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What does SMTP mean?

SMTP proxies are specialized Mail Transfer Agents (MTAs) that, similar to other types of proxy servers, pass SMTP sessions through to other MTAs without using the store-and-forward approach of a typical MTA. When an SMTP proxy receives a connection, it initiates another SMTP session to a destination MTA. Any errors or status information from the destination MTA will be passed back to the sending MTA through the proxy.


When SMTP proxies are placed on the outgoing network, they typically are used to intercept all SMTP connections to make sure that unauthorized e-mail, spam, e-mail worms, etc. are not sent from the network. This is common on internet connections provided by hotels, company networks, and some ISPs and is discussed in RFC 5068.

More commonly is when SMTP proxies are placed on the incoming network where they typically are used in the integration of anti-spam techniques into MTAs, the creation of e-mail hubs for load balancing, or to forward e-mail from a company-wide domain name to individual department mail servers. By using a proxy instead of the more common store-and-forward method of relaying e-mail, backscatter can be greatly reduced.

An advantage of SMTP proxies is that they work with any already installed mail server. If one decides to switch to a different MTA, they can still use the same SMTP proxy.

Certain SMTP proxies implement connection management, which ensures that no matter how big a spike in traffic coming from the outside (e.g. a virus outbreak or a DoS attack), the back-end mail server will not receive more connections than it can handle.

Some proxies can implement throttling - where suspect SMTP connections are slowed down. When slowed down, spammers typically give up (since they need to deliver huge volumes of email), whereas legitimate senders don't mind waiting a few minutes. This is a lenient version of tarpitting.

Throttling is hard to implement in a non-SMTP proxy solution, since each throttling connection holds up a usually heavy-weight process or thread, whereas a proxy can be implemented as a very efficient asynchronous I/O solution which can juggle thousands of connections at once.

Another reason to use a proxy is that while the DNS allows multiple MX records which can be used to spread the load of incoming e-mail across multiple servers, DNS is not the best method for load balancing. Also, DNS cannot easily allow more than about a dozen MX records, limiting the total number of incoming mail servers, which can be a problem for many large ISPs and corporations. By using transparent SMTP proxies, it is possible to improve the load balancing and increase the number of back-end mail servers.

Types of SMTP Proxies

SMTP proxies come in a few fundamental flavors:

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Exede Internet availabily was based on: Exede internet is available in almost all areas of United States please call us, your local authorized dealer in High Speed Satellite Internet to talk with an internet specialist today. Exede Satellite Internet Requires a clear view of the southern sky. © 2014 WildBlue Communications, Inc. Service not available in all areas of High Speed Satellite Internet United States. Please call to check for service availability. Minimum 24 month commitment term. One-time setup fee of $149.99 (currently on special for $49.99) and $9.99/month equipment lease apply (or pre-pay a 24-month lease and save almost $40). Actual speeds will vary. Non-standard installations may result in additional charge. Equipment must be returned upon cancellation of service, otherwise unreturned equipment fees apply. Taxes and monthly service fees apply. Prices subject to change. All offers valid for a limited time and may be changed or withdrawn at any time. Requires a clear view of the southern sky. Use of the Exede service is subject to data transmission limits measured on a monthly basis as described in the Data Allowance Policy. For complete details and the Data Allowance Policy, visit www.exede.com. Exede Satellite Internet is a service mark of ViaSat, Inc. This website is owned and operated by an independent distributor of Exede Satellite Internet from ViaSat Communications, Inc. Some content on this website may be copyrighted by ViaSat Communications, Inc.