MX Guarddog review: Filter spam for your domain-based emails for free!

There's an old aphorism—the best things in life are free—that is rarely applied to the tech world. Yes, your social media life and some of the email services you may be using are "free," as long as you understand that that "free" comes with a cost: You aren't spending money you're spending personal capital. Which is to say, you're giving yourself away, a bit at a time, with every email you send and receive. MX Guarddog turns that understanding on its head, providing you with powerful SPAM, virus, malware, filtering at a price that is legitimately free. Yup! Free.

See at MX Guarddog

At what price, "free"?

I stumbled across MX Guarddog, kind of accidentally on purpose, about 5 years ago. I had been paying for a service called Postini to filter SPAM for email on domains I owned and for clients who were also hosting their own email. Google bought Postini and in 2012 they rolled its features into Google Apps. I started looking for something else.

After spending a couple of weeks trying different software for my Macs and PCs and playing with a number of other services I realized that, no matter what I used, it was going to cost a fortune and be a management nightmare. So I searched for something like, "inexpensive SPAM filtering" and up popped MX Guarddog.

I confess... I thought it was a scam.

I sent several skeptical email messages to see if I could figure out what the other shoe was and when it was going to drop. They responded to everything I sent with patience and understanding.

There was no other shoe.

All they wanted was a basic text link on my web pages. No glitzy images. No big banner ad. No "filtered by MX Guarddog" in every email message. Just a simple text link. That was it. Nothing more. Yes, you can pay for MX Guarddog. It will cost you .25¢/email address/month. But a simple link makes everything free.


The setup

To use MX Guarddog you need to be hosting your own email or be using a service that hosts your email and you need to be able to make changes to your mail exchanger record (MX Record) so that instead of directing mail to your mail servers, all of your domain's email is directed to MX Guarddog's servers. MX Guarddog can automatically import accounts for filtering by linking to your hosting service's CPanel, a standard tool used by many hosting services, or by linking your Active Directory, LDAP, OpenLDAP, IBM Domino, or Zimbra server to the service.

Once you've made those changes you're done. As soon as the updated MX Record information is pushed to the Internet's DNS servers, any new mail sent to your email addresses is pushed through MX Guarddog's servers and the messages get checked for SPAM, phishing attempts, viruses, and all types of email evil-doing.

The finish

What happens to your email?

The good stuff, the email messages without any problems, get sent directly to your inbox, just like you want them to. Problematic emails are stored on MX Guarddog's servers in a quarantine. Users receive a daily quarantine report that they can scan for legit email messages. If everything is junk, they don't have to do anything; MX Guarddog drops items from the quarantine after seven days. If an email message in the quarantine is legit, just click it to release the message and whitelist the address the email came from.


If you're on the fence, you can use MX Guarddog for free, which is to say, without a link on your website, for 30 days.

The upshot

MX Guarddog is a solid tool for controlling the onslaught of SPAM aimed at your inbox. Easy to set up and simple to manage, if you're the master of your domain email, MX Guarddog is all you need to keep your inboxes SPAM, malware, and virus free.

See at MX Guarddog

What do you use to manage SPAM on your network and domain-based email?

Do you have a go-to service for filtering SPAM? What's your preferred service and why is it special?

Jeffery Battersby

Jeff is a writer, actor, Apple Certified Trainer, and IT consultant, born and raised in A-town and now living in NY. You can often catch him behind the scenes and on stage at County Players, Falls Theatre. Up next? He's stage managing *Cat on a Hot Tin Roof* at the aforementioned County Players.