Bulk Email Server Guide: Sending/MTA Server Setup

Yes, it's time to start with MTA server setup and configuration. These servers will be used to do the actual sending. This are our bad boys.

Let's recap what we already learned in this guide

We can use almost any budget VPS as our MTA server. I use cheap servers from $2 - $6 and couldn't be happier with the results. The only real requirement is that the VPS have at least 1 GB RAM.

What makes my setup different from what most other people use is that I always use VPS with 1 IP for my MTA server.

Here is why

I've been in this business for almost 15 years and saw every possible scenario. Since the lists, I sent to aren't actually mine it is normal that from time to time my sending servers are taken down due to spam complaints.

Let's take a look at what happens when you have:

Everything on one server

You bought a super expensive VPS with 128GB RAM and 256 IPs. In case there is a problem you will lose everything and if you don't have a backup and let's be honest, most don't, you will be forced to start from scratch. Can you imagine all those hours of work lost? And guess what, all emails you already sent out and links in them will become useless. Maybe it's better to buy a gun, eh?

Another bad thing with setups like this is that usually, your IPs will come in a range. Why is this bad? When blacklistings will start rolling in they will simply blacklist your whole IP range and you are done. Bye, bye inbox!

Multi-Server Install

Now let's take a look what will happen in the same scenario, but this time with my setup. You got so many spam complaints that your VPS provider decides it's time to take you offline. Since all complaints are regarding one MTA only that server will be taken offline. Your Main server and other MTAs (which should be hosted on other account/providers) will keep working and continue sending emails.

You will have to setup a new sending server but by using my guide this shouldn't take you more than 30 minutes once you get used to the process.

[/sociallocker]

Do you see the difference?

With single setup, we were talking about buying a gun. With my setup, this is just a few clicks and a new sending server will be ready to start sending.

Of course, it is a lot more work, but believe me, it is worth it. After your whole bulk email system is taken offline you will never sleep again. For me, meh, doesn't really affect me, a few clicks and it's back.

How to begin?

You will need:

  • VPS with 1 GB RAM and 1 IP
  • CentOS 6 x64 (minimal recommended)

Connect to your VPS via SSH using Bitvise and run the following commands:

curl -O http://vestacp.com/pub/vst-install.sh
bash vst-install.sh --nginx no --apache yes --phpfpm no --named no --remi no --vsftpd no --proftpd no --iptables yes --fail2ban yes --quota no --exim yes --dovecot yes --spamassassin no --clamav no --mysql yes --postgresql no --hostname hostname.example.com --email [email protected] --password YOUR_STRONG_PASSWORD
[/sociallocker]

Be sure to replace hostname.example.com, [email protected] and YOUR_STRONG_PASSWORD. For hostname, the same rules apply as for our Main Server.

Answer Yes with "Y" and press Enter.

The installation process of VestaCP will take about 15 minutes. After it's done you will get all login information you'll need. Be sure to save them to that same file!

Raising the Limits

To avoind another reboot later lets rase the limits as this is needed for when we'll install PowerMTA. Edit /etc/security/limits.conf

nano /etc/security/limits.conf

And add at the bottom of the file

* soft nofile 65535
* hard nofile 65535

Save it with Ctrl+X and reboot your server with

reboot

Now it's time to do some basic configurations of our MTA/Sending server and after that, we'll install PowerMTA. When you are done with this sending server set up as many as you can. Host them on different accounts with different VPS providers.

This tutorial is a part of complete Do It Yourself Bulk Email Server Guide. If you are interested in starting with email marketing or want to improve your delivery, open and click rates I recommend that you follow it from the beginning. Almost 15 years in this business and many, many tests show that this is the best long-run solution for every mass email sender with double opt-in, scraped or bought list.

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ninjaMTA server setup

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