By default, TimeZest sends all the necessary emails it needs to function — client notifications, confirmation emails, etc. — through our own mail infrastructure. This means that we have to send emails with a from address of [email protected], because we've set up the necessary SPF and DKIM records on our domain, thus preventing our emails from ending up in junk mail folders.
However, if you have your own SMTP server, you can configure TimeZest to use that instead. This confers two main advantages:
- It allows us to use any "from" address you specify — perhaps your main support email address, or another email address on your domain. It's important that you have the correct DKIM and SPF records configured on your domain, otherwise TimeZest's emails will almost certainly be flagged as spam.
- It can improve deliverability even further, as you can whitelist your email address in any Office 365 / Exchange installations you control, and the reputation of your email server, which spam filters use to decide if a particular email is spam or not, may be even better than the reputation of the commercial mail service that TimeZest uses.
Configuring a SMTP server
You can enter the details of your SMTP server in the Accounts & Billing page in the TimeZest user interface.
You'll need the following pieces of information:
- The hostname of your server. This must be publicly resolvable (i.e. through the internet DNS system) and your server must able to be connected to from the internet.
- The port your SMTP server is listening on. TimeZest only supports TLS-encrypted SMTP protocol, which is normally run on Port 587. We also support the use of the non-standard port 465 for TLS-encrypted SMTP.
- The domain to use to authenticate to your SMTP server. This is normally the same as the domain part of your email addresses.
- The user name required to authenticate to your SMTP server. This is required as we do not support unauthenticated SMTP.
- The password required to authenticate to your SMTP server. This is required as we do not support unauthenticated SMTP.
- The "from" address we should use when sending emails. It is essential that you have the correct SPF and DKIM records configured on the domain for this email address, or TimeZest emails will almost certainly end up in spam folders. Your server configuration, or your mail provider can give you the correct values to add to your DNS records. A valid email address is required.
If you're using Microsoft Office 365's SMTP server, there are a couple of things specific to it to understand:
- It is only possible to send emails from the same email address as is used to authenticate to the SMTP server. This is a restriction put in place by Microsoft.
- Your SMTP username will be the full email address, not just the part before the '@' symbol.
- If you have 2FA enabled, you will need to generate an app password in order to use normal SMTP authentication with TimeZest.
When updating any details of the custom SMTP configuration, TimeZest will send a test email to the email address of the user doing the updating. If this email is not successfully sent, TimeZest will display an error message, and not save the new details. This is done to prevent any situation where TimeZest doesn't have a valid working email server for your account, and ensures your team can keep scheduling even when changing SMTP server details.