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Wot no SMTP?!
August 14, 2006 4:31 PM   Subscribe

How do employees of a new start-up send email (from their home PCs) which appears to come from employee@companyxyz.com?

Trying to help a friend who's just started up a new, erm, start-up company. We bought a domain name plus webspace, and that deal included more than enough POP3 mailboxes for his handful of employees. I can figure out how to define these so his people can receive their new email into their existing Outlook inboxes, say.

However, the web deal provides no outgoing email facility, and instead says to use "Your dial up provider's SMTP server". But his people will be using their home PCs, and he'd obviously like their outgoing mail to appear as if it came from their start-up, not their personal mail address.

What do people do in these situations? Even if we set up a new Outlook profile, won't your typical ISP prevent outgoing email that appears to come from a different address? Isn't this just like spam? Are there paid-for SMTP services out there that allow this kind of thing?

Your advice, please, people.
posted by freston to Computers & Internet (14 answers total)
 
Some ISP's don't allow non-isp emails to be sent from their SMTP server, but most do. Give it a shot.

And yes, there are pay-for SMTP services. Or just use gmail for domains.
posted by SirStan at 4:33 PM on August 14, 2006


What do people do in these situations? Even if we set up a new Outlook profile, won't your typical ISP prevent outgoing email that appears to come from a different address? Isn't this just like spam?

No, since a lot of people want to do exactly what you're doing.
posted by cillit bang at 4:35 PM on August 14, 2006


yikes. What hosting company did you go with? This may be more trouble than it's worth. Is it possible to just cancel the deal, and go with something else? Dreamhost, for instance, is dirt cheap and provides this functionality...
posted by unexpected at 5:18 PM on August 14, 2006


Even if we set up a new Outlook profile, won't your typical ISP prevent outgoing email that appears to come from a different address?

Not necessarily - it's true that nowdays some mail servers don't allow you to do this, but those that still do authenticate you by IP address - that is, as long as you're on their network, you're trusted. If you were trying to use their SMTP server from another ISP, they you would look like someone trying to do some SPAM relaying and you would be blocked.
posted by Jimbob at 5:27 PM on August 14, 2006


You can configure GMail to look like it's coming from another address.
posted by radioamy at 5:44 PM on August 14, 2006


>[it] says to use "Your dial up provider's SMTP server"

That's the part you've misinterpreted.

It doesn't say "send mail from your own address" it just says "use your ISPs SMTP server to send mail". They're totally different.

There may be problems, but people do this all the time, as cillit says. It's not at all unusual.

So people should just set up a new username/account, whatever their email software calls it, with the return address "person@startup.com" and the outgoing mail server set to whatever their normal account uses.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 5:45 PM on August 14, 2006


The reason it's no problem for the ISP to offer this service is that you still must authenticate yourself using the userid/password that your ISP assigned to you, but usually once this is done you can send outbound email with any domain. The key is the authentication, otherwise their mail server would be a big huge open relay.
posted by Rhomboid at 5:50 PM on August 14, 2006


Gmail for your domain from the fine folks at Google has gotten rave reviews from friends. It's in beta, but you guys probably are, too.
posted by anildash at 6:08 PM on August 14, 2006


The reason it's no problem for the ISP to offer this service is that you still must authenticate yourself using the userid/password that your ISP assigned to you, but usually once this is done you can send outbound email with any domain. The key is the authentication, otherwise their mail server would be a big huge open relay.

That's not true. ISP SMTP servers are setup as open relays, but they're behind a firewall so only people connecting to the internet through the ISP can access it. Hardly any use auth.
posted by cillit bang at 6:27 PM on August 14, 2006


Many ISPs do provide SMTP servers along with their other services, so you might want to look into that, as it reduces this particular headache a great deal. As it is, you'll have to troubleshoot multiple ISPs at multiple home locations, some of which will require authentication, some which won't. Some require you to check your incoming mail first, before you can send, etc. It's a pain.
posted by odinsdream at 7:24 PM on August 14, 2006


You really should set them up with a hosting provider that has their own SMTP server. It will doubtless require authentication, but at least you'll be able to standardize with everyone on the same configuration.

If you can't do that, you've got two major disadvantages. One is that you'll have a support headache. Another is that the company's domain will be unable to use SPF records, which cuts their chances of having their domain spoofed in junk mail and getting wrongly blamed.
posted by CrayDrygu at 7:58 PM on August 14, 2006


Use port 587 in your E-mail client if you have any trouble sending mail.
posted by rolypolyman at 8:56 PM on August 14, 2006


What needs to be made clear here is that emails sent through an ISP's SMTP servers will NOT appear to the person receiving the email any differently. They will still appear from whomever@whatever.com you use as your email address.

Only by looking through headers might a reader determine that they were bounced through an ISP, but most mail is at some point.

I use Cox's smtp (smtp.west.cox.net for me) because they block outgoing connections to any other SMTP on port 25.

Again, no one knows the difference--the emails still come from me@myaddress.
posted by disillusioned at 1:21 AM on August 15, 2006


Ta very much for all of the above. Particular tip of the hat to SirStan for mentioning Gmail for your domain - new to me but sounds ideal and I've already got my application in. Thanks too to Mr Dash for the link.

Meantime, does anyone have any good or bad experience of paid-for SMTP services such as Bortnet?
posted by freston at 9:14 AM on August 15, 2006


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