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you would need to get yourself familiar with SMTP, postfix, SPF/DKIM, mx-validation, blacklists etc. And by "familiar" I mean "learn it tothe core"

Why? Wouldn't the "proper" or "best" way of configuring all these things be pretty much the same for everyone? Why could this just not be a receipe: do all these things, in this order, etc.

I don't know anything about this space, but I strongly suspect the generic answer applies: because you need to be able to debug the system when things go wrong. Things always go wrong, and no recipe can replace expertise when they do.

As OP said, there are also things to consider, such as IP reputation, etc... I've done higher volume mailing from a tiny server just like OP, but we also had a couple huge slices of a /24 and pile of /16 net blocks GRE tunneled and used different blocks of addresses for different types of mail. It's not as simple as just setting this up and forgetting it, there's a good bit of arcane knowledge required to do it right. If you're sending millions of messages per day, you cannot afford to burn a bunch of IP addresses because you triggered grey/blacklists for major ISPs or email providers. Shit, these days, you can't afford to burn IP addresses, period. They are officially exhausted. If you HAVE to hit a user's inbox, you can assuredly afford to spend a few grand setting it up right, and then reap the rewards for months/years afterwards for very little recurring cost. Just my two cents, as someone who built a single server to send millions of messages per day.

Well, there ARE recipes indeed, but sometimes people (legitimate people, not spammers) have their email settings misconfigured and you have to fix things...

Example: good practice is to reject (or at least defer) an email if the sending server is not listed in the domain's SPF record. But lots of people are sending email "on behalf" of gmail without even knowing it (when their mail-server forwards a gmail-message to another address, and this address never receives it).

There are tons of little gotchas like this that you need to look into :((

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