For any individual or business performing outreach activities, it's important to understand the limitations of all tools you are utilizing at each stage of the process. With your email service provider (ESP), this is the most crucial aspect of any sales or marketing funnel as this can make or break the performance and success of your outreach campaigns if you push things too far. Nearly every single ESP provider puts in place limitations for user accounts, whether they are based around sending limits or the type of activity you can engage in via their services.
In this article, we will be exploring in depth what exactly sending limits are and how they work, the sending limits of all major email service providers, and what is important to know going forward regarding the planning an execution of any email campaign utilizing this knowledge.
What are email sending limits?
To put it simply, email sending limits refer to the maximum amount of messages you can send out from a given email address, workspace, or server within a designated amount of time. A daily sending limit is put in place for all accounts primarily to curb potential abuse, as all providers that offer premium services need to minimize users sending spam as much as possible.
For services such as Yahoo mail, Gmail, Icloud mail, Zoho mail, and many other similar free email services, these limits tend to be high enough to not be noticeable by the average person utilizing a free email provider so as to not interfere with their normal activities, but low enough that any individual or company performing any type of active email activity would be hindered and incentivized to utilized their more premium services, hence why an email service providers free plan tends to work well enough for the average person. Another small note to make regarding sending limits is that they are applied directly to your email account itself, so utilizing email clients to perform sending activity counts the same as utilizing a web client environment for your sending limit.
How do email sending limits work?
Email sending limits work in a similar way to any other type of limiting system operates, in that once you hit a certain threshold of use, all activity is halted under your account until this limit is reset. Limits typically will reset every 24 hours, with the time in which a limit begins varies depending on the provider. As an example with Google Workspace and Titan's business email suite, their limits will reset at 0:00 UTC time unless you hit their maximum sending limit for your specific account, where it could potentially run over or reset to the next day.
Why do email service providers have email sending limits?
A service provider needs to maintain their sending infrastructure and reputation with other providers in order for them to consistently accept mail coming from their servers, as well as put a damper on any type of mischievous activity that may be occurring under multiple email addresses. The common term this credibility is referred to as sender reputation, where major email service providers keep tabs on all incoming and outgoing activity occurring from their services in order to make a determination on how trustworthy a given sender is. This applies primarily towards the specific sender engaging with outgoing services but also applies overall to an email service provider as well.
These limits are put in place under all email accounts in order to prevent widespread abuse, as well as ensure that services run smoothly for everyone. With Google for instance, whenever you access gmail under your workspace you are actually sharing a sending server with thousands of other users under a shared IP address. Under a shared IP, you are in effect associated to these other users utilizing Google Workspace so sending limits help to prevent a single user from destroying the deliverability of everyone else under this shared service provider.
Why is it crucial to be aware of the email sending limits?
It's critically important to be aware of any sending limits you may be under with an email provider because you realistically never want to get close to any sending limit threshold. The reason why you would never want to send messages up to your maximum daily limit primarily comes down to how outside email service providers may interpret these actions if too many outgoing messages from your email account is flagged as appearing as spam.
Spam filters are automatic systems in place under an email service provider or custom hosted mail server that analyze the message content of an email message, the headers contained with the email message, as well as the past history of a given email address in order to determine how trustworthy a given message is, and to determine if it is safe to accept this message or not. They also will associate your email address format to this type of activity as well in order to build up an overall understanding of your sending habits, so in order for your deliverability to be consistent its best to abide by the sending limits of your specific email service provider.
Comparison of the Best Email Providers
Below is an organized layout of all the various sending limits in place under the primary email service providers online.
How to choose the best email services for you?
Choosing the best email service provider for you needs depends greatly upon the total amount of sending volume you plan on performing, the nature of the type of email content you are sending out, as well as personal preference on the UI environment of the email service provider. For many people, a free email account under a free email service provider such as GMX mail, Yahoo Mail, Icloud mail, AOL mail, Proton mail (That offers end to end encryption for sending activity between users), or Zoho mail lite will suffice for every day email activity, as typically for personal use you would not get close to any of these sending limits. For others looking for a full time email provider or email service that can cover both personal and professional use, it may make more sense for them to go with more popular email service providers such as Google Workspace so they can have access to all other Google services such as Google drive and Google calendar so that they can easily access their online files all in one email client.
When determining the best email service providers for professional use, what you primarily need to consider is how much sending activity you will be planning on performing, and if you potentially will be requiring further scaling with this sending solution as time goes on. For sending limits as I touched on previously, ideally you never want to get within 50% of the maximum sending limit of your email service provider, as typically the closer you get to this threshold, the higher the likelihood any unforeseen issues can compound on top of one another and lead to issues with deliverability (Which defeats the purpose of most email sending activity for a business or individual). As well for professional use, its important to think about compatibility with any of the various email marketing software you plan on utilizing, as any digital marketing professional will generally end up utilizing either a marketing hub plan or other related tools for their marketing campaigns.
What Are the Most Used Email Service Providers?
For all the email service providers listed out in the table above, its tough to get an accurate determination for which ones are absolutely the most popular outside of the main primary competition. In order of the top 3 most common email service providers that have the largest market share of active inboxes
1. Google Workspace
2. Office 365/Outlook
3. Zoho Mail
Take up the vast majority of both free accounts as well as email accounts utilizing paid services. Other accounts under different providers do take up a sizable amount of the industry, but tend to be more focused on specific business email service providers catering to a specific email activity need such as Postmark, Sendinblue, and Sendgrid.
When it comes to understanding sending limits, the maximum amount of mail that can be sent out from any given email account is determined by the email providers your addresses are hosted under. While several email service providers offer different ranges of sending limits, its important to understand when its okay to be performing high sending volumes and when its necessary to cut down on said sending activity.