FAQ: Getting Started/ Settings

Why not just use Sendmail + Postfix + Courier IMAP?

You can but you should be aware that there is a constant battle raging between good and evil (i.e., spam) in the email universe. In order to be on the 'good' side of that battle and get your email delivered, there are numerous things you need to do. You need to have the right authentication infrastructure and register your IP and Domain appropriately. Also, you need to have a history of email sending that complies with ESPs rules in order to build a good reputation.

Moreover, if you are going to receive, store and host emails, you better be prepared for maintaining this orchestra of software, take care of backups, hardware failures, security patches and monitoring. Stop kidding yourself, it's not 1998 anymore. :-)

Here's a classic post, So You'd Like to Send Some Email (Through Code), from Jeff Atwood about all of the hurdles in order to properly send email, and that's just sending.

What are the differences between free and Flex plans?

Free plan (no credit card required):

  • 5,000 messages/month are included
  • There is a limit of 300 messages per day on the included sandbox domain
  • Data retention for Logs and the Events API is 1 day
  • You cannot create custom domains
  • You can only send to Authorized Recipients; and there is a maximum of 5 Authorized Recipients

Flex Plan:

If you opt to enter your credit card, you'll receive 5,000 free messages per month for 3 months. After the 3 months is up, if you haven't opted to upgrade into one of our subscription plans, you'll continue on a Pay as you Go plan, in which you'd pay for any messages you send at a rate of $0.80/1,000 messages. Additionally, on flex plans you get:

  • No daily sending limit
  • You get 5,000 free messages a month for 3 months. If you send over this amount during the first 3 months, additional messages are charged at a rate of $ 0.80/1,000 messages
  • Data retention for Logs and the Events API is 5 days
  • You can create custom domains
  • Use of Authorized Recipients is not required to send with custom domains; you may send to whomever you like!

If these limits are not enough for you, or if you need to talk to us about a custom contract, you can reach us at sales@mailgun.com.

You can find a full list of features on our pricing page.

Can I get multiple Domains and IP Addresses?

By default we give you one shared IP address. If you would like a dedicated IP address, simply click on the "Add Dedicated IP" button in the IP Management section of the Control Panel. You will need to add a credit card to your account first, though, if you have not already done so. If you want multiple IPs, you can contact our Support Team.

You can create up to 1,000 domains on a paid plan in the Control Panel or through the Domains API <api-domains>{.interpreted-text role="ref"}(Free accounts do not include the ability to create a custom domain).

Do I need a dedicated IP address?

It depends on various factors.

If you are sending a lot of email (greater than 50k per week), it is a good idea to have a dedicated IP in order to isolate your reputation. If you are sharing your IP, you are sharing your reputation with those other senders. In addition, ESPs limit the total volume per IP, per hour. If you are a high volume sender you should consider a pool of IPs. However, you will have trouble establishing your reputation if you are not sending enough volume consistently from an IP - in this case, a shared IP is preferred.

If your email sending is volatile with large spikes of volume, ESPs may assume those large spikes are spam. Also, if your overall volume is too low, they won't acknowledge your reputation. Generally, if you are sending less than 5,000 emails per day, a shared IP may be the right solution.

The other thing to consider is using separate IPs for your bulk and transactional mail. There are a couple reasons for this:

  • Delivery of time-sensitive transactional emails may get queued behind a large batch of bulk/marketing emails.
  • Your transactional mail will be affected by the reputation created by your bulk/marketing mail.

Mailgun's infrastructure mitigates some of the arguments for a dedicated IP address. First of all, we are constantly monitoring our shared IP addresses for any reputation issues. We also allow you to schedule delivery of your emails by using the o:deliverytime parameter. This allows you to delay the delivery by using a time in the future and also allows you to jump other messages in your queue (say from a large bulk mailing) by using a delivery time of now.

How do I pick a domain name for my Mailgun account?

The name of an email domain matters most for receiving messages: If your domain name is mycompany.com it means you can receive messages sent to xxx@mycompany.com

Domain names do not matter as much if you're only sending. You can send messages from sales@mycompany.com even if your domain name is called anothercompany.org. Although, it is best for deliverability if you are using the same domain in the From field that the actual sender is using.

There are two types of domains you can configure with Mailgun:

  • A sandbox subdomain of mailgun.org. Example: sandboxXX.mailgun.org . This option allows for quick testing, without having to setup DNS entries. This domain is provisioned automatically with every new account. But you can send only to authorized recipients .
  • Your own domain like mycompany.com . This requires you to configure some records at your DNS provider. We provide you with those records and instructions in your Control Panel.

If your company's primary domain is mycompany.com, we recommend the following domain names for mailgun:

  • mycompany.com , unless you ' re already using this name for your corporate email;
  • m.mycompany.com or mail.mycompany.com ;
  • mycompany.net or mycompany.org .

Sometimes, it is a good idea to separate the domains for the type of messages you are sending. For example, some companies will use a different domains or subdomains for bulk marketing mailings and transactional or corporate mail in order to keep the reputations separate.

Finally, if you want multiple addresses and you want to direct certain emails to certain IP addresses, you will need to have a unique domain or subdomain for each IP address. In this situation, it's best to contact our Support Team to discuss your infrastructure.

Can I use the same domain name for Mailgun and for Google Apps (or another email server)?

Yes, for sending. No, for receiving. Only one email server can receive messages for a given domain name. It could be either Mailgun or Google servers, but not both. However, you can use the same domain for sending at multiple servers. If you'd like to register your Domain at multiple servers for sending but you don't want to receive email at Mailgun, just don't configure your MX records to point to Mailgun.

If you are receiving emails elsewhere with your domain, we recommend using a subdomain at Mailgun so you can also receive emails at Mailgun. This helps improve deliverability and allows us to more easily deal with any issues that arise with recipient email servers.

Can I rename a domain?

No, you need to create a new one and delete the old one. It's a good idea to create the new one first.

What if I need multiple SPF records?

If you are using multiple email servers and you want an SPF record for each of them, you should NOT set up a separate TXT record for each. You need to include the different servers in the same record. Below is sample syntax:

'v=spf1 include:myemailserver.com include:mailgun.org ~all'

How do I know if my DNS records are set up correctly

We have a "Check DNS Records Now" button when you click on a domain in the Domains tab that will confirm that they are set up correctly and, if not, show the incorrect records in red.

You could also use dig in your command line interface.

Do you support SSL/TLS?

Only TLS is supported. Support for SSL has been dropped due to the POODLE security vulnerability.

Ok, everything is set up, how do I start using Mailgun?

Mailgun is primarily a developer's tool so the best way use Mailgun is through our APIs. They are quite RESTful and we've tried to make them as intuitive as possible. Our Quickstart Guide is a good place to start and you can also use the API Reference for more detail. We also expose a lot of the features through the Control Panel. The User Manual is a good place to get a full overview of all of the capabilities of Mailgun.