(I’m bringing over some of the better posts from my old blog. This one has recently been updated for grammar, formatting and the inclusion of the services from DNSMadeEasy.com)
I’m working on setting up an email server on my home network, however my ISP blocks port 25 inbound (SMTP). Fortunately, the port blocking is the only restriction and they do not seem to have a problem with me hosting my own mail server.
I need some kind of SMTP redirection service to point my MX record to which will accept mail on port 25 but then send the received mail to my own mail server over a non-standard port.
My server itself is more of a testing ground than a production mail server and thus won’t have heavy email traffic. Probably only a few dozen messages a day at the most. I started searching for services that were as cheap as possible.
I’ve compiled a list of Inbound SMTP Redirection services here. If anyone knows of more, please let me know and I’ll list them:
- (Added July 2013) GhettoSMTP. Free SMTP redirection. Up to 4,999 emails per month. $5 per month for 5,000 or more emails. GhettoSMTP is the free service portion of UptownSMTP. Disclaimer: This is a service that I created with my consulting company.
- No-IP.com’s “Mail Reflector” for $39.95 a year
- DynDNS.com’s “MailHop Relay” for $49.95 a year
- DNSExit.com’s Mail Redirection Service for as low as $19.98 per year
- DNSMadeEasy.com’s Mail Server Forwarding $18.95 per year for one domain
- (Added Jan 2011) MX GuardDog: They offer free inbound spam and antivirus cleansing for your email as long as you put a link to their site on a site of yours. In essence it’s a link exchange. It’s hidden in their FAQ, but they will redirect mail down on an alternate port for you. Personally, I’m a bit suspicious. It seems too good to be true. Perhaps they’re analyzing the spam and viruses for other purposes which make it worth their while. Oct 2011 Update: Check out the comments below, specifically the commentor seemebreakthis and his negative experience with MX GuardDog.
IMO, this entire service sector is overpriced and awaits some good competition to drop it to more reasonable rates. On top of my displeasure with the general price structure of this service, I’m broke and don’t want to pay any money at all.
I started looking for free services. Seems like an impossible thing to expect, right? Almost… but not quite. I found two services that were willing to give free limited accounts out.
rereoutmail.com – This site advertises a free account that will forward all of your emails over a nonstandard port, never delete mails and hold mail if your server is offline. However, there are limitations on the number and size of emails per day that you can receive.
Confusingly, the limits on the free account are listed on the home page, but conflicts with the limits listed on the accounts page. The home page says that you can receive 50 emails or 50 MBs per day, with a 1 hour delay for each email over that limit. The accounts page shows a limit of 10 immediately delivered emails per month (!) with a one hour delay per email over that limit.
I would have signed up and trialed the service, however the registration page says that they are currently in a private beta. They allow you to sign up for notification when the public beta goes live. I encourage everyone that reads this to sign up in the hopes that it may encourage the creators to complete the project. I have no idea when that site was created. There’s a conspicuous lack of a date anywhere, which makes me slightly suspicious.
I should also note that the pricing for the paid accounts doesn’t seem to be competitive especially when you realize that the prices are in Euros which are valued higher than many of the world’s dollars (Canadian, USA, Australian).
RollerNetwork.us – [Update: Roller Network has changed their account features and this is no longer applicable] RollerNetwork offers a free redirection service that is not time limited. However, they explicitly state that they reserve the right to limit, reconfigure, discontinue and otherwise kick any and all free accounts to the curb at Roller Network’s discretion.
The free account offers secondary MX records, SMTP redirection and secondary DNS. The limit on messages seems generous: 200 messages or 10MB can be relayed per “cycle”. I still can’t understand exactly what a “cycle” is even after reading the definition on the site. I’ll reproduce it here and maybe someone can enlighten me:
A cycle is currently defined as the previous week’s worth of mail traffic (7 calendar days) with a 72-hour resting period after any of the limits are exceeded. During this rest period, mail domains are deactivated and will refuse new messages. After the rest preiod [sic] has expired, the mail domains are reactivated. However, if after a 72-hour rest the 7 day total still exceeds the limits, another 72-hour rest will be applied.
I think that means the message count is reset every 7 days plus 72 hours for every time you go over the limit until you’re out of the 7 day cycle and into the next one.
A commentor named “Sam Allen” on my old blog had this to say about the scheme:
From reading the description, I’d suggest that ‘cycle’ means a combined total of the previous 7 days at any given time. The total wouldn’t be ‘reset’, merely recalculated every day to drop the ‘last’ day and add the most recent one.
The 72 hr thing means that if your total in the previous 7 days goes over the limit, your account is effectively closed for 3 days. If after those three days, the previous 7 day total (including 3 down days and 4 ‘up’ days) is STILL over the limit, you get another 3 days down.
Either way, it would be helpful to have examples or diagrams drawn out. Then again, if an account structure tempts me to pull out a UML tool to help figure it out, maybe it’s time to rethink the account structure.
Nonetheless, that will fit my test requirements. Thanks Roller Network! They also have some decent looking for-pay services that seem to compete nicely with similar services. Oh, and their IPv6 support roxors!
Do you have any experience with inbound SMTP redirection services? I’d love to hear your experiences and suggestions.