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Nov 03, 2020

How To Choose The Right Email Server Provider: The Decision Process And Expert Advice

As businesses grow and evolve, they need to continuously adapt their infrastructure to their needs. Some service providers that are acquiring new customers at a fast pace, or registering spikes in traffic, might be in need of rapid scaling. Others might need their tools to be really flexible so they could integrate them with legacy platforms. 

And last but not least, as there are more and more people online and cyber-attacks get more frequent and serious, security becomes a differentiator between different email server providers.

As a service provider, you need a mail server solution that caters to thousands of domains and hundreds of thousands of mailboxes while helping you:

  • build customer loyalty;
  • increase subscriber ARPU;
  • reduce customer churn;
  • lower business costs.

If your current infrastructure is weighing you down and getting in the way of you expanding your business, it might be the time for a change. But what should you be looking for?

In this article, we’re going to cover:

  • who should draft the requirements for a new mail server solution;
  • who should do the research;
  • who should be involved in the decision process when choosing an email server provider;
  • how long does migrating from one provider to another take;
  • expert advice from industry professionals who have gone through this process themselves. 

As you can see, there are quite a few aspects you should consider when looking to change your email server provider. This is why we’ve decided to write this article and show you how the ideal process should look like, based on the insights we’ve gathered from professionals who went through this process themselves. So you can rest assured that you’ve chosen the best solution for your business needs.  

Who drafts the requirements for a new email server provider?

Considering the aspects we’ve previously mentioned (scaling, flexibility, security), it makes sense for a technical person to draft the initial requirements (the sysadmin, developer, or CTO).


In our company, the sysadmins do the research. They come up with a shortlist, pointing out the advantages of every email server provider. Looking for reviews from partners or online can also be a good option.

Jessica Gatliff

Data Research Analyst,

However, it’s best if all departments get to voice their opinions about the features the new solution should have. 


They will all have issues with the current system, and ideal benefits that they would like to see in a new system, so engaging them at the start in some form of questionnaire format could be really beneficial to making sure you select the correct system.

Andrew Roderick


What should you look for in a mail server solution? 

Different organizations have different needs, so there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. However, most service providers take into account the following aspects:

  1. Scalability — this is the most important thing you should keep in mind while choosing a mail server solution because the ability to expand your business in the future relies on this. Always build infrastructures with scalability in mind. 
  2. Reliability — when your solution is down, your business suffers. So do your research and make sure the mail server solution you choose is reliable. 
  3. Usability — a robust solution doesn’t have any value if it’s hard to implement and use because you won’t be able to utilize it at its true potential. You should also consider this point from your customers’ perspective — the harder to use an interface is, the bigger the overhead of your support department will be. 
  4. Performance — from a technical point of view, you should carefully analyze each solution’s capabilities, taking into account your context as well. Some mail server solutions might perform ok when they’re used for 10,000 accounts. But do they perform just as good for 500,000?
  5. Security — the security of your customers’ data should always be a priority. Whichever email server solution you choose, make sure it uses technologies such as DKIM, DMARC, and SPF.
  6. Support — most service providers don’t consider the support offered by the mail server provider a decisive factor of decision. But think about it this way: problems are bound to appear when migrating from one platform to another; wouldn’t it be better if you could rely on someone’s support when you get stuck?
  7. History — this is another disregarded aspect, but depending on a provider’s history on the market, you can appreciate their level of expertise.
  8. Pricing — in our opinion, this should never be a decisive selection criterion — after all, you want to choose the best solution for your needs. However, not every organization has an unlimited budget, so pricing is still important.

Who chooses the best-fitting email server solution? 

Ideally, every department should be involved in the decision process. That’s because each role has a different set of requirements. The CTO, sysadmin, and developers usually look at the technical aspects of a mail server solution. They need to make sure there will be no issues, that it can integrate with other solutions your organization uses, and your clients’ data will be safe. 

In contrast, the sales and marketing teams usually look at the overall features. Their main goal is to sell your services to your customers, so they should ensure the new solution has everything your customers want and need. Additionally, they could also research online reviews or ask for opinions from other companies in the industry (even competitors). 


Learning from others who have already been through it will help eliminate less qualified email server providers, identify key criteria to look out for, and know the price points that can be negotiated for.

Bruce Hogan

CEO, SoftwarePundit


The process is different for every organization, but here are some important points:

  1. The CTO cares about the security, features, and the product simply working. CTOs don’t want to worry about fixing issues, and the development team doesn’t want to fix or integrate broken products;
  2. Marketing and Sales care about the features they can leverage.

The input from the support team is also useful. After all, they’re the first ones your clients reach out to whenever they have a problem, so they can provide insights that can tilt the scale towards a specific provider. 

Last but not least, the CFO or CEO has the last say regarding the budget.  


Once all this has been signed, sealed, and delivered, I give the final authorization.

Brett Downes

Marketing Director, Studio Fifty-Four

It’s also best if the CEO has 2-3 options to choose from: 


I often find it’s best to do this in a 3-tier scenario – present an idea for ideal, an idea for alright, and an idea for the cheapest. Comparing them together can help the CEO and Finance manager work together to see what they can afford in order to get the best system possible.

Daniel Foley


How long does it take to implement a new mail server solution?

Again, this will differ from organization to organization. In our experience, it could take anywhere from a few months to a year. That’s because it depends on each company’s size, the number of stakeholders involved in the decision process, the number of customers that need to be migrated, and the size of the internal technical team. 


While there’s no exact timeline for this, it’s important to take your time and get it right as it’s unlikely something you’ll want to go through the hassle of switching after a short period of time.

Daniel Foley


First, you need to take into account the research period that can take up to 5 months.


Depending on the company’s size, selecting a new email server provider is a complicated, lengthy process. Typically, it takes 1-2 months to identify and establish contact with potential providers, and another 2-3 months to evaluate, negotiate, and select the winning provider.

Bruce Hogan

CEO, SoftwarePundit

The good news is that, after selecting your provider, things are a little bit smoother. For example, one of our customers, VentraIP, the largest privately owned web host and domain name registrar in Australia, was up and running in just 3 months. Find out more about their experience switching to Axigen here.

Axigen offers 24/7 technical support to make your migration as smooth as possible.


Given the complexity and risk of a migration between e-mail platforms, the Axigen auto-migration functionality was critical. Axigens’ project management and technical support was fantastic throughout the process, allowing us to migrate to the new platform with minimal disruption to our customers. Their expertise and experience were an invaluable resource.

Alex Breedon

IT Manager, Gibtelecom

Mail server migration with Axigen

Migrating to another mail server provider has never been easier. Here are 6 reasons Axigen is the first choice for hundreds of service providers:

  1. 10-minute installation time - Axigen comes as a single package you can get up & running in just 100 minutes

  2. Automatic migration - you can migrate your legacy email with resetting your users’ passwords

  3. Managed services available - leverage our team’s expert knowledge to manage and monitor your platform

  4. Outstanding TCO - our licensing model is tailored to your usage

  5. Flexible branding options - you can use your customers’ branding elements for the WebMail and WebAdmin

  6. 24/7 customer support - 2h average response time.


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