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Reference: Notices-Method=SMTP

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19 May 2011

Communicating with a set of Users (Constituents, Clients, Customers, Staff, etc.) is a key aspect of any Operational site concerned with making processes as efficient as possible. During the growth of RidgeStar operations sites, it's become quite apparent that some Clients have a strong affinity for the use of Bulk Email (the automated generation of relatively large volumes of messages to a set of defined Users).

Whether this usage of "automated generation" of Email is a good idea or not is a different subject, but....if you've determined you must have automated Email from your site, we may as well do it as efficiently as we can.

Method=>PHPMail

If your site has Setting=BulkMail defined with Method=>PHPMail (the default condition) in effect OR if your site has no defined Setting=BulkMail, any Email generated by your site will utilize the standard PHP Mail() Function. This approach works fine for individual Email messages, but is a relatively poor performer when used for generating multiple messages in any sort of a repetitive pattern.

Performance in repetitive situations is impacted as a function of the HTTP Server opening and closing a connection to the Mail Server for each Message. This overhead is relatively small (in the grand scheme of things), but quickly becomes a bottleneck if you are initiating a substantial number of messages.

Method=>SMTP

RidgeStar is pleased to announce alternatives to the performance issue as BulkMailFeature, which also includes additional functionality. In short, Method=>SMTP permits automated generation to open a connection to the Mail Server one time, transmit as many messages as is necessary, and then close the connection. In this way, the overhead of opening/closing a connection for each Message is eliminated and, as a result, the task of sending Bulk Email will consume less CPU and Wall clock time (yes, it simply goes/happens "faster").

HTML Messages

For sites with Method=>SMTP in effect, you can also utilize HTML formatted messages for transmission. This permits the knowledgeable Bulk Mail user to transmit a "better looking message" to the recipients. Of course, usage of HTML presumes a certain technical expertise, so this feature may not be attractive to everyone. But, for those of you with the time and energy to create better looking messages for Bulk Transmission, now you can.

RidgeStar Recommendation

During testing and implementation at initial client sites, we have seen an improvement of anywhere from 20% to 80%. The actual improvement you'll see is a function of many things, but....regardless, you should see an improvement in Bulk Email generation.

Thus, RidgeStar DOES recommend that all clients implement Method=>SMTP on your site. Contact your Technical Representative to get Feature=BulkMail added to your site (if it's not already there).