Infrastructure: The Foundation of Email Deliverability Success


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Brick_WallDo you know the current state of your email infrastructure? Here are 5 questions to ask to help make sure you’ve established a strong foundation for sending:

1. Are you using a dedicated IP Address?

If you’re a high-volume sender who is working with an email provider, make sure you have an IP address dedicated to your mail stream. Ideally, have at least two IPs, one for your transactional email and a second for your marketing/promotional email. (Transactional email tends to have higher delivery rates than marketing email, so separate your mail streams to keep their reputations distinct.)

Sharing an IP address with other senders means their practices and reputation will have a direct impact on your deliverability—and that’s not good for any business. (At SendGrid, a dedicated IP address is provided for all plans Silver and higher.) To figure out if you should be on a dedicated or a shared IP, check out this blog post.

2. Are your mail servers secured or could a hacker use them for spamming?

Make sure you don’t have an open relay or open proxy. Follow industry standard best practices for network and server security. All the best mailing practices don’t matter if you don’t have control of your environment.

3. Are you signed up for ISP Feedback Loops?

And do you have a process for managing complaints? Not only do you need to get signed up for all major ISP feedback loops, but you also need a process for rapidly removing email addresses that log complaints. Continuing to mail to people who have reported your email as spam will result in deliverability failures. (Gmail doesn’t have feedback loops, so we recommend implementing a List-Unsubscribe header. We just wrote a blog post about it if you’d like more information.) Also, if you’re a SendGrid customer, you’re in luck. We automatically register all users for all major feedback loops.

4. Do you have “postmaster” and “abuse” mailboxes set up for all your domains?

If yes, are you monitoring them? Many ISPs require that these mailboxes be set up and working to get access to their feedback loops. These are also common destinations for complaints from ISPs that don’t have feedback loops.

5. Is your sending domain able to receive mail?

Your sending domain needs to be able to receive mail, and it must have a valid MX record. If not, some ISPs will block your email.

*Additional Best Practice Tip

Resist the temptation to move IP addresses to resolve deliverability problems. This is a suspicious practice and ISPs treat new IPs with caution. In fact, all IP addresses start with no reputation and must be “warmed up” by good sending practices. We just completed a blog series on IP warm up and will be hosting a free webinar on the topic next week if you’d like more information. Register here to attend or receive a copy of the slides.

Bottom Line: Setting up and maintaining infrastructure for high-volume email can be complex. It’s not as simple as maintaining a corporate email environment, and very different rules and standards apply. You’ll either need dedicated staff who understand the ins and outs of email to monitor your email program, or you can turn to an email service provider like SendGrid who can take care of everything for you.

To learn more about the keys to optimum email delivery, download our popular Email Deliverability Guide here


Carly Brantz is a veteran in the email deliverability space working to make email simple and easy for developers by regularly writing whitepapers, research briefs and blog posts about email, technology and industry trends.

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