New businesses requiring email services my choose from a variety of options depending on their budget and number of employees. Besides finding email services, businesses should be aware of email setup requirements, best practices, and regulations in order to help reduce their email's chance of being marked as junk mail.

Email Options

Self-Hosted, Self-Managed Email - large businesses with many employees usually run their own internal computer network and employ a technical support staff. Companies of this size usually own and operate their own server(s) dedicated entirely to email. The cost of self-hosted email is usually very high and includes server hardware and software as well as technical administration and support staff salaries. The benefits include complete control and customization of email services as well as the highest assurance of privacy and security.

Self-Hosted Email, Part-Time Support - a more cost-effective solution than both self-hosting and self-managing email is to outsource the technical / support services. This option may be viable for small to medium companies, but there can be issues finding the right technical support, and they may not always be available when needed.

Email as a Bundled Service - many small business Internet Service Providers also bundle email hosting with their internet services. The lack of control and privacy is offset by lower cost and less issues than self-hosted email.

Email Service Provider - email service providers such as Google Apps compete directly with bundled email services. The best option would be based on which provider can supply the best services, options, and pricing to meet a company's individual needs.

Email Sending Limits

Nearly every email service provider and hosting company limits email sending rates. Web hosting companies usually state the email limits in their Terms of Service or Acceptable Usage Policies. Rates are usually emails per hour and / or emails per day. The number of recipients per email message may also be limited. Limits of some of the more popular email providers:

Recipients per Day: 500
Recipients per Message (webmail interface): 500
Recipients per Message (using an email client such as Outlook or Mail): 100

One email with 500 recipients or multiple emails with the number of recipients totaling up to 500 will reach Gmail's sending limit. Once the recipients per day limit is reached, Google will disable the Gmail account for up to 24 hours. Google will also disable accounts which send a large number of undeliverable messages.

Google Apps
Messages per Day: 2,000
Recipients per Message (webmail interface): 2,000 (500 external)
Recipients per Message (using an email client such as Outlook or Mail): 99
Total Recipients per Day: 10,000
External Recipients per Day (email addresses outside your primary domain): 3,000
Unique Recipients per Day: 3,000

Similar to Gmail, the number of recipients per email counts towards the total recipients per day limit.

Yahoo states they have email limits, but they do not disclose them.

Yahoo Business Email
Messages per Day: 500
Recipients per Message: 100
Each recipient of a message counts as one email towards the 500 daily limit

Email DNS Records

In order to connect email servers to the Internet, DNS MX records are required. DNS should be updated by technical support who are familiar with managing DNS records (web hosts, web developers, etc). In addition to DNS MX records, SPF and DKIM records are recommended to reduce the chance that emails from a domain are marked as spam.

Commercial Email

Businesses that send commercial email must comply with the CAN-SPAM act. Violators may be fined $16,000.

Some of the CAN-SPAM act requirements are listed below. For more information, visit the CAN-SPAM act website.

  • Don’t use false or misleading header information.
  • Don’t use deceptive subject lines.
  • Identify the message as an ad.
  • Tell recipients where you’re located.
  • Tell recipients how to opt out of receiving future email from you.
  • Honor opt-out requests promptly.
  • Monitor what others are doing on your behalf.

Newsletters and Mailing Lists

Companies such as Constant Contact, iContact, and MailChimp exist to send large bulk mailings such as email newsletters. Pricing for their services is normally based on the size of the email subscriber list, as well as the number of mailings which need to be sent each month.

It is important to identify a bulk mailing requirement early and choose the right bulk email company, because moving providers will normally require all existing subscribers to opt-in again. The size of subscriber lists is generally reduced when moving between bulk email companies because of the opt-in requirement.

General Advice

Remove bad email addresses from newsletters and mailing lists - if an email address does not exist anymore, usually the sender will receive a response notifying them of the issue. Email service providers monitor undelivered email rates and will blacklist senders who repeatedly email bad email addresses.

Manage your IP address reputation - dedicated IP addresses are usually available from hosting providers for a small cost. Businesses sharing an IP address may run the risk of being blacklisted if other organizations using the same IP address engages in email spam activity.