short, SMTP sends email to its destination. You can think of it as a postal worker picking up mail from your home, finding the correct destination route, then delivering it to the recipient mailbox.
Once transferred to the recipient’s server by SMTP, the email is retrieved using POP and IMAP protocols.
How SMTP email works
As mentioned, SMTP primarily refers to the set of rules that email servers use to transfer emails over the internet from one email server to another.
The protocol works like this:
- The sender and recipient of the message are specified
- A request is sent to both the sender and recipient to verify they exist
- The message is transferred from the sender to the recipient
Steps for transferring messages over the internet according to SMTP
As a marketer, you’ll not have an interest within the minute details of how SMTP works in practice. therein case, be happy to leap ahead.
But if you’re curious about the technical side, we’re close to take a more detailed check out the method . First, let’s run through a number of the terminology associated with SMTP.
Acronyms related to SMTP:
- MUA (Mail User Agent) – Email client (e.g. Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook)
- MSA (Mail Submission Agent) – Computer software run on an SMTP server that receives messages from a MUA and checks for any errors before transferring to a MTA.
- MTA (Mail Transfer Agent) – Software that checks recipient domain’s MX record to decide how to continue transferring the message (either to another MTA, or an MDA)
- MX Record (Mail Exchanger Record) – Is a resource record that specifies from which server the recipient MUA for that domain can retrieve the message.
- MDA (Mail Delivery Agent) – Software that stores messages for batch retrieval for MUAs
Ok, now that you’ve got the SMTP vocabulary down, let’s see how it all fits together to create the protocol for transferring electronic messages over the internet.
Here are the 6 main steps that comprise the electronic message data transfer process for SMTP:
- Email is submitted by a MUA to a mail server’s MSA
- The message is transferred to the server’s MTA (the MTA and MSA are usually hosted on the same SMTP server)
- The MTA checks the MX record of the recipient domain and transfers the message to another MTA (this step can occur multiple times until the message is received by the proper receiving server)
- The message is handed off to the MDA, which saves messages in the proper format for retrieval by the receiving MUA
- The receiving MUA requests the message from the MDA (usually with POP3 or IMAP)
- The message is delivered to the receiving MUA‘s inbox
To give you a clearer visual, here’s a graphic that shows the process in action:
What is an SMTP server?
Any server that receives, handles, transfers, or stores electronic messages transferred through SMTP can be considered an SMTP server. There are two types of SMTP server you’ll come across:
- ‘Regular’ SMTP servers for sending everyday personal email. These servers typically belong to email providers like Gmail, Internet Service Providers like AT&T, or web hosting providers like Bluehost. They usually have strict daily sending limits.
- Dedicated SMTP relay servers for sending bulk email and transactional emails. Companies like Sendinblue have dedicated servers that support high-volume sending for their customers.
What is an SMTP Relay?
SMTP Relay refers to the actual SMTP servers through which emails pass before arriving at their destination. But no need to get into the specifics, just think of it as a synonym for SMTP server.
Where is the SMTP server located?
If you’re wondering where to seek out your SMTP server address, it’ll be within the SMTP settings of your email client or webmail provider.
These settings tell the e-mail client or webmail provider where they have to send an email to.
Each SMTP server has its own SMTP email address or server name. for instance , the Gmail SMTP server address is smtp.gmail.com and therefore the Sendinblue SMTP address is smtp.relay.sendinblue.com.
The difference between an email client and a webmail provider
Email clients and webmail providers are two methods of sending, receiving, and storing emails.
An email client is an application installed locally on a computer or mobile device that interacts with an email provider’s server using SMTP. once you found out a email client, you would like to enter your email provider’s incoming and outgoing mail server settings.
Once the client retrieves your email, it’s stored locally so you’ll read and access it whenever you would like — even when you’re not online. Popular email clients include Microsoft Outlook, Apple Mail, and Mozilla Thunderbird.
A webmail provider (like Gmail, Yahoo, or Hotmail) allows you to access email directly on the webmail provider’s server. for instance , you hook up with the web and log into your Gmail account to be ready to read or send email.
Incoming and outgoing mail is shipped over the webmail provider’s servers but these settings are often customized, as we’re close to see next.
Changing the SMTP settings to your email provider of choice
Here’s a key point to note: SMTP server settings can be changed according to the email provider you want to use.
For example if you want to send bulk email through an email client, website, or other application, you can easily change the existing SMTP setting to Sendinblue SMTP or another bulk email provider.
And there are plenty of reasons why you should do this. Let’s take a look at them now.
When to switch to a dedicated SMTP relay service
To send large volumes of email
In the beginning, you would possibly get by sending transactional emails from your website over the PHP mailer function or a free provider like Gmail.
But as your business grows, you’ll need a more robust SMTP service which will handle larger volumes of email.
Free email providers have strict daily sending limits. Sending too many emails could damage your sender reputation or end in important emails landing within the spam folder.
To send larger amounts of email from your email client or website without running into such issues, it’s best to take a position during a professional SMTP service like Sendinblue.
Better email deliverability
The SMTP server you employ to send emails is related to a selected IP address. This address is directly tied to your deliverability because it’s this address that ISPs use to see your sender reputation.
The shared IPs of free email providers aren’t monitored closely enough. this suggests you’ll be sending emails from an equivalent email server as a known spammer.
By sending bulk email through one among these free providers, you’re likely to finish up within the spam folder. But with a fanatical provider like Sendinblue, Sendgrid, Mailgun the e-mail servers have the required infrastructure to deliver large volumes of email to the inbox.
And because we maintain strict control over all of our shared IP addresses, users can enjoy excellent deliverability for both marketing emails and transactional emails.
SPF, DKIM and DMARC signatures are managed through our Sendinblue domain names to avoid any DNS issues being flagged by the recipient mail server.
For even more control over your sender reputation, high-volume senders can buy a fanatical IP address. this manner you don’t need to worry about the sending behavior of anyone else affecting your deliverability.
How to choose the best SMTP server to suit your needs
There’s a huge choice of dedicated SMTP sending services on the market. If you’re trying to find the best SMTP service for your business, here are some factors to take into consideration:
- Email volume needs: what proportion email are you sending? how briskly is your business growing? Ideally, you would like an answer which will grow with you — without breaking the bank as your needs increase.
- Pricing: What’s your email budget? How do the costs of various solutions compare for the e-mail volume you need?
- Features: What additional features does one need or would be useful to have? Email delivery reports are a requirement but don’t get distracted by unnecessary bells and whistles.
- Support: As it’s a technical subject, what support options are offered? does one have an in-house developer to configure the setup? SMTP servers can become more complex as a business grows so it’s good to understand what support resources are available.
What’s the best SMTP service Providers
There are many SMTP service providers that allow you to send mass emails, WordPress emails, transactional emails, and more.
However, each one of them is different in terms of features, pricing, ease of use, number of emails allowed on free plan, and most importantly their track record on deliverability.
The best SMTP service providers that offer higher deliverability and best set of features.
For even more control over your sender reputation, high-volume senders can purchase a dedicated IP address. This way you don’t have to worry about the sending behavior of anyone else affecting your deliverability.
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