CivicCRM, Dreamhost, Mass Mail

CivicCRM has a good mass mail facility. Question is, what restrictions in Dreamhost will it run up against? For example, if I have 5000 contacts and want to do a mass mail to all of them, will they all flow out seamlessly, or will it get stopped at 200 messages, or will it take 4 days to send everything? Could it time out?

Alternatively, is there any reason to consider using a Dreamhost announcement list for this purpose (though it seems heartbreakingly stupid to have to avoid using one of CiviCRM’s features).

I’d appreciate comments from anyone who has actually done this. Thank-you.

Hi there!

“CiviCRM works well except that CiviMail is limited by outbound mail throttle of 100/hr from Dreamhost anti-spam policy. (200/hr for shell accounts.) DH may be willing to lift the throttle under compliance with strict rules. Shared hosting environment also causes variable response times (less politely, the page load times are crap for some accounts, mainly due to slow MySQL query times)” - via

That description is accurate as far as our policies go. You’ll definitely break your email if you try to use CiviCRM to send a bulk emailing of 5,000 contacts! If you can prove you are anti-spam policy compliant (re: opt-in confrimations) we could only increase your mailing quota to 500 per hour, so at best you would have a 10 hour process to mail to 5,000 contacts.

An announcement list with 5,000 contacts will self-throttle over several hours. Unfortunately, the email service we offer in conjunction with our hosting plans is not designed for mass-email services.

If you do need to send bulk email in high quantities like that, we recommend you use a service designed for that (you can do this easily with custom MX records you can point to a higher-voulme friendly service).
However you send your emails, please be aware of our anti-spam policy to avoid risking account termination. More info can be had here: and here:

Hope this helps! If you have any questions, please reply here or email us! :slight_smile:

Thanks for your honest reply, even though it isn’t very satisfying. I do need to send bulk email in high quantities, just not very often. Obviously, I want them to all be sent, and within a reasonable timeframe.

Even at the 500/hr rate, my 5000 mailing will take 10 hours. Hmph. Grumble.

As for your suggestion “If you do need to send bulk email in high quantities like that, we recommend you use a service designed for that (you can do this easily with custom MX records you can point to a higher-volume friendly service)” - can you explain a way to make this work where my Dreamhosted CiviCRM database is the engine, but the other guy’s mail server is sending the mail?

This leads me to the conclusion that if I can’t use all the functionality designed in CiviCRM, especially the mail piece which for me is an essential component, then I should not consider Dreamhost for any of it. Unfortunate, because I have been quite happy with Dreamhost for years, for a number of domains.

I wonder if there’s a way to use a mailing list instead of CivicCRM’s mail tool - comes to mind (though it can take up to 6 hours). They seem to have a CivicMail add on, so it’s possible someone could interface adding people to a mailing list for that purpose.

What Elle was saying about with the MX records is done via DNS, not your app. Here’s a doc we have on it:

Thanks for your note. I considered using an announcement list but as Elle points out, it is throttled down too, just like mail coming from CiviCRM’s mail engine. Can you point me to the “CivicMail add on” you mentioned?

I understand the MX record, my question was related to the CiviCRM process that matches the contacts with the mail piece -does that still happen in Dreamhost? Then does the CiviCRM mail engine send the 5000 email messages over to someone else’s mail server as configured in the MX record?

Actually, having thought about this for more days than I was hoping to, I’m thinking 10 hours for a 5000 piece mail out isn’t bad. I understand Dreamhost’s opt-in requirement, and that’s the plan anyway.

What does Elle mean by “You’ll definitely break your email” with a 5000 piece mail out?

Thanks, Arthur

CiviMail, sorry -

I actually don’t know the answer to the mail engine question, but if you open a support ticket, I know we have some mail gurus who would! (Mail and DNS and mod_security are my nemiseses.) I believe that since the mail is processed by another MX server, it won’t hit our limits, but I wouldn’t take that as written in stone.

Elle? :slight_smile:

Sorry about that! What I meant by breaking your email was that if you just decided to send a 5,000-contact bulk emailing out (without using something like an announcement list), you’ll definitely encounter issues.