Things that can go wrong

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Things that can go wrong during Spam Filter Activation

The spam filtering system is pretty simple in design. Normally email goes directly to your email server. To use our filters what you do is tell the world that our servers are the servers that receive email for your domain. This is done through DNS (Domain Name Services). DNS has a record called the MX (Mail eXchange) records to tell the world where the email goes.

When email arrives at our servers we process it and send it on to your server. We have a routing table that we set up when we create your account. We read your current MX record and store it in our table, something like this.

Normally this just works and everything is happy. It takes several hours for the mew MX information to propagate and quickly the spam dies down to a small trickle. That's what's supposed to happen but sometimes things don't work that way. So here are some things that might happen and what to do about it.

Rejecting your own email

Internet -----> Junk Email Filter ---XXX--> Your Email Server

One problem that can arise has to do with the configuration of your server that is receiving email from our servers. Your server can start rejecting email that our servers are sending. Why would this happen? Some system are set up so that they have to be the lowest MX record. If they aren't the lowest MX record then they want to forward the email back to our servers and will generally reject email saying that my servers are not allowed to relay mail. And all the email for your domain will start bouncing.

Should this happen you need to do something on your end to fix it. If you control your own server you have to tell your server that it is still the destination for your domain. If you do not own your server contact the technical support of the people who maintain your email and pass this message on to them. If you can't do either of these then you should set your MX records back to the original values until we can figure out how to make it work.

Rate limiting

Because all the email for your domain starts coming from one source your server's anti-spam software will start getting suspicious because of the volume of email coming from us and decide that we are spammers. They might not reject the messages but slow them down through rate limiting which would cause some of your email to be delayed for hours.

Don't black list us

Since no spam filter is 100% accurate some spam will get through our filters. Because the spam appears to come from us your server might think we are a spam source and blacklist our servers and start rejecting your email. Sometimes we get listed on spam blocking lists and your hosting company might start blocking based on that list.

Owned Servers vs. Hosted Servers

There are two kinds of customers; those who own their own servers, and those whose email servers are controlled by some vendor. If you own your own server you can correct the problem if it is on your end. If you use a vendor then you will need to contact their tech support if it is on their end.

In such a situation there are a number of things that can be done. the first thing you will need is the contact support numbers for both us and them. The first thing to do is to contact us. Even if the problem is not on our end there are many things we can do. first of all we can usually quickly determine exactly what the problem is and what needs to be done. Once we have determined the problem if it is on our end we can immediately fix it. And we would want to know that.

However even if it is not on our end we can often trick your server into taking the email. If it's a blocked IP we can reroute your email to other servers or other IP addresses and bypass the problem. If your server stops accepting mail for your domain then we can switch to a mode where we accept your email and store it so that it's not lost until the problem is fixed.

If you just turned service on and your server starts bouncing your email then sometimes the best solution is to switch the MX records back and that will fix your email fairly quickly. We can then contact their tech support people and see what we can work out. Some services are just not compatible at all because some vendors are just not sharp enough to properly configure their email servers.

It is important to us that you not lose your email. So if there's a problem we want to fix it.

What to do

If an emergency occurs when you are not getting any email then what you don't want to do is email me from an address that is failed because we can't respond to you. If you are going to email us then send a message from another domain like a yahoo or gmail account and include a phone number in case we need to call you.

If you made a change in something that might have caused the problem then try changing it back. Even if the problem isn't on our end we can help you figure it out. We can also talk to your tech people to help resolve any issues.

To contact us call 415-992-3400 or email

IMPORTANT - If you are not getting any email - don't email us from the domain that is broken because you won't get the reply. Please send an email from another domain such as gmail, yahoo, or hotmail. If you are having an emergency please include your phone number in your email.

Other things that can go wrong

Even if your email has been filtering fine things can still go wrong. If you stop getting email all of a sudden there are a number of things that might have gone wrong that you can check or fix. Most of the time this happens it has nothing to do with us. But we can help you figure out what the problem is and how to fix it.

Did your domain expire?

If you let your domain expire you email will stop. Check to make sure your email hasn't expired.

Is your name server still working?

If your name server dies or your MX records get pointed somewhere else then you might not get your email anymore. Sometimes you ISP screws up and changes your settings. Check your MX records and make sure that are still pointing to our servers.

Did you move your server?

If you move your email service you might need to let us know because we might be forwarding to your old server. We usually set forwarding to the host name of your old MX record.

Sometimes all you have to do is change your to point to the new IP address. You might want to contact us ahead of time if you are moving your server so we can make sure the transition goes correctly. And if you are having problems, do email us from the dead domain. Use an outside email address so that we can reply.

Is your server rejecting your own email?

Check you logs. If mail from us is bouncing with a message like "You are not authorized to relay email" then your server doesn't know it is the home for your domain. You should fix that right away because mail is being bounced.

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