[Wolves] BackMX record services

Simon C. Burke simonb at fatsportsman.eu
Thu May 13 09:17:15 UTC 2010

----- Original Message -----
From: "Andy Smith" <andy at strugglers.net>
To: wolves at mailman.lug.org.uk
Sent: Thursday, 13 May, 2010 5:24:41 AM
Subject: Re: [Wolves] BackMX record services

Hi Simon,


A post such as this on a fairly technical list is likely to turn up
a few offers for free, but it can be more problematic than you might
first assume.

Spammers are wise to the generalism that backup MXes are
destinations of last resort, often run by another organisation than
the main MX(es), with a corresponding lack of (or weaker) antispam
measures. As a result, lower priority MXes receive vastly more spam
than your primary one(s).

The antispam measures are probably the hardest part of running a
mail server these days. By having someone random provide your MX,
you're making yourself subject to their policies. They might not be
policies you like or even know about.

Given the above, it might be worth considering whether it's worth
the trouble to do it if you can't do it how you'd want. All senders
should operate a mail queue and retry failed deliveries. Yes, they
may do so on a schedule that is inconvenient to you, but they
shouldn't lose email unless you're down for days. That's actually a
better bet in my opinion than trusting it to a third party with no
vested interest in getting your mail delivered to you.

Other options may be to outsource the lot, e.g. to Google Apps for
your domain, or to an antispam MX vendor such as MessageLabs,
Postini (now part of Google), AntibodyMX, etc.. Have them provide
all the MXes then the antispam regimen is consistent, and there is a
relationship for them to maintain.

Those die hards who absolutely have to run their own mail servers
but want to do it on a budget might pick cheap virtual servers.
There's some very cheap ones in the US and mainland Europe.


I had taken the antispam into consideraton and deemed that for the volume of mail I get through the server (sometimes it makes it up to 100msgs a day, inc spam :D ), it's an acceptable risk. 

The other options mentioned are quite strong possibilities. I have been looking at a VPS somewhere to host a backup server and 3rd parties that specialise in this kind of this and allow you to review spam etc. The prior being my prefered option.

Being reliant of the senders server to hold mail is an option, but not one I deem to be an acceptable resolution as you cant count for everyones configuration. 

I'm still getting over 90% uptime on my little server (that runs on a shuttle currently), and Im happy with that. However as I'm consistantly developing on it etc there is a chance of bad things happening. Plus it seems that once a year my net connection goes down for an hours or so (until someone is present to switch the modem off and on again). 

Where I'm standing at the moment is that I have had an offer off somone who I would trust with my mail and would probably just send/hold everything before it went through spamassassin/amavis and co, which is perfect for me. My other option is possibly to collocate a server at work, but that requires some wizardry due to certain networking contsraints. 


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