FAQ
Many of the web hosting services that offer mailman place a limit on
the number of messages/hour that a given domain can deliver. This is
presumably done to avoid saturating their servers. If you exceed the
limit, they just ignore some of the recipients. Two hosts that we use
have 300 and 500 as their limits. We have several largish email lists
with several hundred addresses, one of which has ~400. If several
people send to one or more of these lists in a given hour or one
person sends to several lists at once, some of the recipients don't
get the mail intended for them.

These hosts recommend using PHPlist instead which has a feature that
can control the timing of the messages so as to not exceed the list,
but PHPlist doesn't work for members of the list sending mail since
it is really designed to be a Newsletter distribution mechanism.

Is there any feature (I found nothing in the documentation) in
Mailman that would help out here, or are there people on this email
list who have found encountered and solved this problem?

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  • Brad Knowles at Apr 28, 2007 at 12:45 am

    On 4/27/07, John W Gintell wrote:

    Is there any feature (I found nothing in the documentation) in
    Mailman that would help out here, or are there people on this email
    list who have found encountered and solved this problem?
    So far as I know, we do not currently have a solution for you. See
    FAQ 4.51 for the details.

    --
    Brad Knowles <brad at shub-internet.org>, Consultant & Author
    LinkedIn Profile: <http://tinyurl.com/y8kpxu>
    Slides from Invited Talks: <http://tinyurl.com/tj6q4>
  • Mark Sapiro at Apr 28, 2007 at 12:58 am

    John W Gintell wrote:
    Many of the web hosting services that offer mailman place a limit on
    the number of messages/hour that a given domain can deliver. This is
    presumably done to avoid saturating their servers. If you exceed the
    limit, they just ignore some of the recipients. Two hosts that we use
    have 300 and 500 as their limits. We have several largish email lists
    with several hundred addresses, one of which has ~400. If several
    people send to one or more of these lists in a given hour or one
    person sends to several lists at once, some of the recipients don't
    get the mail intended for them.

    Yes, this is a significant problem for the operation of Mailman.

    These hosts recommend using PHPlist instead which has a feature that
    can control the timing of the messages so as to not exceed the list,
    but PHPlist doesn't work for members of the list sending mail since
    it is really designed to be a Newsletter distribution mechanism.

    We recommend finding a new host ;-)

    Is there any feature (I found nothing in the documentation) in
    Mailman that would help out here, or are there people on this email
    list who have found encountered and solved this problem?

    Mailman has no throttling/rate limiting knobs built in. That's not to
    say you couldn't add one without much difficulty, but it wouldn't
    help. What will happen is Mailman will delay delivery, posters won't
    get their post and will repost making the problem worse. Soon Mailman
    will become so backlogged as to be essentially useless.

    --
    Mark Sapiro <msapiro at value.net> The highway is for gamblers,
    San Francisco Bay Area, California better use your sense - B. Dylan
  • Stephen J. Turnbull at Apr 28, 2007 at 6:50 am
    John W Gintell writes:
    Many of the web hosting services that offer mailman place a limit on
    the number of messages/hour that a given domain can deliver. This is
    presumably done to avoid saturating their servers. If you exceed the
    limit, they just ignore some of the recipients.
    If they simply drop the mail on the floor, they are in violation of
    Internet standards. According to those standards, they should either
    hold the outgoing mail (ie, to individual recipients) for later
    delivery, refuse to accept the mail, or return an error message to the
    submission agent. The last case is arguably worse than ignoring it---
    Mailman will treat it as a bounce and eventually disable delivery to
    some users.

    Mark put a smiley on it, but I don't think losing mail is a joking
    matter. Get better service.
    Is there any feature (I found nothing in the documentation) in
    Mailman that would help out here, or are there people on this email
    list who have found encountered and solved this problem?
    It's a FAQ. This is caused by the physical rate limit imposed by your
    host, and Mailman cannot do anything about it. Your users expect mail
    to be reliable and fairly close to instantaneous. There is typically
    at least one user who will notice non-delivery or delay (the poster).
    The only solutions (other than to train your users to accept sloppy
    service) are (a) to get better mail service or (b) switch your lists
    to a protocol that generate a more consistent load on servers (Usenet
    newsgroups, Google Groups, weblogs are examples).

    It would be possible to naively throttle Mailman, but consider the
    consequences. If your users generate a burst of activity, you could
    easily end up with several days' backlog. (Note that in many cases
    there are likely to be CCs to other users, who will receive the mail
    directly, and respond immediately, adding to the backlog.) If several
    lists are hosted by the same provider, there would be an issue of how
    to prioritize; an urgent message from a low-traffic list could easily
    be delayed for quite a while due to queued gossip on a popular list.
    These issues are difficult to impossible for Mailman to resolve. So
    the current version doesn't even try.

    It's quite likely you can find a provider who does not rate limit
    Mailman for the same cost (even zero!) if you look hard. I encourage
    you to do so; there have been a number of people who have posted about
    their excellent providers in the last few weeks, it must be dozens
    over the last couple of years---archives of this list would be a
    reasonable place to start looking for recommendations.

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postedApr 27, '07 at 8:46p
activeApr 28, '07 at 6:50a
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