Email reliability is a very central and primary goal of OCS Solutions. We have dozens of scripts and processes that run throughout the day, helping our technicians ensure that your mail is received and delivered without a hitch. Customers expect their email to work with the reliability of a utility, and, for the most part, we achieve this.
Before we dive into specifics, I need to define our services. We have two separate email services – our Workspace Mail systems and our cPanel-based shared hosting systems. The majority of the items we’ll be discussing in this blog post are related to our cPanel-based mail systems. Our Workspace Mail system is on a completely different infrastructure and is dedicated to mail. It is a completely separate product and does not come with shared hosting accounts.
On our cPanel shared hosting systems, we serve both websites and mail from these servers. The primary focus is web hosting – email is provided as a free add-on to the web hosting service. While cPanel provides an extremely robust email system, any time you host email and websites on the same server (and more importantly, the same IP address), you may have issues with email.
This is a well-known fact in the hosting industry, but is something that doesn’t get a lot of public attention. I believe most hosting companies don’t want to discuss this issue because it exposes a critical flaw in the way email is handled. In shared hosting, you will invariably, from time to time, have a website that sends SPAM. This is almost always an accident – a hacking attack on an outdated WordPress site or something similar, but the cleanup from these incidents can be extraordinarily time consuming.
We have scripts in place that prevent large SPAM outbreaks. Oftentimes a hacker is only able to send a couple of dozen mails before they are caught and blocked. Even so, large mail providers have a zero-tolerance policy, and rightfully so. Because of this, our shared hosting servers may temporary be blocked or limited by some providers. When this happens, we immediately request de-listing, but this process can take up to 24 hours. In the meantime, you may not be able to send mail to some recipients.
This is a very unfortunate cycle and keeps our support team busy. While we pursue these reports diligently, ultimately we cannot guarantee extreme email reliability on our shared hosting infrastructure. We’ve had two alternatives in place to remedy this – our Workspace Mail product and our dedicated cPanel email server.
Our dedicated cPanel email server is a stand alone system that hosts no websites. It’s only focus is to provide email and nothing else. It doesn’t get blacklisted because it doesn’t have websites and thus insecure WordPress plugins and contact forms. It enjoys an extremely high delivery rate and customers never report issues with it. And, because it’s cPanel, we can easily migrate the mail portion of an account over to it and leave the web hosting part, simplifying deployment. Passwords, webmail settings and even address books can be preserved.
Yes, this process does create two cPanel logins. But if a customer had Google or Microsoft mail, or our Workspace Mail product, this would be the case anyway. Regretfully we cannot combine the two logins, but this is the nature of the cure – if we had a way to tie the two pieces together under the same login, it would be on the same server, and thus have the same issues as the email on our shared hosting systems.
In addition to this service change, we are also increasing the frequency of our scanning scripts to clamp down on spammers even more aggressively. We have deployed a system to scan for out of date WordPress installations and insecure contact forms and will be contacting clients who have these on their sites with notices to upgrade these elements.
Despite all of these changes, we must also admit that we are not Google or Microsoft, the world’s two largest business email providers. We’ve always been very forthcoming of our strengths and weaknesses, but it is clear that only companies of that size can dominate the business email hosting industry. We prefer to engage customers on a more personal basis and provide hand-crafted solutions.
I hope that you have found this transparent glimpse into our hosting systems and policies beneficial. If you have any questions about it, please contact us.