Weekly product update: Increased character limit for link rewriting and account management improvements
This week, we've worked on a few features that customers had been requesting. Specifically, we increased the character limit for link rewriting and added a new account management feature to make it easier to downgrade to a free plan.
Link rewriting now supports urls up to 1000 characters
One of our awesome customers recently came to us with a problem. We want Mailgun to rewrite our links so we can use open & click tracking, but the limit of 255 characters is way too short, they said.
The issue is that they were using a lot of tracking parameters in their URLs and so were sometimes going over the 255 character limit. We love data so understood where the customer was coming from. It was also something that we could easily implement so we added support for URLs that are up to 1000 characters. You can still send urls that are longer than 1000 characters, Mailgun just won't rewrite them.
If you're curious, this is what 1000 characters look like. You'll probably have to scroll....
A little more on link tracking
In case you don't know, here's how link tracking works. First, you need to set up a CNAME DNS record in your Mailgun control panel. A CNAME is an alias for a domain. To understand why that is needed, its helpful to understand what happens when Mailgun tracks clicks and opens for your emails.
When we track clicks for your emails, we point all your links to our own servers first (so we can count the clicks on our server), and then redirect the user to your own site. This all happens transparently for the user so they don't notice anything (unless they are very technical and understand how CNAMEs and redirects work). For opens it's a little different but the idea is the same: we insert a transparent pixel into your emails so that when the email is opened (with images turned on), we serve the image and register an open.
If we didn't rewrite links using the alias that you set up with the CNAME record, when your user hovers over one of the links in their email client, they would see a mailgun.org URL instead of your site's url. The CNAME solves this issue. Users see all links pointing to your site and as an added bonus, it's helpful for deliverability if the domain in your links matches the sender domain. PROFIT!
To turn on open & click tracking, just visit the Tracking tab of the Mailgun control panel.
Manage your Mailgun account easier with new downgrade option
Lots of Mailgun customers are developers working on awesome new apps. Sometimes great ideas don't get the traction they deserve though and that paid Mailgun account doesn't make financial sense anymore. We've always allowed our customers to downgrade to a free account by contacting support, but really, having to contact us for that is kind of lame (yes, we admit it). So now, if you want to keep your Mailgun account, but move to a free tier, you can do it automatically in the control panel. Moving to a free tier means that you will be able to maintain your domains, and email history for when you want to upgrade again. But if you were using a dedicated IP address, you will lose that, as well as your logs. And if you want to cancel your account entirely, we hate to see you go, but hey, you can do that too directly from the control panel.
That's it for this week.