[Mailman-Users] Sending bulk mail (400,000 users)

Brad Knowles brad at shub-internet.org
Mon Apr 13 21:21:47 CEST 2009

on 4/11/09 11:08 AM, Phoenix Kiula said:

> Hi. I need to send annoucements to a large opt-in list.
> Having never done this before and not being now confident if PHP's
> mail() can manage it, I was pointed to mailman.
> My questions:

For all your questions, I would encourage you to first visit our FAQ at 
<http://wiki.list.org/x/AgA3>.  There is a decent search function, and 
the FAQ is broken down by various sections.

> (1) Is it possible for mailman to send emails where the "to:" header
> has the email of a specific recipient? It's more personal than sending
> to a common email address.

Mailman has some personalization options, yes.  For more details, see 
the FAQ.

> (2) Secondly, on a 2GB memory server with fast SATA hard disks, is
> sending email to 400,000 users possible with mailman? Will it
> automatically take care of delays etc between batches of sending?

There are too many factors involved to be able to say for sure.  Try 
searching the FAQ for "performance".

I will say that what you're talking about is not out of the realm of 
possibility, and might even be reasonably easy to do, with the right MTA 
with the right configuration, etc....  But there are far too many other 
variables to be able to give a blanket statement based on such few facts.

That said, coming on this list and asking for advice on how to send to a 
claimed opt-in list of 400k users might be considered by some people to 
be a bit suspicious.  We've had some not-so-bright spammers come on here 
before to try to get us to help them send out their effluent faster, and 
I think we have successfully discouraged the less intelligent ones away.

I would encourage you to be really, really sure that the list in 
question is truly 100% confirmed double opt-in, and not just some 
spammer list that is being imported from some other provider because 
they got kicked off.  There are responsible e-mail marketing resources I 
can point you to that can help you with these kinds of tasks, if you're 

I don't mean to offend, but you should understand that it can be 
difficult to tell the difference between a spammer who is pretending to 
be a white hat, and a real white hat who just has a large-ish job to do.

> (3) How can I make sure that the emails sent honor my DNZ zone records
> and pick up my SPF settings, and my Domain Keys? Or is that something
> the receiver's email client does as long as these are validly
> published on my domain?

All of those things are external to Mailman.  It would be up to your MTA 
to make sure that all outbound mail conforms to the appropriate 
standards, and up to the recipient MTAs to ensure that they perform the 
appropriate functions relative to those standards.

I can tell you right now that not all of those recipient servers will 
act appropriately.  You're going to have to decide how you're going to 
handle that.

Brad Knowles
<brad at shub-internet.org>        If you like Jazz/R&B guitar, check out
LinkedIn Profile:                 my friend bigsbytracks on YouTube at
<http://tinyurl.com/y8kpxu>    http://preview.tinyurl.com/bigsbytracks

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