The Sitecore Email Cloud compared to the custom SMTP

Last updated Monday, April 23, 2018 in Email Experience Manager for Developer, Administrator
Keywords: Sending

In the Email Experience Manager, you can choose between using the Sitecore Email Cloud or a custom SMTP to send your email campaigns.

Sitecore Email Cloud

The Sitecore Email Cloud handles the complexity of email delivery for you and ensures that your email campaigns avoid getting blocked by your recipients’ Junk, SPAM, and Clutter folders but instead arrive quickly in their inbox.


For configuration support and email dispatch troubleshooting, refer to the standard Sitecore support channels. We also provide reactive support to all subscription holders focusing on any misconfigured accounts and high bounce- or spam-rate email campaigns.

Custom SMTP

The custom SMTP is an unmanaged service that suits low-volume (< 10k per month), low-complexity, or internal deployments. It is ideal for SMTP-only setups like MailServer, Exchange Server, AWS Email, SendGrid, or custom Port 25 deployments.

You can also use the custom SMTP for testing before you deploy on the live Sitecore Email Cloud or connect to another established SMTP service.


Sitecore will continue to support and maintain the custom SMTP provider in its current state.

An overview of the features supported by Sitecore Email Cloud and custom SMTP:

Sitecore Email Cloud

Custom SMTP


Send via SMTP

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Send attachments <7mb

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Send attachments >7mb

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SSL and TLS protocols Ports 443 and 25

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Subscription management in EXM

Approved domains

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Suppression list

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Data collection

Collect bounces

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Collect SPAM complaints

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Visual overview in EXM

Opens, clicks, and viewed pages

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Device type

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Integration with xProfile

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IP address management

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Sender reputation

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ISP relationship management

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* The customer is responsible for securing the SMTP endpoint, implementing SSL, and testing.

** The customer is responsible for configuring the DSN processor. The DSN processor provides less than 80% in accuracy because it relies on SMTP-based responses. In addition, using the DSN processor adds minor processing overhead on the server resources.

*** The customer is responsible for the sender reputation, greylisting and blacklisting, and any issues with the ISP.

**** If you use custom SMTP, Sitecore is not responsible for managing any technical email reputation features like SPF or DKIM.

***** SPF is not required by Sitecore Email Cloud. However, you can implement it in your custom SMTP setup.


When you run Sitecore Email Cloud, only one option for validating a sending domain is needed and DKIM is the best method. To have SPF for a sending domain is not needed because it only applies to the MAIL FROM / Return-Path domain. In Sitecore Email Cloud, this has been addressed by using a common domain for all your email messages.

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