Questions on email sending limits

software development


Not sure if this is the right spot for this question, but here it goes anyway

I know there’s a limit of 200 emails per hour to be sent. this is more than reasonable since I don’t think many people send that amount of emails on a regular basis. However:

1.- is this limit set for each account? for each domain? or for each DH customer altogether?

2.- an email sent to several CC or BCC recipients counts as 1 email or does it count as 1 per every recipient?

3.- in the same line as the previous question, if I use php mail() to send one email to a group of users (1 instance of the mailer, running just once, with several recipients in the To,CC or BCC fields) does count as 1 email (better said, 1 email per each time the script runs) or 1 per each recipient?

thanks in advance!


Actually, I think those are good questions, and they have come up for discussion a few times before.

The last time this was discussed in depth, Jeff from DreamHost confirmed that the limit is for each “machine user”. If a user has several domains, they are all tallied together. This is one of the reasons I usually create a new user for each domain.

Each recipient counts as an email against the quota.

Like the previous question - each recipient counts as an email against the quota.




thanks for the quick reply… it has been much helpful.


rl, I think you may be partially incorrect with your information regarding machine accounts. It looks like it will depend how you’re sending the emails - from an email client/webmail, or via php mail().

Take a look at the following correspondance between myself and DH support on 12th Feb 2008 after asking a very similar question:

#a is correct. Each mailbox can send 100 emails per hour. What we mean by “recipient” is that an email to an individual email address. This means if you send out 1 email which is CC’d to 10 people, that counts as 10 recipients. If you send that same email again to same group that counts as 10 more recipients for a total of 20 so far that hour.
This would indicate to me that simply a different EMAIL USER would have its own quota, although if you’re using a php mail() system, that would use the machine user’s quota, so yes you would be advised to keep each domain in its own user account for that reason. If however you are just emailing from a mail client (using the mailbox user rather than the machine user), you will have a seperate quota for that.

Hope that makes sense?


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Actually I think what I said was completely accurate (as far as it went), but you are completely correct that it makes a difference how you are sending the email … and the confusion seems to come from which “user” we are talking about as a “machine user”.

My original answer was directed solely at “website” generated email that does not use SMTP (php mail(), sendmail, etc), where the limit is actually 200 per hour, and the quota is based entirely upon the machine user under which the domain is run.

Your response from support deals with “the other quota” of 100 emails an hour for each “machine user’s” SMTP usage - and I glad to see DreamHost confirm that they will allow that quota for each “email account”. A full “mailbox” email account is, in fact, a “machine user”, albeit one with limited capabilities. :wink:

As you noted, where you are likely to run into issues is if you are hosting multiple domain run under the same machine user and using each of those website is sending mail from the website using non-smtp methods (which is why I focused on that in my response).

Thanks for the "heads up’! :wink:



Thanks for the info rl & digital.

Combining your responses gave me the ‘whole picture’ regarding email limits.


A-ha, yeah i’m with you now :slight_smile:

I thought you were talking generally and meaning that any email sent from an address would be counted as the user’s quota - which obviously is incorrect.

Also, i wasn’t thinking of the mailbox as a restricted machine user, but thinking about it sensibly, of course it is! :wink:

Just to clarify… where does the 200 email quota come in as opposed to the 100 quota?


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Per the relevant DreamHost Wiki Article, it seems to be “machine users” (shell, ftp users) sending mail using methods other than SMTP (sendmail, php mail(), etc.) that are allowed the higher quota.

The language there is a little misleading, as they say “(sending using scripts via PHP/CGI, etc.)”, and you could certainly send mail via SMTP using a script (though most use sendmail or php mail()). :wink:

It’s also worth noting that you can petition DH for an increase of this quota to facilitate a particular need, for instance in the case of a particularly busy forum that needs to send a lot of account confirmation emails, etc.

While I have not seen DH state on the record how high they are willing to go, I recall anecdotal information from others that indicates they have been successful at getting it raised, in certain circumstances, to as high as 500 - but I can’t confirm that.



Thanks for clarifying that rl.

Good to hear the limits can be reviewed under certain circumstances, and i’m sure DH Support will look at any requests rationally - everything else about them seems to be reasonable and personal, so I see no reason why they wouldn’t be human in their approach to mail quotas.

Luckily (or maybe unlucky) i’ve not got any sites that are busy enough with emails to warrant concern, but it’s good to know we can reach out for help in exception cases. :slight_smile:


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