Large email list? You could violate your hosting TOS
One of the goals of every Web site owner is to develop a list of faithful followers. It increases page views, increases revenues, all the good things in life. Communicating with this audience can be problematic if your WordPress install, or any site, is on a shared host like HostGator or LunarPages (just to name two).
You and your hosting provider
Almost all virtual hosting providers have an hourly limit on email services in their terms of sevice (TOS). To keep their email servers from running white hot they typically limit an account to between 200 and 500 emails per hour.
Small list, Large list
If your email list is less than your limit, almost any email messaging solution will do. WordPress has newsletter plugins that will easily fit the bill. However, I haven’t found any that will let me limit how many emails sent per hour. If your list is larger than your limit, you’ll get suspended by your hosting provider (I know, I’ve done it).
Alternative for when your list hits your TOS limit
Many online mail service providers, such as MailChimp, offer free accounts for lists up to 500 or so. They’re hoping you get set up with their services and then buy in when your list gets larger. These work great but of course once your list gets larger, there will be per message charges. If you have the resources, this may be the way to go.
Another alternative is an source solution like PHPList. It can be automatically installed using Fantastico — available through almost all Linux hosting plans and can be set to send an email every “X” seconds or so to keep you within your TOS. PHPList isn’t as easy as online services, but can provide lots more control.
Your Maillist as a Marketing Tool
Building an email list is one of the most important marketing, and revenue generating, tools you have. With a base of clients and subscribers who have expressed interest, you can generate excitement concerning your offerings and stay in touch with your client base. Using a service to send the mail can be an easy way to get around the limitations of your TOS, but there is a cost. If, however, you don’t mind doing a little work yourself, PHPlist or another open source maillist package can put you ahead of your competitors when it comes to communication with your fan base.