Webhosts which support external SMTP servers

Does anyone know of a webhost which doesn’t block external SMTP servers over PHP? In other words, I need to be able to use an SMTP server with FormLoom to send email, but which isn’t the webhost’s mail server.

OK… thoughts on where to ask then?

For anything server or hosting related you’ll probably find an answer at https://www.webhostingtalk.com/

Other than that, you could try asking your preferred host(s) direct. I may have a similar issue to deal with soon, since I am building a new site for a client that already has a website and all their mail goes through a separate mail server linked to Outlook. I am pretty sure they want to keep it that way.

Thanks for that. I dare say it’s not an uncommon request…

If I come back screaming in an hour you’ll know I cannot do this with my web host.

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OK so you can then? Who is your webhost?

TBH I haven’t chased this up any further yet…

So you are looking for an open relay, I wouldn’t personally because Open mail relays are often abused by naughty people and often on spam blacklists, you could look at cloudflare.

Could you explain why you require this, an email forwarder might be the best option.

It’s just for online forms which email receipts. I’m using a different mail server from the one provided by my webhost, and they won’t let me use it via the web.

I’ve heard the argument that mail relays are susceptible to spam. I’m trying to understand how more so than any other mail server. In this scenario for instance, FormLoom (or any form plugin) sends an email receipt via SMTP. Why does it matter if the SMTP server is smtp.mydomain.com or smtp.thirdpartyrelay.com? Either way people or bots can spam forms (although I use reCapcha)…

Sorry still not getting why you cannot use your own domain.

And in answer to your why are open relays bad. See http://www.spamhelp.org/shopenrelay/ spam, dos, etc.

I can use my own domain, but I’m using Mailgun, which is preferred. My own domain has deliverability issues too, Mailgun does not. I’m just looking for a webhost which doesn’t block external SMTP via web.

Thanks for the link – still don’t see how it applies though. Mailgun is reputable, no delivery issues, and fully authenticated. And in the case of webforms, they’re not actually sent from the end-user’s email address.

Ok get it now, take a look at sendy https://sendy.co

On second thoughts, take me through, step by step the sequence of what you want to achieve.

  1. A customer comes to your site.
  2. They click a button.

And so on.

All good. I’m quite happy with Mailgun. Just want to be able to use it with my webhost. Looking for a webhost which allows third-party SMTP via PHPmail.

Ok, but still don’t get what the problem you’re having as mailgun offer full SMTP service.

Hi Andy, et. al. As this is public and a lot of information floating around, I thought I’d help users clarify. Connecting to external SMTP servers via PHP (External is defined as a server that your site is not hosted on) can (and commonly is) blocked on webhosts. Why? It’s a very common method for spammers to send spam. When spammers successfully use this mechanism for sending spam, it is almost, if not completely, impossible for a webhost to locate the spammer’s script. This means that the spammer can use the server as they wish to send spam, perform a DDOS attack, etc. This happens while the ‘innocent’ server/webhost is blacklisted, blocked, etc and user site’s and email delivery are impacted. I would be very weary of a host that does not block external SMTP servers via PHP. In my opinion, they are playing fast and loose with your site and email reputation. Who knows what other corners they are cutting.

I am glad our recommendation is working well for you. As you mentioned, however, you can simply use you local SMTP server. 250 messages/hr is a large quantity for a contact form. Another option is FormsPlus which supports Postmarkapp. Finally, a third option, is your own VPS. I know I’ve recommended this to you previously, but an org of your size would benefit from the ability to tailor the server to your needs.

I hope this helps you and others and can use this as a resource.


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Yes, they do, but it’s blocked by my webhost. Hence I’m looking for a webhost which doesn’t do this.

Thanks Greg. A lot of people prefer to use third party mail servers (Google, Microsoft, Mailgun, Sendy etc). And quite a number of web hosts would seem to be OK about doing this. I fully support you in your policy however. But that doesn’t mean it’s for everyone. Cheers!