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Benefits of using Mandrill for email delivery

Discussion in 'Forum Management' started by ForestForTrees, Apr 8, 2015.

  1. ForestForTrees

    ForestForTrees Well-Known Member


    What are the benefits of using Mandrill for email delivery for a small to moderate forum?

    I've been investigating it recently because I was intrigued by the fact that it offers additional reports, which could be valaubale. One of the clients on my VPS has been causing us some difficulties with email delivery, and I want all of the information that I can get. I also like that at our volume of messages sent, the full version is completely free.

    I think it would be fun to set up, so as long as there are some small benefits that are relevant to us, I'm good to go.
  2. Robby

    Robby Well-Known Member

    I just set it up and i am amazed by the infrastructure.
    You can see where the mails go, bounced etc but you can see every mail apart.
    If there is a problem you can find it more quickly.
    The first 12000 mails are completely free and i am also a mailchimp user so i get 1000 mails extra for free.
    Just try it. It's great.
    jauburn likes this.
  3. Sim

    Sim Well-Known Member

    I've been using Mandrill for years now across dozens of websites - I highly recommend it.

    The primary purpose is to increase the deliverability of your emails - Mandrill makes it really easy to set up SPF and DKIM so that your emails are trusted as being from a legitimate source, and they strive to keep their servers reputation high to ensure that emails aren't arbitrarily blocked by receiving servers.

    Secondary (but still very important) benefits are being able to track outbound emails to help debug sending problems and for logging purposes.

    It's also great for testing emails in development or testing environments.

    I have a development server which sends emails via Mandrill, which I use for testing and troubleshooting.

    I then also have local "test" copies of all of my websites which are updated regularly with an import of the production database with all users and content for the site. Because I don't want this test copy to go sending emails to users (which would really confuse them!), and I don't want to disable emails completely via the config.php because I still want to test things - I can set up a "test key" in Mandrill such that any emails sent using that key will just be logged and not actually delivered to their destination. This way, I can put Mandrill into test mode and see which emails are being sent and test that everything is working as expected.
    jauburn likes this.
  4. Fred.

    Fred. Well-Known Member

    I also switched to Mandrill last night. I already love it!
    The reports are great! :cool:
    jauburn likes this.
  5. Despair

    Despair Active Member

    They seem to have an ongoing issue with gmail where emails can be delayed anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour? I read about it a while ago and heard they fixed it, but I'm still having this issue. Emails to hotmail for example still arrive instantly. Anyone still have this issue recently, or is it just me?
  6. RoldanLT

    RoldanLT Well-Known Member

    This issue is still an issue until now.
    TAZ and Centminmod forum use Mandrill an all emails from them are delay.
    Despair likes this.
  7. Robby

    Robby Well-Known Member

    Not having that problem... Also have gmail.
  8. Solidus

    Solidus Well-Known Member

    Yep, no problem either.
  9. Sim

    Sim Well-Known Member

    Same here - I use the Google Apps version of gmail for my main mailbox and have no problems receiving emails from Mandrill.

    It's possible that they are hitting throttle limits in Mandrill because their account has a bad reputation?

    If it's happening with some destinations but not others, I'd suggest it might be something at the Gmail end causing problems.

    Either way, I've have a close look at the reputation of the mail domain and sending address - perhaps also check for blacklists using a look like http://mxtoolbox.com/
  10. Fred.

    Fred. Well-Known Member

    I also use Google Apps, no delay here. Same minute delivery. (y)
  11. jauburn

    jauburn Well-Known Member

    I must say that it would be a sad day for me when I couldn't use Mandrill any more. Reason: I no longer have to worry about the integrity of my server or, more precisely, getting complaints from my web host (not that I had any with my current forum, but I had plenty with a forum that I used to manage) because of users reporting forum messages as "spam." Mandrill provides a level of protection from that kind of "server blacklisting" issue that having the server send out messages does not.

    And there's also the reporting. I'm usually stunned (and pleased) that Mandrill usually reports my "reputation" at 99.5 percent. I get reports on bounces and spam complaints. Spam complaints are invariably at 0, but occasionally I get a bounce or two. "A bounce or two" is amazingly good, by the way, and I attribute that to the add-on bd Mails, which I see now is no longer available (argh! no doubt because xenforo somehow now handles bounces...haven't figured that out or wanted to).

    Another plus: The service costs next to nothing, at least for me. I think you get a decent quota of sends every month, beyond which you pay something (but not much).

    I think there's also the same kind of value provided as when you move your personal email away from a single provider like Verizon.com and onto, say, a personal domain or a service that's portable.
    Deriel likes this.
  12. RDR

    RDR Well-Known Member

  13. RichardGaspa

    RichardGaspa Active Member

    I am the first one to admit I am not a very good administrator when it comes to the back end of running a forum. My talent runs in design, content, and keeping the site active and alive. That said, knowing I am a dummy on the back side of my site. Is it hard to install, setup and use Mandrill for email? I know those of you that are guru's are going to say it's no sweat to do, but for a guy like me, even upgrading to a new version of an addon is a challenge. :confused:
  14. Fred.

    Fred. Well-Known Member

    If you have multiple forums, do you have a separate Mandrill account for every forum?
    Or do you have them in 1 account?

    1 thing I notice is that you can only set up 1 bounce account. I don't think that's going to work.
  15. Sim

    Sim Well-Known Member

    I run multiple websites (including multiple forums) - the sites I own are all in one Mandrill account while the others that are owned by my clients or by other companies that I own are in separate accounts.

    I use Mandrill subaccounts to separate the statistics and control of each different site in my main account - with the subaccounts set by way of Mandrill rules.

    However, there are two reasons you want to be careful running multiple sites in the one account:

    1. a sudden drop in reputation of one site might cause problems across your other sites in the same account.

    However, if you use tags and subaccounts you can usually see exactly where the problem lies and address it before it becomes a big issue.

    I recently had a problem where one of my blogs was using a plugin which sends new-comment notification emails to people who commented on one of the posts. I think a bug in the plugin meant that people could not effectively unsubscribe from the updates, so someone started marking all the emails being sent as spam. Rather than marking the entire account as having a low reputation, Mandrill simply marked the tag being used for that function on that site - it helped me track down exactly where the problem was occurring (I was able to search on recently sent emails for that tag) and none of the other systems seemed to be affected.

    2. there is a limit to the number of tags you can have in one account.

    While you may only use a couple of tags for each site, if you have multiple sites you may find yourself getting close to that limit. Also be aware that the official WordPress plugin for Mandrill actually associates a different tag with each different mail sending routine in WordPress - so you may end up using far more tags than you had intended.

    3. as you mentioned - there can only be one bounce account set up for a Mandrill account. I haven't actually gone down the path of integrating bounced email processing from Mandrill into XenForo yet (mainly because I do have multiple forums in the one account).

    Also, I'm not sure I want all emails from the entire domain being sent to XenForo for processing - I run multiple non-forum services associated with each forum (HelpDesk, blog, CRM etc) and there are typically multiple email addresses being used which might all have different bounce requirements.

    I need to spend some time designing a bounce management plan for my systems which includes linking in to the automated XenForo bounce processor. I may look at building a custom Mandrill webhook which parses bounced emails and sends those related to the forum on to the XenForo bounce processor for handling (bypassing the inbound bounced email mailbox). Haven't looked at the guts of this system yet to work out the best way of doing this - but it's on my todo list soon.

    Assuming you only use Mandrill for your forum emails - having separate forums in separate Mandrill accounts would allow you to use the XenForo bounce processing by having bounced emails forwarded to your bounce mailbox by Mandrill.

    I should see if anyone has suggested having multiple bounce destinations in Mandrill (eg one per subaccount) - because that would nicely solve this issue for most people.
    Fred. likes this.
  16. Alfa1

    Alfa1 Well-Known Member

    Interesting topic. Do you think it would be possible to use the mandrill functionality for an addon that displays a notice to members who have marked as spam and ask them to undo this? Or even lock their account until they have done so?
    Fred. likes this.
  17. Fred.

    Fred. Well-Known Member

    I set it up in 1 account for now using a sub account. But for bounced emails I just use gmail.
  18. Sim

    Sim Well-Known Member

    Absolutely. This is exactly the type of functionality I was thinking of building for my own sites.

    If someone marks your forum emails as spam, you really don't want to continue sending them emails because it will simply lower your sending reputation (both with Mandrill and with the receiving email server).

    Mandrill does temporarily reject outbound emails sent to bounced email addresses (will need to double check whether it also rejects outbound emails sent to spam complainers), but those rejection lists are only temporary and you are expected to adjust your database to avoid sending to them again in the future.
    Alfa1 likes this.
  19. Fred.

    Fred. Well-Known Member

    Last week I noticed a member that marked me as spam, so I banned her with notification "Marked e-mail as spam"
    Today I see there are a lot more spam complains, all from the same user.

    After some research I saw she was watching one of my most busy forums and he had direct e-mail notification on.
    So she got an e-mail for every thread that was created. (She probably switched that on without knowing what she was doing)

    So it looks like she is upset now and started marking all the e-mails as spam.
    Not good for me because the reputation goes down because of a stupid member that doesn't know what she is doing!

    Is there anything I can do?
    I Guess it does make a difference if the same user marks me 100 times for spam or only once? Or not?
  20. Zynektic

    Zynektic Well-Known Member

    I had issues with this. I ran a database query to remove ALL watched threads for every user, put a thread up to notify them this was done and any new registrations does not automatically receive email on threads.

    You could just do it for this specific user though, mines a new board so easier to do.

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