You don’t need to host your website with us to use our email services.
All our email accounts are provided with free anti-spam/virus protection with each email account being individually configured either via your Online Account or through our webmail interface. Additional email accounts can be easily added via your Online Account.
- Retrieve your emails via POP3 or IMAP using your favourite email client or mobile device
- Webmail Access
- Mail Forwarding
- Domain Email Aliasing
- Customised Rejections and Black Holes
- Roaming SMTP
- Free Anti-virus and Anti-spam.
POP3 and IMAP Mail Retreival
Email is delivered to a mailbox on our servers and can be retrieved using the two main connection methods of POP3 and IMAP.
POP3 is a simple email collection protocol that is ubiquitous in email clients. Easy and quick to set up, it is flexible and can be configured to collect and delete mail from the server or leave it there.
IMAP allows mail to be stored on the server. Folders can be created (and removed) on the server, and mail can be ‘synchronised’ between your device and the mail server. This allows greater freedom for mobile users, and also allows more features to be accessed from webmail. IMAP access is available concurrently with POP3 access.
In addition to mail access via a desktop client or mobile device, you can send and receive email using a web browser via our Webmail system. This makes it easy to keep up to date with your mail from any device anywhere in the world.
Mail Forwarding and Auto-Responders
You can configure your mail accounts to automatically forward all mail to another email address to enable you to set up shared incoming only addresses to serve your business. Examples might be for sales@ email addresses that you want to distribute mail to a number of recipients.
You can also set up Auto-Responders or Out of Office Attendants to automatically reply to any emails received. You can tailor the rules for these replies as you wish.
Domain email aliasing
This facility will allow you to alias all addresses on one domain onto another domain. This enables you to have multiple domains that all forward emails to the same user on the main domain. For example with domain forwarding of domain1.co.uk to domain2.co.uk you can forward @domain1.co.uk to @domain2.co.uk. This is particularly useful for parked domains and means that you don’t need to configure all your users on these domains.
Customisable Rejections and Black Holes
You can set up an address that will reject every message sent to it and return a customisable error message. This can be used if you need to close an email account because of spam, or an employee leaving – you can leave a message that tells people to re-send their email elsewhere. It has the advantages that spammers will not see the error message, and it does not create another message (like a regular autoresponder would) which could be sent to an innocent 3rd party as a result of spam.
In addition, it is useful sometimes to discard messages as soon as they arrive at the server, for example a ‘noreply’ address used to send out automated mails, that you don’t want to see replies to, but you do need a valid account for.
Roaming SMTP access
Unlike other hosting companies we provide SMTP as part of our email services. SMTP is the protocol used for sending emails.
Our authenticated SMTP gives you the ability to send mail through our network, no matter how or where you’re connected. No more worries about your current network provider’s SMTP server, just connect to smtp.yourdomain and send! Authenticated SMTP is more trusted with other mail servers, and less vulnerable to malware on your PC.
Anti Virus / Spam protection
An anti-spam and anti-virus solution is included for all mail accounts at no extra charge to augment your locally installed protection.
Bulk Email Service
If you need to email a large ‘validated’ number of email addresses, our Bulk Email Service helps you ensure successful delivery to the intended recipients.
The Bulk Email Service is designed to handle high volume email delivery.
Sending from a dialup/broadband connection may result in being blacklisted or being rejected by many ISP’s. Our servers are dedicated mail servers, meaning our IP addresses are registered as non-dynamic.
Even if our bulk mail server is listed on a blacklist due to another customer, we’ll make sure your mail gets through.
The bulk mail server is 5 times faster than the shared system at accepting mail, meaning your mailing list will be processed and sent a great deal faster than before.
Effective queue management:
This ensures that even if a remote server is down the message will be retried at frequent intervals until the message is delivered or more than 48 hours has passed.
Server is fully configured for reverse-dns queries.
Once setup, simply configure your mailing list software to send out using the information we send you over port 25, or 587 (port 587 can be used if your ISP blocks sending on port 25. AOL and Freeserve/Wanadoo are examples of ISPs that do). The username and password for this service will be the same as the nominated email address you have requested the Bulk Email Service to be enabled on.
Sending to ‘free’ email providers:
Sending messages to ‘free’ email services who receive a lot of spam, such as Hotmail and Yahoo – or service providers with a reputation system such as AOL – may cause you problems, if you don’t structure your messages in the correct way.
If you do find your messages to these providers are ending up in the ‘junk’ folders, then you may have to enquire as to why with the service providers themselves. It may be that their users have reported even legitimate mailings as spam, as many end-users do this erroneously.
Bulk email sent should only be sent to those who have opted to receive it. The list of addresses used should be a genuine opt-in and not opt-out (sometimes opt-out is called a soft opt-in).
Mail addresses purchased or obtained from third parties should never be used for marketing purposes as it is not possible to determine whether consent has been obtained; many lists are on sale and are often inaccurately described in this respect.
The sender address should be a genuine one, capable of receiving replies. These replies should be processed. In any large list, some will be “bounces” because addresses have become invalid; it is important that these are removed before subsequent emails are sent. Use of invalid addresses at remote sites within bulk emailings is a common cause of blacklisting as this is used as a measure of whether email is likely to be solicited or not. Other replies are likely to include queries about the content or requests for removal from the list for future mailings. These must be dealt with. All marketing material must include simple instructions for opting out of further mailings.
Email Viruses and Spam
What exactly is spam? – Unfortunately most of us are well-acquainted with ‘spam’ – or to give it its official name, UCE (Unsolicited Commercial Email). The name most likely came from a skit by Monty Python set in a cafe where there is only one item on the menu.
It is the electronic equivalent of the unwanted junk mail that comes through most people’s letterboxes on a daily basis.
Why is it such a problem?
Electronic messaging is a much cheaper method of sending an advertisement than by post – and the more you send the cheaper it gets in comparison.
It doesn’t matter that many never reach their target. It doesn’t matter that most of the rest are binned and never read. Believe it or not, some people do actually buy products advertised using spam mail – enough to make it a viable means of marketing. But because the ‘failure rate’ is so high spammers need to send hundreds of thousands of emails.
With the increasing popularity of the internet, the amount of spam being sent has increased to match. Internet resources such as server processing power and bandwidth are affected, and we waste time sifting through our mailboxes and deleting it.
As well as advertising, spam can be used for fraudulent means – obtaining personal information such as bank details. It may be designed to hijack your computer, either to send more spam or distribute viruses. Some spam is purely malicious, a ‘joke’ on the behalf of a programmer. Other times it will be used to promote sex sites and even illegal activities.
How is it sent?
Spammers usually use what are referred to as ‘open relays’ and ‘open proxies’. These are mail servers or home PCs that do not have adequate protection. Spammers gain control of these (illegally) and then use them to send emails – often without the owners’ knowledge.
Spammers are constantly looking to exploit any ‘back doors’ or vulnerabilities in software used on servers and PCs. They use networks of compromised machines, which makes them harder to pinpoint and shut down.
Why is it not blocked?
For every method of blocking so far devised, spammers will search for a solution.
‘Spoofing’ is the practice of forging an email address. Therefore when you block ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’ you are not blocking the REAL email address used. Other common techniques include spoofing genuine business’ names – banks, PayPal, Yahoo etc.
If you’ve ever received an email advertising v1@gr@ or similar you’ll also know that blocking certain words is also no longer effective. Emails might contain graphics or html code to disguise their real content or feature random phrases designed to appear like a real message.
How did they get my email address?
The most common way your email address will fall into a spammer’s hands is by you putting it in your webpage or by posting it to a forum or guestbook. Spammers use programs called ‘harvesters’ to trawl the internet for email addresses. If your address is visible to the harvester you will be added to a list. Spammers also sell email addresses so you could end up on many lists quickly.
Viruses can also be used to gain access to a computer and retrieve email distribution lists or lists of contacts.
Another method is to fire thousands of emails at a domain name using common names or formats – ‘info’, ‘enquiries’ for example, or ‘john’, ‘david’ etc. Any emails that don’t bounce back to the spammer undelivered most likely indicate a valid email address.
Replying to a spam email or clicking an ‘unsubscribe’ link lets the spammer know that there is a human being at the end of that particular email address. Sometimes even opening an email might send a hidden acknowledgement to the spammer that their email has been read.
How do I avoid getting spam?
Delete any emails without replying. If you’re sure it’s spam don’t even open it. NEVER click any links to be taken off the list.
Reputable institutions and businesses DO NOT ask for sensitive personal or financial details via email. If in doubt, TELEPHONE your bank or insurance company.
If you have to post your email address publicly use a format such as joe at yahoo dot com or yahoo.com first part is ‘joe’. Humans will understand, machines most likely will not.
Try not to use an obvious email address; use your initials and surname rather than just your first name; don’t use a ‘catch-all’ email address (i.e. one where email to email@example.com will get through); don’t reply to emails from people you don’t know offering money, goods or business partnerships. Genuine businessmen DO NOT trawl the internet looking for partners!
Be very careful what you sign up for or what you download. Free birthday organisers, ‘joke of the day’ sites and ‘smiley’ graphics are probably the most common things to avoid, but when giving your email address up for anything ask yourself, why am I being offered something for free? Is there a forum or usergroup on this site? Are there any warnings on the internet about this site? (do a search for ‘site name spam’ or ‘product/offer name spam’
Consider having a temporary email address for any mailing lists etc that you don’t know and trust – you can always delete it and re-register if you have to.
We use a spam database which keeps ‘fingerprints’ of spam emails. We also look for words/phrases which regularly occur in spam messages. Finally, we also check the machine that is sending the message in several different anti-spam databases.
In all, over 800 checks are carried out and each check will return a score. You can set a threshold for your mail and if the score is above that then the mail is designated suspect and will then be quarantined – more details below.
We have a database of viruses which is updated daily. The message and any attachments will be scanned and if it contains a known virus it will be quarantined.
When mail is downloaded, the contents of the quarantine stay on our server. The user is provided with a page where the contents of the quarantine can be inspected for ‘false positives’ (legitimate mail incorrectly identified as spam), and messages there can then be approved or removed.
Messages in the quarantine will be left on the server for 7 days by default (user-configurable) and then removed. The quarantine area can also be accessed as a separate folder called ‘Junk’ if you are using the IMAP service.
You can be updated as to the content of your quarantine by daily email if you wish.
As mentioned above, you can also tweak the spam-detection threshold. Not only that, this facility can be set per email address i.e. you can have a very high threshold on risky addresses like ‘sales@’ and a lower threshold on a safer address such as ‘yourfullname@’.
White and Black Lists
A whitelist will let you specify addresses that you want to receive mail from. This is useful in case there is some mail you wish to receive that is being incorrectly picked up by the spam filters. Conversely, a blacklist lets you specify addresses that you never want to receive mail from. Mail from these addresses will be rejected by the servers upon receipt. These lists can be configured from the mailbox control panel.
No guarantees can be made as to the effectiveness of this system, but testing has shown it to be very accurate and can cut out over 90% of spam if an appropriate threshold is used.
Finally, please remember that our anti-virus & anti-spam service should be regarded as an additional protection to anti-virus/spam being run on the receiving PC.
Talk to our sales team about your requirements on 020 3327 7399 or we can call you.