Suggestions for ISP to host mail server

Discussion in 'Server Operation' started by TonyG, Dec 22, 2022.

  1. TonyG

    TonyG Active Member

    I've been with DreamHost for about 15 years. They are a huge USA-based ISP where I have ISPConfig in my own little VPS cloud. They are a fine vendor for all needs except one: Their IPs are always on block lists. I can't take it any longer. I need to migrate to a new ISP that is not frequently on BLs, and preferably USA-based.

    To be specific, we have reserved floating IPs for the MX servers, but they are still within the class-C IP blocks that are owned by DreamHost and subject to abuse by random spam originators. So someone buys their services for a day, sends out spam, and the entire subnet gets blocked by some random entity (RATS, UCEProtect, Barracuda, ivmSIP, etc). DreamHost deletes their account but the damage is done, and we/I have to respond. Until the issue is resolved, and we/I have no control over it, mail to us and from us bounces, because other companies like Microsoft blindly rely on these BLs. Discussion with many of these entities is futile, some of them are scammers and hold IP blocks hostage (UCEProtect is an example) - others like Spamhous are easy to work with and quick to respond.

    I originally started a DIY mail server because hosted email commonly has these issues, and I wanted to avoid being affected by someone else's server problems. I started with Zimbra but felt it was inadequate. Then I found ISPConfig and have loved it ever since. But this one problem (unrelated to the software of course) continues to haunt me.

    How do You avoid this problem? Is Your ISP immune (mostly or entirely) to these problems?
    If you don't have this issue (your IPs on RBL through no fault of your own) would you recommend Your ISP?
    Digital Ocean says people should go through a major email provider. Those are expensive.
    Linode and Rackspace VPS are expensive too. I'm looking for other options.

  2. ahrasis

    ahrasis Well-Known Member HowtoForge Supporter

    Try hetzner. They should have US base now.
  3. nhybgtvfr

    nhybgtvfr Well-Known Member HowtoForge Supporter

    what i do is leave everything exactly where it is.. when there's no problem with blacklists, everything works fine...
    if the providers whole ip list gets blocked, i just spin up a little vps on digital ocean, install a very simple postfix config on there.. send only..
    and configure my usual mailserver to relay everything outbound through this little mailserver.

    when the original mailservers ip's are back off the blacklist, i just power off and destroy the relayhost droplet so i don't have to keep paying for it, keeping that same floating ip assigned to my account but unused, and leaving that ip in the SPF records. all ready to go again the next time.
    ahrasis and Taleman like this.
  4. concept21

    concept21 Active Member

    My personal favour is data centres located within arctic circle, for example, Finland, Canada, etc. A large part of computer-generated heat is dissipated without extra active cooling. So cost of each VPS can be lower.
    I myself also host my VPS here. Here is my referral link. You will get EU20 credits and I will get EU10 credit. :D
    Hetzner Cloud in Finland

    Namecheap VPS is also good but they are not very scalable. When you migrate your VM or VPS, you need their help.
  5. tfboy

    tfboy Member

    I realise this post is a couple of months old but here's my take on it...
    I have been using Linode (now Akamai) for several years with no issues.
    Linode's IPs are frequently on UCEProtect level 3, but there's not much you can do about that. Fortunately, I haven't found UCEProtect's lists to be used to flag emails as spam as they have a notoriously bad reputation for ransom as you have pointed out.
    When I migrated my main mail server from one Linode to another, the new IP was on a blacklist used my Microsoft but that was fixed and hasn't been back on it since (excluding UCEProtect).
    My Linodes are hosted in the EU but they have a few datacentres in the US you can pick from. Happy to provide a referral code should you want one.
  6. webguyz

    webguyz Active Member HowtoForge Supporter

    Check out for cheap email relay. They use Mailchannels for delivery. Least expensive mail delivery with good service.

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