Web host not on email blacklists?
February 9, 2021 9:35 AM   Subscribe

My current shared web hosting provider winds up on email blacklists (RBL and others) over and over and over again, preventing me from communicating with my family (on AT&T email and Hotmail; also some college/university email systems have bounced my email). Is there a reasonable-cost provider that doesn't?

My needs are fairly modest as web providers go: WordPress and dependencies, email, controlling my own subdomains, CPanel and one-click installs strongly preferred. I don't use huge amounts of bandwidth or disk space, don't need e-commerce bells and whistles, register my domains separately, and don't need super-fast everything. I prefer POP3 email access (because I don't want to keep my email on their servers longer than I have to), but I could live without.

When I open "hey, you're on another email blacklist" support tickets with my current provider, I get back "email isn't our business priority so howsabout you go use GMail?" How about I avoid all things Google as best I can, and also this is not a super-great way to address a longtime customer?

But anyway. Looking for better. Who's your provider that you love and that keeps the email flowing?

Previously, but it's quite old.
posted by humbug to Computers & Internet (12 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
My domains are on Bluehost and haven't had any e-mail delivery issues that I can think of. I host Wordpress sites on my domains, and also use pop3 e-mail.
posted by jonathanhughes at 10:04 AM on February 9, 2021 [1 favorite]

I've been on Linode for almost two decades with a small private web/mail server, and when I have encountered a rare blacklist of my machine, Linode staff have gone to bat for me in getting my IP address cleared with a larger host.
posted by nickggully at 11:20 AM on February 9, 2021 [2 favorites]

Separating your email from your other hosting is the preferred option these days. StartMail and ProtonMail are two I've heard decent things about. If you're happy enough with the web hosting, maybe just keep it there and move your email?
posted by pipeski at 11:24 AM on February 9, 2021 [5 favorites]

+1 to pipeski's comment; I use fastmail for my email hosting, and a different company for web.
posted by scolbath at 11:39 AM on February 9, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I have a project that gives me a good view into the anti-spam world. IMHO you are putting yourself through a lot of unnecessary pain and risk by insisting on using a web host for email. All of them show up on blacklists from time to time, and very few of them want to expend much effort avoiding/fixing it, because it's not their main thing (and it's a pain if you don't deal with it regularly). I understand not wanting to use Google, but there are many other specialist email providers out there who will do this for you with less trouble and better service than a shared web hosting company.

If you really must do this, do like nickggully and run your own server on a machine with a dedicated IP address. You will still almost surely have bad deliverability and possibly occasional blacklistings, but you have at least a bit more control over it.
posted by primethyme at 11:48 AM on February 9, 2021 [5 favorites]

I still use Fastmail that kind of made being anti-gmail a Thing. Their service is, well, fast. You do have to pay but it's $5 a month for a plan with reasonable storage.
posted by sol at 11:52 AM on February 9, 2021 [2 favorites]

Another satisfied Fastmail customer here.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 1:21 PM on February 9, 2021

+1 to the Fastmail recommendation. Excellent customer service and I can't think of a single complaint.
posted by jaden at 2:47 PM on February 9, 2021

I have found this intensely frustrating as well. I am really hesitant to recommend Google's premium GMail that lets you use your own domain (perhaps they should have called it Google+?) because giving more power to GMail is just hastening the demise of one of the few Internet services that actually exist in a true federated sense. Also their "customer support" is completely worthless even for their business partners, let alone ordinary humans. If you want true reliability, I think you have to go with a dedicated mail service like ProtonMail or FastMail, I have friends who are happy with them. I have had problems with my host, Ionos (formerly 1&1) but it's not too bad (though there was a whole week earlier this year when I couldn't send to any address hosted by Microsoft Outlook). I would say maybe once a year I end up on a blacklist. Sometimes Comcast, sometimes GMail, it's never consistent. It's always an IP blacklist (frequently a block of the whole hosting IP range) and it matters not a whit that I have Sender Permitted From (SPF) records properly configured and have never, in my life, sent an unwanted email. Fundamentally the generic web hosts don't want to police their customers too much, lest they leave, and most people use GMail unless they're a big business, so little folks like us with a vanity domain are just not worth the attention of either the hosts or the mail providers unless we pay separately for the privilege.
posted by wnissen at 2:47 PM on February 9, 2021 [1 favorite]

Do you have SPF, DKIM, and DMARC set up for your domain? Without some or all of those in place it's no wonder you keep getting blacklisted.
posted by MonsieurBon at 2:49 PM on February 9, 2021 [2 favorites]

Another satisfied Fastmail customer here. I debated between them and ProtonMail about a year ago and ended up with Fastmail due to some technological things. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend them to anyone looking to use email on their own domain. Seconding MonsieurBon though, make sure you setup SPF, DKIM, and DMARC.
posted by DJWeezy at 3:47 PM on February 9, 2021 [1 favorite]

Nthing the people above that recommend seperating email and web hosting. I use Polarismail for email and Nearly Free Speech for hosting. Total cost is about $1.50 a month.
posted by COD at 3:54 PM on February 9, 2021 [2 favorites]

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