Email looks easy and straightforward on the surface, but behind the scenes, a lot of processes are taking place. For the uninitiated, deliverability, relay servers, SMTP, and IMAP sound foreign and confusing, but they are all part of what makes email possible.
To set yourself up for success in email marketing, you need to learn more than creating contact lists and newsletters. The backend system makes sending and receiving emails possible, and it is prudent to know how it works, starting with SMTP.
SMTP Relay Meaning
Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) is a protocol that enables the transfer and delivery of email between servers. An SMTP relay/gateway service adds functionality to the transfer by supporting transaction and marketing emails. SMTP relay was first conceptualized in the 1970s and adopted widely in the 1980s and the communication protocol continues to be the standard today.
SMTP relay works in a two-step process. First, it receives mail from the sender, which in marketing can be an email from your campaign. It then delivers it to the recipient through another SMTP server. Relaying describes the act of a server accepting an email from another server. It is not unlike snail mail, where the post office is the metaphorical equivalent of the server. When you send an email, the message includes important details such as the destination address, your return address (email and IP), and a timestamp. This information is necessary for the email to reach its intended recipient. If you are sending an email to someone within your domain, the relay does not happen, as no secondary server is needed to complete the delivery.
SMTP relay for volume
SMTP relay is ideal for heavy email users. Emails are routed through a trusted third-party provider that has the capacity to handle big batches of email. These bulk emails are generated from marketing campaigns through promotional emails and newsletters and from users through transactions and password resets. There are distinct advantages to using these email service providers. Not only does it reduce the burden and cost of setting up your own mail server, but it also offers robust functionalities and analytics that are of essence in measuring email marketing success.
Public SMTP relay server
This is a free option designed for light users, and small websites that don’t have the means or financial capacity of getting a private server. Using public SMTP relay is painfully limiting, as it puts a cap on how many emails you can send to prevent spam. This disqualifies it from use as a mass marketing companion. Bulk email absolutely requires enterprise-level solutions with more sophisticated features.
The benefits of using this private option outweigh the costs. The risk of being flagged for spam is removed, allowing you to accumulate and engage with a large base of subscribers. These providers invest a lot into their infrastructure and maintain close working ties with internet service providers to ensure email deliverability remains high.
Authenticated SMTP email relay meaning
SMTP Authentication, shortened as SMPT AUTH, is an extension used by SMTP clients to access an SMTP server. It introduces a verification step in the email transfer process allowing only parties with authentication to use this SMTP relay server. Open mail relays lack this secure setup, making them prone to exploitation by malicious third parties. With SMTP authentication, you are protected from spam, allowing you to send and receive emails with confidence.
The importance of an SMTP relay service
For modest email communication needs between peers where the number of participants is low, you can effortlessly manage your own server. When the number of recipients is in the thousands or tens of thousands, the dynamics of this transfer are completely different. Additionally, if you have a web app which is triggered to send notification emails to your subscribers following different actions on your website, you will need a solution that is more robust. As these emails are sent in bulk, and lack any uniqueness, they can easily be flagged for spam.
An SMTP relay service alleviates these and other concerns of poor deliverability, bandwidth constrictions, delayed sending and receiving. It frees the time you would have spent monitoring your server. With its enterprise-level framework, it simplifies all your email campaigns and supports the growth of your business over the years.
The benefits of using a provider extend past scalability. With a powerful provider, you get access to intuitive tools that help you measure the success of each of your email campaigns. Among these are link trackers which attach to the body of your message. These help you visualize which emails are delivered successfully, how many get opened, and the click-through rate. These metrics are indispensable in analyzing the success of your email marketing efforts. Your provider can also interpret the feedback it receives from popular Internet Service Providers such as Yahoo and Gmail. Since each of them has their own unique communication language, a good provider converts it into comprehensible prose, alerting you if an email has successfully reached its intended inbox or not. With this information, you can visualize email deliverability in different performance metrics.
To understand how to make this choice, you first need to know what SMTP relay ports are, and their function. When you are trying to reach a certain website, you are basically reaching for an IP address that has been converted by the Domain Name System. Whereas we identify websites by name for ease and simplicity, computers identify them through numbers or IP addresses.
For SMTP connections, an SMTP port is used. Port 25 was the original standard, but now 465, 587, 2525 are also in use. There are more, but these are the most popular for these types of connections. They are infinitely opened, meaning it is easy for submissions to be successful.
There are a few considerations you need to make while choosing an SMTP port, as they differ in their capabilities. Your decision should be guided on things such as by the type of email client you are using and WordPress compatibility. Port 25 is commonly used for relay, but it is not ideal for SMTP submissions as it can be blocked by some providers. Port 587 has the best support for email clients and WordPress. In the few instances that it does not work, you can use 2525 as an alternative.
SMTP relay makes the marketing job a lot more manageable. By handling the complex things in the backend, marketers can focus more on expanding their email lists, creating engaging content, and setting up goal-oriented campaigns.
Market Leading SMTP Relay Service
A good SMTP relay service lends credence to your email campaigns by ensuring that delivery failures that affect performance are unheard of. With our state-of-the-art relay services, you can count on us to help you establish your brand. With our scalable infrastructure, your business can grow without limitations. Our features are highly adaptable, meeting you at your point of need and offering you more features as required. We also provide STMP hosting and relay services that work at the enterprise level and support transactional email. Our transaction email delivery system integrates well with other frameworks so you can customize it if you are a developer. We also include a host of code samples and templates.
Our enterprise-level email solutions are compelling for a variety of reasons. Our message delivery platform is among the most affordable in the market, despite being holistic. It offers you access to real-time analytics, comprehensive reporting tools, and an intuitive account management panel that is easy to learn. Then there is the round-the-clock support that offers you assistance and guidance whenever you need it.
We have more resources for you if you want to learn more about SMTP relay services, improving email deliverability, email best practices, and even how to create your own SMTP server.