Email Limitations

Conveying the limitations of sending email is a tough topic for clients sometimes to fully understand.  Sending an email is pretty simple but can be a royal pain too. I won’t bother discussng the Can SPAM Act in this article.  The legalities are a whole different topic in it’s own right.  I’ll try to make this short and sweet.

  1. To, CC, BCC limits – If you added a large number of recipients to your email, don’t expect it to work.  Most email servers have a limitation on how many recipients and/or domains you can add in these fields.  Generally it’s not more than 200-300 and sometimes much less with popular free email accounts.   You can work around this by installing 3rd party plugins that will send the email out individually to each recipient.  Some will even allow you to control the rate of speed they will go out.  A plugin that I’ve used for Outlook that works well is Send Personally.
  2. Throttling email – Some servers will restrict how many emails you can send per hour or per minute.   Companies will do this to keep their servers from being used as SPAM stations and save bandwidth.  I don’t believe the Send Personally plugin mentioned above would help in this case but I do know there are plugins on the net that do have throttling capabilities.
  3. ISP port restrictions – This is a tough topic to convey to clients because the argument is always “Well, I went to the coffee shop and I sent out emails just fine from my laptop so it must be your server”.   Maybe it’s because I’m an engineer but I can’t see the logic in that statement.  The bottom line is that to combat spammers, many ISP’s are now blocking email ports (typically just SMTP port 25) from domains other than their own.  What does that mean?  It means you can’t send email from your home or office where this restriction exists unless you’re using your ISP’s SMTP server.    So if you have your own business with your own email addresses, you may have to change the SMTP server for those accounts to get them to work but then you also fall into the sandbox email restrictions of that ISP too.  Another way around this is to setup your SMTP over a different port.  Some hosting companies will have port 465 available for SSL (ISP’s will usually not block this one).
  4. Junk Mail – Sometimes emails that you send out will drop into your recipients junk mail folder.  What can you do about this?  Pretty much nothing.  You can try to remove yourself from any blacklists that are causing this but it doesn’t take long to end up right back on them if your email habits/trends stay the same.   My biggest advice is to just check your junk mail folder on a regular basis as you would your inbox.  I keep pretty loose security restrictions on my Outlook and every week I get at least one client/potential client sending me an email that falls into my junk mail.

I hope this helps.  If you have any useful tips, feel free to add a comment.