MailWizz vs. Interspire Email Marketer

Discussion in 'General discussions' started by Tim Ventura, Jul 23, 2016.

  1. Tim Ventura

    Tim Ventura Member

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    I've been using Interspire Email Marketer on a daily basis for 7 years, have purchased about 10 copies of it for various clients & corporations, and own 3 copies myself.....and this week I'm busy switching my company over to MailWizz. That's saying something.

    So here's the deal: IEM works great for what it does - if you want a solid, reliable, configurable email tool, it's wonderful. The price is a little painful at $450+ for each single-user license, but otherwise it's a good tool.

    The PROBLEM started when we outgrew what IEM was able to send in a day. It's single-threaded, so we purchased the Maborak multi-thread add-on. That took a LOT of time to install (it requires ioncube, and since our command-line PHP is diff than our cgi PHP, it meant updating paths inside the add-ons files to get it working). Yuck. Got it solved, though. However, our send rate didn't seem to increase, and IEM offers ZERO tracking for deliverability, which is an issue that we ran into when we cranked up MailWizz the first time.

    So, now that I've done 3 or 4 big campaigns on MailWizz, I'm pretty happy with the platform. PCNTL is installed by Default on Dreamhost Dedicated LAMP servers, so on campaign #3 I cranked it up to 50 threads processing 500 messages each, and ran through the entire 100k email list in about 45 minutes on our server. Unfortunately, our SMTP server couldn't handle the load - which we resolved dropping the parallel threads until our deliverability monitor showed it 100% again.

    Big Advantages of MailWizz over IEM:

    1. Price. In fact, MailWizz should cost more, I think. I'd charge $100 for it, but I'm not complaining about the lower price. I'll buy another copy today so I feel less guilty about the performance vs. price point.

    2. Parallel-Processing. It works like a champ. Actual throughput seems a little strange, though. 50 threads should send around 2x faster than 25 threads. Seems like 50 threads ACTUALLY sends like 4x faster. Maybe that's because our SMTP host was dropping messages, though.

    3. System Load. Very nice loading. We have a big, fast server, but with multi-threading installed, IEM was a dog. Took 30 seconds to even reload the campaigns page. MailWizz is fast & responsive, even running it full-bore. Good memory consumption, too: 50 threads @ 500 messages each created a bunch of processes at around 275mb each, even though I gave it as much RAM to play with as it needed.

    4. Lots of Modern Bells & Whistles. Built-in inlining for HTML messages, minifying, a modern WYSIWYG editor, etc. The WYSIWYG that IEM uses is actually an updated version of one they've been using since at least 2005. MailWizz feels contemporary.

    5. Better reporting. More reports, more details, and more granular information that you need to know if you're sending. IEM does reasonably well with high-level info about your campaigns, opens, clicks, unsubs, etc - but MailWizz takes reporting a lot further, and gives you a much better overall picture of performance, especially at the system level.

    Some wish-list items:

    1. Real-time monitor. It'd be nice to be able to track processor, RAM, network, and MySQL utilization during the send. Two ways to do this: first, as a version of the "top" command (which I use on our server while it's running), or second, as a mini web-app that you could launch in a separate process that would automatically reload every 15, 30, or 60 seconds. Obviously you don't want/need to rely on this all the time, but especially when you're first setting the machine up, it'd be neat.

    2. I wish it was easier to switch from the front-end to back-end modes (maybe a toggle in the login ID, and then automatically create a front-end user for the admin: after all, a LOT of users will be single-user owner/senders).

    3. Bounces go to email "blacklist". Not sure if they HAVE to, but I use my blacklist for critical stuff, and adding bounces to it screws that up. It'd be better simply to mark them as "bounce" or "dead", and then not send to them. That's how IEM does it, and it makes them a bit easier to manage.

    4. Senderscore/MX-Toolbox integration. Obviously this is a wish-list item, but it would be neat to be able to see IP/domain reputation & feedback information in the app itself.

    5. Ability to disable/hide features. It don't use autoresponders, don't use articles. Would be neat to be able to remove those from the menu. Maybe the app would be faster if they were turned off? Something like that.

    6. Built-in notes/ideas on optimization. Maybe the community in this forum could help with that. A lot of folks have the ability to tweak their settings for PHP, mysql, etc. Would be nice to have a popup that gave you speed pointers for every aspect of the system.
     
  2. frm.mwz

    frm.mwz Well-Known Member

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    Agreed, MWZ is great!

    > The PROBLEM started when we outgrew what IEM was able to send in a day.
    With IEM multi-thread you can do even more than 15k in 2min though...

    > That took a LOT of time to install
    Very easy to install. Extract, copy to destination, enable, use.
    And php-cli is quickly findable by whereis php-cli
    Also, never needed to update any paths in the addons.

    > However, our send rate didn't seem to increase,
    See above, it is superfast.
    If you don't get it out then it is your server or 3rd party ;)

    > IEM offers ZERO tracking for deliverability
    I thought the queue shows that.

    > 50 threads processing 500 messages each
    That brings 25k msgs into parallel processing...

    > ran through the entire 100k email list in about 45 minutes
    > Unfortunately, our SMTP server couldn't handle the load
    Try a 3rd party/cluster (and with tiny ping times).

    > We have a big, fast server, but with multi-threading installed, IEM was a dog.
    > Took 30 seconds to even reload the campaigns page.
    If you send from the same server, and it has not enough RAM or no SSD
    or insufficient processor, almost any mailer would be slow too.
    IEM itself is not fully multi-threaded, only the addon afaik.
    MWZ can also hang when e.g. loading stats, see forum.
    Not to curb your enthusiasm, mwz is great!

    > Built-in inlining for HTML messages, minifying, a modern WYSIWYG editor
    MailWizz excels especially through the many delivery server usage options.

    > The WYSIWYG that IEM uses is actually an updated version
    > of one they've been using since at least 2005.
    On the positive, they stick to what works and provide lots of templates ;)

    > Better reporting. More reports, more details, and more granular info
    Definitely good, but users want more, as they are spoilt by some
    companies. See feature requests ;)
    https://forum.mailwizz.com/threads/...ggestion-for-mailwizz-01st-february-2016.1497


    Re blacklist, there have been long and interesting discussions about it
    here in the forum, and the app's behavior can be adjusted in many ways re that.

    So in sum, I believe your IEM could be adjusted,
    but no matter what, MailWizz is great, excels with delivery server options,
    is being updated and improved constantly, has a lively forum and is
    hence one of the best mailers out there, in some aspects the best :D
     
  3. Ankit

    Ankit Active Member

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    Excellent comparison @Tim Ventura
    Our team loves MailWizz and we are helping a lot of small business with MailWizz.
     
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  4. Vroom

    Vroom Member

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    I am the same on this. I like to use blacklist for very important things i need to screen out, where as I like to delete my bounced emails completely from the system and forget them.
     
  5. Vroom

    Vroom Member

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    How big are the lists you are sending? I send to around 300,000 each day. It sends out pretty quick, maybe 4 hours I think to send it to Exim, and from there a little longer in the exim queue before it actually sent.

    Only problem I have found is if I have multiple lists sending at once it can over flood Exim and Exim becomes unreachable for half hour or so. I never looked into what happens to the emails at that time. Did they get sent after Exim came back up or are they lost? Other than that it seems to be working great and pretty fast. I'm not sure if my speeds are average or below average, but it works for me.
     
  6. Tim Ventura

    Tim Ventura Member

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    MailWizz is SO STINKING FAST that it's amazing - in fact, the software is fast enough that all of sudden everything else is becoming a bottleneck. We can currently send 150,000 an HOUR without even taxing the system - of course, we had to upgrade our server, upgrade our SMTP relay to handle the load. But MailWizz itself pumps out messages like a firehose.

    I switched from IEM about 2 months ago, and I truly love MailWizz - this is a great app!
     
    Jeff Guynn, twisted1919 and OptiBiz1 like this.
  7. frm.mwz

    frm.mwz Well-Known Member

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    ...congrats, afaik definitely one of the best results reported on the forum ;)
    ...what's the fastest you got with your tweaking wisdom, @twisted1919 ?
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2016
  8. Tim Ventura

    Tim Ventura Member

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    We have 2 servers, both run at this speed. The smaller one is a 2.2ghz, 4-core CPU with 8 gigs of RAM, and it's a dedicated application server with MailWizz and the MySQL database on the same machine. It's in the same data-center as the SMTP relay. The limiting factor was the SMTP gateway - we increased size to I believe an 8-core, 16 or 32 gig RAM machine and it greatly increased our sending speed. Prior to that we were having issues with speed & dropped messages.
     
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  9. twisted1919

    twisted1919 Administrator Staff Member

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    i think it was few million per hour, in a controlled test environment with pcntl and directory pickup which eliminated any latency.
    Don't remember exactly the numbers since it was a while ago, so don't take it for granted...
     
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  10. Little Sweet Miss

    Little Sweet Miss New Member

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    What server configuration/type do you use to achieve this. I can't even push out 10,000 in that time.
     
  11. Tim Ventura

    Tim Ventura Member

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    We have different builds on a couple of servers. One has a 4-core 2.2 ghz proc with 4 gigs RAM & 5600rpm HDD. The other has a 12 or 16 core 2.2ghz Xeon with 64 gigs Ram and 250 gig SSD. Both are Linux, one's Debian, the other I forget. They can both send 150k messages in an hour.

    Lessons learned & how I got there:

    1. I've been on Interspire Email Marketer since 2009. I was an early adopter of Interspire Article-Live back in the early 2000's, and they did some really great programming with it, so when I got into list email I went with them. IEM has it's share of bugs, but once you get used to them it's a pretty solid tool. It's that old 1978 Ford F-250 that isn't winning any beauty contests but you never get rid of it because it just keeps going & going.....

    2. That being said, IEM maxed out on my old shared VPS hosting at around 70k per day (like, 12 HOURS to send 70k). Over time, the server got faster, we went dedicated, boosted RAM - we juiced up the normal, default IEM build to about 200k per day, which is roughly the max we could get. Maybe 220k at most.

    3. After a while, we outgrew that send limit. May sound crazy t some, but waiting 12 hours for a freaking email to send gets old. Like, you have to plan ahead, and that time window means most of your messages will miss the sweet spot in the AM where people open them the most. I'd kick off a send around 8pm at night, go to bed, and it'd just be wrapping up at 8am the next morning.

    4. When we finally upgraded IEM, we had to go with custom mods. There are 2 well-known companies that do them. One's located in Vietnam I think, the other in maybe Russia...(?). Neither of them had wonderful support. Both made us install the IONCUBE loader (annoying), and had a few clunky mods that went into running IEM in multi-threaded mode. We got it working, but it bogged down the server, caused all sorts of issues in sends, and in general was super-annoying. A friend recommended MailWizz so I switched to that as an alternative.

    5. Our first build of MailWizz ran just about the same as our final IEM speed. So in terms of sending, if you're doing a single-threaded send, the limit seems close for MW and IEM. Once I got that tested, I decided to run MW in Multi-Threaded Mode.

    6. MailWizz uses the Process Control Module in PHP, which is an optional module, and supposedly it's rather rare. So far, however, it's been loaded on every server I've looked at, so maybe it's becoming more standard. So instead of spending 6 hours to configure IEM to send multi-threaded, with MailWizz it was literally as easy as flipping a toggle switch.

    7. Once I enabled PCNTL, I started playing with how many multiple threads to use. Too many, and you'll run the machine out of RAM and lock it up -- too few, and you won't notice much increase in speed. The best way to gauge this is to try sending a single campaign with maybe 10 to 20 threads enabled, and then use the "top" command to keep an eye on resources.

    8. Once I figured out what our sweet spot was for RAM utilization, I ran into another issue: our delivery rate dropped from 100% down to 5%. Took a while to figure that one out. The problem was that our MailWizz server was literally over-running what our SMTP server was capable of accepting. MailWizz won't automatically "slow down", so basically the extra messages just don't get accepted and end up somewhere in the magical land of /dev/null, I guess....

    9. Our mail relay server started out as a shared box with a 4 core proc and 4 gigs of RAM. We upgraded that to a 12 or 16-core box with 32 gigs of RAM, if I remember right, and the delivery rate jumped from 5% right back up to 100%, with no additional changes. So the limit wasn't bandwidth or anything - just the proc & RAM available on the SMTP server.

    10. As things stand right now, I could probably push our MailWizz build up to 250k per hour, maybe 300k per hour if I really played around with it. We don't need that volume, though, so I left it set for about 150k per hour, and it seems to run fine without any issues.

    11. BTW, price for this: we're all remotely hosted with a well-known provider on a dedicated server plan. Our MW server is $400 a month, our SMTP relay is $800 a month, and it's unlimited messages through 2 IPs (actually, I think one of those IPs costs a couple hundred extra). No, I won't say who our host is, but look around you'll find a comparable one.
     
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  12. Little Sweet Miss

    Little Sweet Miss New Member

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    Wow...quite interesting. Picked alot of points. Many thanks.
     
  13. twisted1919

    twisted1919 Administrator Staff Member

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    I'll make this sticky because @Tim Ventura explained this better than i would ever do!
     
  14. Lakjin

    Lakjin Active Member

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    Would it be possible to pick your brain about your setup? We are currently using an ESP and want to bring it inhouse using MailWizz. Our sending reputation is very high, but I'm still worried about the logistics of running my own SMTP and deliverability issues of using my own server / IPs to send emails vs an ESP. Could you provide details about what you do? Of course, knowing what host you use would be great since not all host will allow such high volume sending, but that isn't necessary.
     
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  15. Lakjin

    Lakjin Active Member

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    If my MailWizz setup is using PCTNL just fine, does that mean Process Control Module is enabled or is this something extra I need to do?
     
  16. frm.mwz

    frm.mwz Well-Known Member

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    pcntl is the Process CoNTroL Module
    http://php.net/manual/en/book.pcntl.php

    check if it is configured on command line

    see if mwz really applies it when sending verbosely
     
  17. Vpul Shah

    Vpul Shah Active Member Support Staff

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    Welcome Roger.
     
  18. Elliot Cater

    Elliot Cater Member

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    Yes - Mail Whizz has everything IEM has except one very important thing. The functionality to be able to send email to a client's list and provide them logins to *only* view the statistics for their lists. With IEM you just send email to a client's list (logged in as an admin) and lock down the permissions for a particular client group so they can only view their statistics pages.

    We're a full service email marketing company. We handle the job from start to finish - the majority of our clients are luddites and for want of a better word, can't be *trusted* to manage their own lists and sends. To be honest, they also can't be bothered!
     
  19. twisted1919

    twisted1919 Administrator Staff Member

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    @Elliot Cater - This latest release allows you to share campaign stats with others via a password, so it's still something ;)
     
  20. frm.mwz

    frm.mwz Well-Known Member

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    Perhaps we should make a thorough comparison table, feature by feature, so it becomes clear where mwz is ahead :D
     

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