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Outgoing mail limits block sending emails Print

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Problem Description

  • When attempting to send an email you may receive an error like "The value must be in the range 0...25 Only the Plesk administrator can adjust this setting."
  • When attempting to send an email, the messages get stuck in the outbox and an error indicates that the maximum number of outgoing emails has been reached.

Per Hour Message Limits

We make use of outbound spam protection by limiting the volume of emails that can be sent per hour on a per-account, per-domain, and per-subscription basis. We do not consider these fixed limits. They default to what we consider to be higher than average values to allow enough room for most companies and individuals to send messages without interruption by this protection system.

On shared/reseller hosting we configure the defaults as:

  • Email Account: 50 messages per hour (that's almost 1 message every minute)
  • Domain: 100 messages per hour
  • Subscription: 200 messages per hour

We impose these limits for both your protection and ours. They prevent the server from being abused if a spammer should get hold of someone's email. A spammer would send at least a few messages every second -- very quickly reaching the messages / hour limit -- and additional messages beyond the limit would be blocked from sending. This ensures that your email account and domain do not end up on email block lists and similarly it ensures our server IP doesn't end up on block lists. It's a win for everyone.

If you are regularly sending more than these limits we'll increase the limit for you (simply open a ticket), however the increase must be reasonable for personal and small business use.

I'm not sending bulk messages

Firstly, be absolutely sure that nobody with an email account using your domain(s) is sending bulk messages. If you're 100% confident in this conclusion, then there are three cases in which you can hit your outbound message limits without intentionally sending bulk email:

  1. Your email account has been hacked and the hacker is sending messages from it. Solution: the best remediation for this issue is to change your mail password and see if the issue continues. You will need to wait until the next hour rolls over to know. If the issue does continue, then you should open a ticket to have this investigated as it's like your website is emitting spam.
  2. Your email account quota is full. This causes bounces to be sent for every incoming message. If you have enough incoming messages (including spam) per hour, then the bounces will fill up your outgoing mail quota as well. Solution: follow our guide to managing your mail quota. It will guide you through the options like deleting larger messages, archiving your mail off-server, or upgrading your mail hosting solution for greater capacity.
  3. You sent a message to a recipient whose account quota is full or is otherwise bouncing the message. Sometimes your mail app will hold the message in the outbox and constantly retry when the mail server directly indicates it cannot deliver the message. Each delivery attempt adds to the count of outgoing messages because the server doesn't know your mail app is retrying the same message repeatedly. If the recipient's mailbox isn't working properly (like if they're over quota), you can delete the message from your outbox to prevent the issue from continuing, then contact the recipient via an alternate email address or by another method to ensure they take care of the issue. If it is a mail quota issue they can follow our guide to managing mail quota.

When Sending Bulk Email

If you're sending more than, say, 200 messages per hour, this is considered bulk mail and you will need to use one of the following services to send that volume of mail:

  • If a Mailing List: A mailing list service (works alongside your existing email hosting). Popular options include: MailChimp, ActiveCampaign, MailJet, or SendInBlue.
  • If Transactional Emails: A transactional email sending service (works alongside your existing email hosting). Popular options include: Amazon SES, Mailgun, or Sendgrid.
  • Your own VPS with dedicated mailing list software like phpList (works alongside your existing email hosting, OR you can switch your mail service to the VPS as well)
  • A business-class mail service like our Exchange email hosting (moves your email service to Exchange servers)
If you're sending mass messages, like newsletters or bulletins, we require the use of dedicated software to manage this for you, like MailChimp or phpList on a VPS of your own. You can read more about email marketing here. Aside from protecting our servers from being blacklisted by mail security systems, there are important legal reasons for this as well.

With the introduction of CASL anti-spam legislation in Canada, sending out mass messages has *many* technicalities associated with it that must be followed very precisely. One such requirement is ensuring there's a very clear and as close to automated opt-out process as possible. MailChimp (and other similar services) provide all of these mechanisms for you.

Similarly, bulk mail services also handle tracking of bounce messages and open rates, all functionality that is exceptionally useful when sending mass mail which a standard email cannot supply.

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