Briefly: Mail.Baby (by Interserver) is a very low-priced outbound email sending service. It ticked all the boxes except one security-related concern, which is why I did not go and actually test (or use) the service. Despite that, I’m writing this down as a personal reminder (and hoping they fix the here-noted problem so I can give the service a test).
Table Of Contents (T.O.C.):
- The security-related concern
- MailBaby service quality and reliability
- Technical support
- Prices, limits, alternatives, and how to order the service
- Conclusion – recommendations
1. The security-related concern
“Mail Baby” requires that you add your hosting server’s IP address in the SPF DNS record, thus making it publicly visible.
That is: the IP address of the server you are sending the emails from (or where your app is sending the emails from).
So, even if you are using Cloudflare proxy (or a similar service), and a (separately) hosted email service, your server’s IP will be publicly visible if you configure your DNS to satisfy MailBaby’s requirements.
Here are their SPF record instructions:
TLDR: Add include:relay.mailbaby.net ip4:MAIN_SERVERIP_ADDRESS to your DNS spf record.
Note: The server connecting IP should be added to the spf record. Directadmin and cPanel servers default spf include the main ip of the server. While email delivery when using mailbaby will not use this IP, mailbaby servers will look at the SPF record to ensure the connecting server is authorized to send email for the specific domain.MailBaby’s SPF record setup instructions
I did contact an Interserver representative to confirm this, and they did – I do need to add my server’s IP to the SPF record. For me, that did not seem like a good idea, so I decided not to use the service.
For example, MXroute and MailChimp’s Mandrill services don’t require this IP “indiscretion” in order to work properly.
If Mail Baby ever changes this policy, I’d be more than happy to give the service a try for my forum’s transactional emails (user notifications on post replies and similar), because it seems to tick all the boxes (apart from that security concern), as I’ll explain in the rest of this article.
In separate articles, I’ve already explained:
- How to configure your DNS for good email deliverability.
- What do the email-related DNS records mean and how are they related?
2. MailBaby service quality and reliability
Mail Baby is owned by Interserver, a renowned web hosting company (it’s their spin-off brand).
While I’ve decided to not use the service myself (for reasons explained in section 1 of this article), I trust feedback from many members of the LowEndSpirit forum. Based on that, Mail Baby’s service is very good. This is the relevant forum thread:
3. Technical support
As I still haven’t tried the service, I still don’t know.
Pre-sales experience was not stellar (I had to ask an Interserver representative on a forum in order to get concrete answers to my questions). But it’s a low-cost service, so that’s understandable – I can’t draw any conclusions about the tech. support quality based on that (writing that in case someone with a poor pre-sales experience comes to read this).
As I said in section 2, many LowEndSpirit forum guys are happy with the service.
4. Prices, limits, alternatives, and how to order the service
The pricing is very straightforward:
- You pay a minimum of $1 per month
As a basic keep-alive account subscription, which also covers 5,000 emails.
- Every 1,000 emails cost $0.2 (20 cents).
The only cheaper service that I could find (that allows you to send many emails per month and per hour) is Amazon SES (at $0.1 per 1,000 emails). Most other services (of remotely decent quality and email deliverability) are several times more expensive.
Sending limits are the following:
- 6,000 emails per hour – per email address (not per Mail Baby account).
- If you send over 6,000 emails in one hour, all the “excess” emails (beyond the 6,000th email) will be disregarded.
MailChimp’s Mandrill service costs over 4 times more, but they will queue any emails past your hourly send limit, and send them in the following hour(s). Their sending limit goes as high as 12,000 emails per hour. MailChimp charges $20 for 25,000 email blocks, but the unused blocks can’t be transferred to the following month (so you will be spending at least $20 each month, and the 25,001st email will cost you another $20 block – MailChimp’s Mandrill pricing).
How to register with Interserver and order the Mail Baby service:
- Go to the Interserver site to create an account:
- Once you’ve created the account, and confirmed your account registration email, you can order the MailBaby service at:
(Mail -> Order)
5. Conclusion – recommendations
Well, I’m quite pleased with this (p)review. Haha. 🙂 It has all the information I was looking for in one place, so I can easily freshen my memory.
If Mail Baby changes their “risky” SPF policy, I would be happy to give the service a try (and keep using it – if it proves to be as good as the LowEndSpirit forum folks who’ve been using it say it is).
As it is now, I’m sticking with MXroute, with their awesome service (as I’m still nowhere near their 300 emails per hour, per email address limit).
If you have any comments or questions, please use the BikeGremlin forum thread related to this article: