SMTP Service Crash Course

November 30, 2018
Written by
Warren Duff
Opinions expressed by Twilio contributors are their own

SMTP Service Crash Course

Today, we’re re-visiting Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) basics including the benefits of using SMTP, who should be leveraging SMTP in their email programs, and some common questions that email clients ask when getting set up.

1. What is an SMTP service?

On the most basic level, an SMTP service functions as a method to send emails from one mail server (or mail client) to another across the Internet. For a more in-depth guide to email and SMTP, I usually point people to the following resources:

2. How does SendGrid function as an SMTP service provider?

SendGrid functions primarily as a 3rd party SMTP service, which means we send emails on behalf of our users and our users' clients to help improve their delivery. When you sign up for a SendGrid account, we give you access to our SMTP mail servers, and allow you to send your emails through us instead of through a webmail client or from your own server.

3. What are the biggest benefits of using SendGrid as an SMTP service?

  1. We provide simple and advanced data collection like opens, clicks, and subscription tracking, based on user engagement. SendGrid actually provides more robust and in-depth metrics and analytics than any other SMTP service provider.
  2. It’s incredibly easy to integrate with your current mail client or custom mail sending application. For most customers, integrating with SendGrid only takes a few minutes.
  3. Unlike other SMTP service providers, SendGrid gives customers the option to have dedicated IP addresses. A dedicated IP address, when properly authenticated, masks us as the relay point and usually leads to much higher deliverability rates.
  4. With all of the benefits above, our customers benefit from increased email deliverability. We maintain our relationships with ISPs, set up available feedback loops, help monitor deny lists, spam reports, and much more.

4. Who should consider using an SMTP service?

People who send large quantities of email on a daily basis (i.e. more than 200) and do not already have company-owned servers would do well to take advantage of SendGrid. When SendGrid began, our focus was on helping developers and start-ups, and while we still love working with those kinds of customers, we want to help everyone send good email!

SMTP services are a great way for start-ups and scaling companies to meet both their internal and external communication needs if they don’t have email services configured beforehand. 3rd party SMTP services like SendGrid provide a scalable, easy-to-integrate solution for sending email without needing to know every tiny detail required to make it work.

5. What are the most common questions you get regarding SMTP service?

Part of the function of the support team is to help SendGrid customers get answers to whatever email questions they, so naturally, we get quite a few about SMTP service. The three most common questions we get usually include some form of the following:

Q:  What SMTP server should I be connecting to?

A:  We guide our customers to the server

Q:  Can you also host our inbound email?

A:  No. While our awesome Parse Webhook allows SendGrid to record and post event data for a user’s inbound email, we don’t technically host anything. We simply receive the data for your domain, parse out the individual data points, and then post it to your URL.

Q:  How fast can I send messages via SMTP?

A:  Generally speaking, we can process and send messages via SMTP as fast as you are able to relay them to our servers. However, we do still have recommended sending practices, such as batching your messages into groups in order to send several smaller quantities of mail faster than one large blast.

We work with all kinds of companies to help them deliver their email. In fact, we recently passed the 200 billion delivered emails mark! To start working with us, just visit the Email Pricing page and pick the plan that best fits your email volume.

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