Email setup recommendations for e-greeting card-like app?

I've done a bit of Linux installing and maintaining, but I'm pretty much a newbie when it comes to email setup and and administration. I wanted to get people's opinions and suggestions for my situation.

Quick background: I created an iPhone app called Flower Garden. It lets people plant seeds, grow flowers, and eventually cut them into bouquets and email them to people. The emailing happens through my server (because of the limitations of what can be done from the iPhone). So the iPhone client sends the sender, receiver, and bouquet data information to the server, and the server puts together an HTML email with the image and sends it along.

Right now that's working fine, but I'm on a shared webhost and they have some strict email limits because of spam policies. So far I've been under the 200 emails/hour limit (barely) but things are probably going to take off next week with Mother's Day, so I need to find another solution and Linode came highly recommended and seems to fit all my needs (and a lot more!).

Bouquet emails sent from Flower Garden have a From: field of something like ( is my company domain). The sender of the bouquet is listed in Reply-To. That should avoid relaying spam triggers.

The iPhone client uses a subdomain of to contact the host, so I could move just that subdomain over to Linode to start.

This is where I get all fuzzy and I need some help. I believe that if I just did that, emails would probably get flagged as spam because is still in a different host (I wouldn't move the full domain right away). That means I couldn't set up rdns to be the Linode host. To make things worse, I'm using Google for email in, so my MX records point to Google.

[Edit]A bit more info: The email right now is sent through php using phpMailer. So that means I can use sendmail or postfix I believe, in case that matter.

Is there some obvious solution I'm missing, or am I better off getting a new domain (like and setting that up to be the Linode host and sending email from that address?

Does this make sense? I'd love to hear any comments or suggestions.



2 Replies

The fact that your linode is on a different domain doesn't matter so much. For that sort of thing, the mail servers check an SPF record. So far, it appears your domain has no SPF record. Plus, most checks are done on the MX records, and not reverse DNS or such.

You should be okay moving your php mailing application to the linode and running it through your linode's postfix or sendmail server to relay.

The other option I'd look into is using Gmail's SMTP servers to relay. This gives the problem of it modifying all from: headers to the address of the account, but setting up a address in Gmail would solve that.

Google does have restrictions on how many you can send per day though, so look into that.

EDIT: To help avoid the spam filters, I'd suggest setting up an SPF record containing all the services that are responsible for sending mail from your domain.

Thanks, that makes a lot of sense.

I did check and Gmail has a 500 email/day limit, so that's definitely out of the question (or I could get 100 Gmail accounts and have the script spread them out… hmmm… Actually, that's not a horrible idea. It has built-in redundancy too. Nice :-)

I'll look this weekend into switching over to Linode the php script that sends the emails. I'm sure once I start doing it I'll have more specific questions on setting up the SPF record.



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