What is a Mail Service Provider?

You may wish to have more control over your email by using a Mail Service Provider (MSP) which provides enhanced features including improved reliability, security, and spam prevention.

A Mail Service Provider, or MSP, provides the following features:

  • Enhanced services related to email transport.
  • Outsourced services such as virus scanning, SPAM filtering, and policy enforcement, but do not typically host email addresses.
  • A robust Message Transfer Agent (MTA) for their clients' domains and offload processing tasks.

Why would I want to use an MSP?

Due to their specialization, an MSP can provide improved email handling, over and above DreamHost's service. MSPs are most attractive to business users who rely heavily on email.

Here are a few highlights of what an MSP can provide:

  • Reliability – MSPs maintain multiple, geographically diverse mail servers and will continue to accept mail for your domain in the event of a regional outage. If DreamHost's inbound mail servers are down, the MSP would queue mail until services at DreamHost are resolved, then proceed to deliver the messages that would have been otherwise lost or bounced.
  • Security – MSPs provide security tools such as advanced anti-virus and protection against email bombs, directory harvest attacks, as well as other threats. If you are running your own mail server, you can configure it to only allow connections from your MSP, thereby shielding it from many potential attackers.
  • SPAM filtering – MSPs provide a high level of SPAM filtering and quarantine management systems.

Commercial MSPs

While various popular services such as Postini were acquired by Google, and others have gone out of business, there are still a few reputable services to assist you with the spooling and filtering of mail.

While all of them are not listed here, here are links for a few of the more popular ones:

See also