5 July 2006

Autoresponders - Outsource Or Buy Your Own?

Filed under: Articles, Tips & Advice — launchpad @ 12:38 am

We know the money’s in the list, hell, they’ve said it a hundred times over. That means, you’ve just got to have a list, which implies, go get an autoresponder to hold all the email addresses and handle your messages.

Question is, should you buy an autoresponder script to install on your server, which is obviously a one-time payment, so it’s definitely more economical in the long run.

OR, should you outsource this autoresponding service to someone else, like AWeber or GetResponse?

Let’s be honest, getting the script is definitely the cheaper option. But of course, they come with strings attached. If you don’t pay the price, you pay it with time and effort. How so? Ready for it?

Limited By Your Friendly Hosting Service

Every host will put a limit on the number of messages you can send out each time, so you will need to send them in batches rather than to all your subscribers at a go. Yes, you’ve read it right - every host. You must send your email out in batches, or they will never reach the intended recipients.

Activate Cron Job

Don’t be afraid! Cron jobs sound alien, but really, they simply mean setting a “timer”, so that when the timer “rings” a “job” is sent. 15 minutes is just about the shortest time interval you can set the cron job “timer” for most hosts.

Cron jobs are necessary because the script needs to know when to send the messages. Using the cron job, you are able to set the frequency that the script is “awoken” each time to fulfill a job, whether it is to send a new email or a follow-up email.

However, not all hosts allow cron jobs, because they use up too much server resources. It is the same reason why hosts that allow cron jobs limit them to 15 minutes interval.

At the point of writing, Hostgator and Dreamhost both support cron jobs.

System Resources

Yup, as mentioned earlier, sending out messages take up system resources, and if your list is fairly big, your website will begin to suffer from slow loading speeds. There is no sure way of telling at which point your server is unable to handle the load. It varies from server to server and host to host, just like every human has different capacities for stress.

Needless to say, when the server is overloaded AKA system resources are super-stressed, you may risk your host shutting your cron jobs down (which isn’t that bad) or even shutting down your website (here’s when you flip). This means maintenance (of your mySQL databases) as well.

How Outsourcing Autoresponders Help

The first thing is, you’re not using your hosting server. A server that is made and tested to handle autoresponding service is used instead. You don’t need cron jobs, because their servers are wired to send out the email promptly - upon your request. And of course, no installations are necessary.

In return, it’s going to be a monthly or yearly payment. The best autoresponders to consider are AWeber and GetResponse.

The No B.S. Take

If you want to use a script for your server, you will need to keep a very close eye on it. Period.

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