What is BYOIP?

BYOIP stands for Bring Your Own IP, and is a process that allows you to send emails through Twilio SendGrid, or other third party email service providers, using IP addresses that initially existed on your network.

The advantage of BYOIP is that you can use Twilio SendGrid’s scalable email infrastructure while delivering over your already established IP addresses. Regardless of your email provider, BYOIP comes with a number of challenges and requirements. In this article, we’ll breakdown the BYOIP process, and why this may (or may not) be an ideal solution for your email infrastructure. 

The BYOIP Process

The BYOIP process is complex (to say the least). It involves the updating of multiple records and authorization from a variety of parties to ensure your email delivery and sender reputation are not negatively impacted. 

We walk through the process in detail to give you a better understanding of what BYOIP involves and the time it takes to accomplish. Know that the process outlined below is not Twilio SendGrid specific, but rather the steps all email service providers should take to successfully implement BYOIP.

1. Letter of Authorization: Before any IP addresses are ported, a Letter of Authorization must be established to identify the IP range being moved from your network to Twilio SendGrid. This letter is needed both for the legal teams of all involved parties, as well as the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN), who manages the distribution of IP resources. 

2. Announcement: When the ARIN records are updated, the new ARIN owner needs to be ‘announced’ via Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) for at least 30 days, so IPs can be randomly pinged by major mailbox providers. These pings verify that the IP addresses exist, confirm connectivity, and identify what network these IPs are currently on.

This step prevents future delivery issues associated with autonomous system numbers (ASN), which are values that uniquely identify separate networks on the Internet. Some major mailbox providers (e.g. Microsoft) will not allow messages to be delivered from IPs that have not had a static ASN assigned for at least 30 days.

3. RADb records: Routing Assets Database (RADb) records should be updated in order to change network providers. The RADb is a public registry of routing details for networks that many internet service providers (ISPs) use to verify the true state of an IP’s current network.

4. DNS and rDNS: Before sending, you will need to perform all domain name system (DNS) updates required to deliver email on your end for any sending domains you plan to use. This includes delegating reverse DNS (rDNS) zones for the IP space to Twilio SendGrid DNS servers.

5. Twilio SendGrid: At this point, Twilio SendGrid will make the necessary networking and DNS changes to allow IP porting, including testing the functionality of the ported IPs.

It takes time to thoughtfully and successfully bring your own IP addresses to any email service provider, requires significant paperwork, and consideration of best practices. Pending any unforeseen issues internally or from 3rd parties, the timeline from start to full implementation of BYOIP on any email service provider is at least 3 to 4 months. This estimation includes downtime for the IPs and hard cutovers.

Considerations for BYOIP

As you can see from the outline above, BYOIP isn’t the “quick fix” that some email service providers promise. While there are certain use cases for BYOIP, there are a number of drawbacks that we’ll dig into first.

Cooldown

During the downtime when these IPs are required not to send (the announcement period of at least 30 days), there is potential for IPs to “cool down.” Any extended period of time that an IP has no traffic can signal to the recipient email servers to not expect volume from these IP addresses. (Mailbox providers love consistency!) 

Length of time

All of this boils down to the fact that BYOIP is not an alternative to IP warmup. With a process of 3 to 4 months, BYOIP will likely take longer to implement than an IP to warm up. And once BYOIP is completed, it is recommended to slowly re-warm these IPs to recipient servers given they have been in a dormant cooldown state. 

In the same amount of time, you could sign up for a Twilio SendGrid email account and warm up your dedicated IP(s) to a daily email volume of over 500 million.

BYOIP Use Cases

Migrating from on-premise email infrastructure

BYOIP isn’t for the average sender, and doesn’t provide a shortcut to IP warmup, but it is useful if you are migrating from an on-premise email infrastructure to a cloud-based solution like Twilio SendGrid.

If you’re migrating from a large range of IPs you own and are delivering from, you may have already built enough reputation with recipient servers to make it beneficial to port IPs to our infrastructure for continued scaling. However, if your priority is to reduce downtime, warming dedicated Twilio SendGrid IPs will be quicker. 

Sending on behalf of many

BYOIP may be useful if you are sending on behalf of many customers. If you have a large user base you are sending on behalf of, you may have many users setting up allow lists with their recipients that include your personal IP ranges. BYOIP would reduce the friction your users see regarding the migration of these allow lists at the cost of potential downtime. (It is worth noting that IP allow lists are mainly used in internal or business to business (B2B) sending.)

Whether or not you bring your own IPs, moving to Twilio SendGrid would still require a DNS update for anyone wanting to send mail with their domain. Keep this in mind as a necessary step to either migration solution. 

Whichever direction you’re leaning, we recommend working with our Expert Services and Customer Success teams who have many years of experience making this type of migration successful.

Takeaways

Using BYOIP as an alternative to IP warmup will land you in hot water.

There will likely be some downtime during which these IPs will not be consistently delivering email. During this time, your IP addresses’ reputations will fall out of recipient server algorithms. 

Alternatively, even high volume senders can get ramped up and deliver messages at full scale within 14-30 days using Twilio SendGrid’s dedicated IPs. There are other options to completely avoid downtime. For example, you may have both environments sending mail and slowly migrate mail to Twilio SendGrid from your previous solution in order to warm Twilio SendGrid dedicated IPs.

Starting fresh is the perfect time to strategically architect for deliverability.

Our Expert Services team has worked with hundreds of enterprise clients to build a unique architecture for each use case that can optimize deliverability on Twilio SendGrid’s IPs. Deliverability is a balance of many variables, and the reputation and history of IPs outside of our normal network is an unknown that can be avoided. Introducing a thoughtful IP warmup process and architecting the appropriate IP segmentation are key to building a healthy email infrastructure that can easily be achieved without BYOIP.

Some senders may be right for BYOIP, but it’s important to know the pros, cons, and understand the process. 

If you are a high volume sender using an on-premise email infrastructure, BYOIP can help you retain the reputation you have built with recipient servers. If you are sending on behalf of many customers sending B2B traffic that requires allow lists, BYOIP will remove the need to update allow lists as IPs are not altered in migration. Regardless, you should weigh these pros against the cons, including downtime needed and potential rewarming after IPs cool during the downtime.

Whatever you decide, know that we’re here to help. Discuss the options with our Expert Services team to determine the best direction for your program. 



Stevin Overholser
Stevin is a Solutions Architect with experience working in the information technology and services industry helping customers build, design, and manage software solutions to their business problems. Stevin has a Computer Science background and 3 years of experience in the email industry.