Simple Mail Transfer Protocol or SMTP is a text-based protocol used to send an email over the internet. It contains a set of regulations regarding the interaction between the program sending an email and the program receiving the email. With this means of email communication, come its challenges and its benefits.
Keep reading to find out the pros and cons of using an external SMTP and how that could affect your website. This article includes step-by-step instructions on how to set up an external SMTP for your website or some alternatives for using an external SMTP.
The Benefits of Using an External SMTP
When setting up your website, you want your customer experience to be as streamlined as possible. On the flip side, as the owner of the website and associated business, you benefit from having everything come from that place. You have options in how you communicate with your clients. Most web hosting sites offer email within their packages, but what about using an external source?
Using an external SMTP may have unique benefits that trump the email that comes with your web hosting package. Here are some of the advantages of using an external SMTP to send emails from your website:
- It’s reliable: external SMTPs will ensure your emails don’t end up in the Junk folder or the abyss because of ISP throttling, blacklist monitoring, or feedback loops.
- High sending limit: Some ISPs will limit the number of emails you can send in an hour or day without considering your unique business needs. However, SMTPs will set limits according to your needs and their packages.
- Speed: SMTPs may be able to offer you a higher rate of emails sent per connection. Most standard mailing programs offer one email per connection, while some SMTPs can offer up to 2500 emails per connection with up to 40 connections.
- Real-time reports: SMTPs can offer real-time reports to you based on who has unsubscribed and what emails have been delivered, bounced, or spammed so that you can keep track of your client connections.
With all these useful services, you might be wondering if there are any disadvantages to using an external SMTP; let’s take a look.
The Challenges to Using an External SMTP
Here are the challenges to using an external SMTP to send emails from your website:
- Reliant on third-party support: When using a third-party versus setting up your own SMTP, you relinquish some control over your email should a problem arise. When issues occur, you will need to rely on a third party for support, whether helpful or unhelpful.
- Third-party terms and conditions: You are subject to the SMTP provider’s terms and conditions. Any limitations or restrictions they place on your email are based on what they offer and may not be compliant with your needs.
- Web hosting restrictions: If you already have a website set up with a web hosting service, they may not allow external SMTPs to be used with your web hosting package. Restricting all or some SMTPs is to limit the negative impact outgoing spam emails could have on their other email server users.
- Spamming: When a customer has opted out of receiving emails from your site but continues to receive emails from you, that is considered spam. Spam emails are known to happen with external SMTPs and could harm your business via a negative customer experience.
It’s important to weigh the good and the bad with any decision about your business, even as small as what email provider you will go with for your communication. Using an external or third-party SMTP has its pros, but the cons need to be known to make an educated decision.
How to Setup an External SMTP Email From Your Website
Once you’ve selected your external SMTP, you will need to provide information to connect it to your website. Typically the data will go under your “Configuration Settings.” Then you will need to provide the following details:
- Send Mail: YES
- Select mailer: SMTP
- Add a from email
- Add a from Name
- SMTP Authentication: YES
- SMTP security: STARTTLS or NONE
- SMTP Username:
- SMTP Password:
- SMTP Host:
If you’ve reviewed the pros and cons of using an external SMTP email from your website and decided that the convenience and ease cannot be passed up, you’ll need to know how to set it up. First, you’ll need to look at your web hosting and determine if they allow third-party SMTPs. If they do, they may have a curated list of permitted options.
Now you have all the details about external SMTPs that you need to make an informed decision based on your business needs. Again, refer to your web hosting and your chosen external SMTP for details on setup.