[Catalyst] SMTP vs sendmail

Carl Johnstone catalyst at fadetoblack.me.uk
Fri Aug 31 14:17:26 GMT 2007

> Except by piping to sendmail, you can also specify -odq, which says
> to sendmail 'dump this into the mail queue and return immediately, I 
> don't want to wait for delivery to work' which can make the  application 
> much faster and leave the mail delivering to sendmail.

No difference, when I SMTP my mail the server only has to dump it into it's 
queue, then I get the OK back.

> The best solution would be to do both, use sendmail on the web server  to 
> deliver into a local mail queue which is forwarded to the  smarthost for 
> delivery.

No point, you're just adding an additional MTA into the loop.

I suggested using the mail gateway as at any decent ISP it's likely to 
almost always be available. Unlike individual servers which may have broken 
config etc. So unless the local MTA needs the services of a smart host for 
routing problems, then it's extra hops.

> That way you get the advantage of having the  mail server handle the mail, 
> while freeing you from having to write  your own version of sendmail to 
> deal with these situations:
> * What does your application do if the smarthost is getting pounded  by 
> spammers and that outgoing socket connect fails?
> * What does your applicaiton do if the smarthost is down for  maintenance 
> or hardware failure?

I'd do the same as what I'd do if I were piping to sendmail - you do check 
the return value of the open? And all the print statements? And the close 
statement don't you?

Does your ISP keep a close eye on mail queues to make sure that the stuff 
you're blindly dumping on the local MTA is actually getting delivered?


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