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Secondary (Backup) MX record

By smight ·
Very large companies have multiple mail servers at multiple sites. Therefore, these alrge companies will already have multiple MX records. Very small companies usually do not host thier own mail server and use an ISP to host mail. If they are using a good ISP their mail will already be using multiple MX records.

The problem is for companies like mine. We host our own mail server. However, for cost reasons, we have a single ISP, a single firewall and a single mail server. If anything bad happens (like power outage, firewall issues, ISP down, email congestion, and anything else known to cause mail server problems) people who send us email get an NDR as the email bounces.

The solution is to have a second MX record that causes inbound email to try a second mail server if the first is down. This way people who send you email do not get bounced messages. In order for this to work, you should have your second MX record really be redundant. It should point to a different ISP and at different location and be ona different hardware platform.

I was looking for a solution for this problem. I wanted to buy store and forward service or relay service from my ISP but they don't offer it. I tried to buy it from a few large hosting companies but they don't offer it either. I also trued to buy services from some of the SPAM filtering and AV filtering companies. I found a few who offer the service as part of a larger SPAM or AV filtering service, but thier business models were targeted to large companies with over 100 users. The annual recurring costs we quite high. One place charged $500 setup and $2500 annually. Ouch.

Maybe you guys know of something I am overlooking. But we decided to deploy the service ourself. We are hosting a second mail server at a tier one colocation facility and it is configured as our backup MX record. It will store mail for me if my primary mail server is offline. When my mail server comes back online, my second mail server will dump all the queued email to the first mail server. I set this all up on a dedicated hardware platform with new equipment and locked it down tight for security. It does only 1 thing (SMTP relay for certain domains) and it does that really well.

I started this discussion because I wanted to offer this service to anyone who needs store and forward capabilities. I would have bought this service from someone else myself if I could find the right deal. But as it turns out I decided to create the solution myself.

If you are interested, you can create a second MX record at a lower priority and point it to my server. Let me know and I will configure relay for you to dump mail back on your server when you come back online. I can help you with DNS setup information and with manually testing the mail configuration so that you know it works. I can help you read the mail headers and everything so that you know what the deal is. Configuration is easy. I don't host any mailboxes, so I just receive mail as *@yourdomain.com and then forward it to you. I don't need to know any email account information or passwords or users or anything. We created a business model for this service and we are initially charging $199 per year for two days worth of store and forward. After a 2 day period, mail will begin to be overwritten and senders will get NDRs. We are working on a pricing model for customers who need potentially 10 days or 2 weeks worth of store and forward.

Email me at chris.britt@truewater.com if you are interested. I'd be glad to help.

Thanks,
Chris Britt

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