Reply to ElMejor

This Q&A reply is now outdated. Please just read the Velocity MTA FAQ instead.

Sorry for the late response as I wanted to make sure I fully answered your question to the best of my ability.

I've combined some of my replies to others into one message here to try and give the entire end-to-end context on this topic, and expanded beyond what you asked because it's clear a lot of people are interested in your question, and many of them may have done less research at this point than you did before you posted it.

Here's how sending over your own IPs with the platform works:

First, you get a server and IP allocation from a hosting provider who allows email marketing from their network.

Many big providers such as Digital Ocean and Vultr do not allow their IP addresses to be used for this purpose, you can host the platform there, but you need to put the MTA on an external hosting provider who specifically allows email marketing from their IPs.

Default blocking of outgoing port 25 is not uncommon, where you may need to open a ticket to request it being unblocked, potentially with justification of who you are and how you will use it.

Hosting providers that allow email marketing can attract bad senders, and the hosting provider doesn't necessarily know what's going on or keep good inventory on who had what IP.

If you can form a trusted relationship with a hosting provider who is closer to a Digital Ocean type of company who will work with professionals, and doesn't just allow anyone and everyone to email from their network, you'll get better results with the MTA than with a cowboy provider who operates fast and lose and doesn't really care what anyone is doing as long as they're not creating blacklisting.

As long as your hosting provider gives you a clean IP with no sending history, your IP will start out with no reputation with the mailbox providers such as Gmail, Yahoo, etc.

You install our MTA on that server, and it will allow you to send mail over the IP addresses allocated to that server by the hosting provider.

The MTA requires some DevOps-ish skills to setup, it's the only part of our platform that needs to be made a lot more user friendly, but it is fully documented. Parts of it are just kind of old school still.

We are going to improve this and also make a video series eventually, we were testing the interest here, and people are definitely responding and there are many who would like to be able to use it who don't have prior experience with being a postmaster or using an MTA.

A previous commenter asked about the difficulty and plausibility of delivering a contact list size of 30,000 using his own IPs, with a list that is fully engaged and permission based.

For his use case I explained that 30,000 contacts can be delivered from just 1 IP no problem, however even under the best case scenario like his, when starting out on your own IP, it's very similar to using a dedicated IP with an ESP for anyone who has prior experience with this:

You have to do a long and slow warmup to establish a sending history, it's not at all uncommon for people to just send something like 5 to 20 emails slowly for the first day(s) on gmail to their most engaged contacts and their friends/co-workers/family as way of introducing themselves as a new sender.

When your list is high quality and you're sending wanted email, the warmup process should go smoothly for you, see my comments on cold email at the end.

You can monitor your sending reputation with Gmail using Google Postmaster Tools.

When you add your domain to Postmaster Tools, Google will show you the reputation of both your sending domain and your IP addresses, however it takes consistent sending and reaching enough volume before they start showing you any information, might take two weeks.

The data is always spotty and inconsistent in terms of how much they show you and how often, but it does give you the best insight into how your sender reputation is likely being perceived by most mailbox providers. Google Postmaster Tools clears up a lot of the guess work and mystery, if Google thinks you're spamming, they'll tell you that, if you're on bad IPs, or shared IPs with spammers, they'll tell you that.

In the use case above of the commenter with 30,000 engaged contacts receiving wanted mail, you can warm up to sending that entire list from 1 IP address within a month without issue usually, email is flakey and opaque so nothing is ever guaranteed, but that's a pretty small list and not hard to deliver yourself with patience.

The reason why ESPs are advantageous to most people is because you start out on a shared IP pool.

That IP pool has had thousands of people sending on it for years, it has an established sender reputation with the mailbox providers (Gmail, Yahoo) and the ESP does some level of quality enforcement on the mail being sent although this varies greatly between ESPs and also depends on if they're trying to juice their numbers temporarily by taking on tons of bad senders before kicking them all off and pretending like it never happened to achieve some internal business outcome.

When using an ESP it's very common for senders who exceed a certain daily sending volume, which may be as low as 25,000 messages per day on some ESPs, to be moved to dedicated IPs.

This is because they don't want the sending reputation of one large sender to overpower the rest of the senders and for that sender to have an outsized impact on the sending reputation of that pool, one reason for this is because if that sender screws up, and no one is minding the store, they can take the entire IP pool down with them.

The reverse is also true, the largest sender can have their sender reputation harmed by the smaller bad senders and random spammers signing up to every ESP daily with fake blogs and products that don't exist.

Moving someone to a dedicated IP is also where sales will get involved and start trying to lock people into contracts, volume commitments to lower their CPM, and upsells on dedicated deliverability and performance specialists and whatnot, all the stuff the self-hosted platform is created to help you avoid.

Once an ESP moves you over to dedicated IPs, now things are getting similar to being on the MTA, but not exactly the same.

Many large senders at ESPs are running on dedicated IPs where they are the only sender, they had to start out just like everybody else by doing a warmup and building a sender reputation, the system works, you just start off at a disadvantage by not getting the boost from hiding in the crowd when you first start out on your own IP.

You can also mitigate this a bit by establishing your domain sending reputation on an ESP with a great sending reputation and shared IP pools, and slowly splitting off a small amount of your mail onto your own IP using the MTA over time.

Your use case of just doing run of the mill white hat stuff collecting live signup emails through forms where you're sending them welcome emails right after they sign up is one of the best case scenarios when you're the only sender.

The best possible scenario for building a sender reputation is transactional mail: password resets, receipts, bills, things people have to open or at least open a very high percentage of the time and with urgency.

Last thing I'll mention here is that many people believe that Gmail favors senders where they can see a history of common patterns associated with wanted mail, such as: contact became a new subscriber and received their first email which looks like a welcome email, received introductory type of emails usually seen being sent to new subscribers, showed higher than average engagement with this new sender for the first week, etc.

Is any of this true? ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™‚๏ธ But you get the gist of the thinking behind the concepts on how to make yourself seem like a good sender, or at least a valid sender, rather than a bad one, and those concepts do work.

Cold emailers will never establish a positive sending history on their own IP addresses unless they're pulling stunts, trick flips, shenanigans, and tomfoolery.

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