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346 posts

Ultimate Geek
+1 received by user: 49


  Reply # 621844 8-May-2012 19:24 Send private message

Having no luck getting it working in outlook express, anyone want to give a walk through?

7 posts

Wannabe Geek


Reply # 622264 9-May-2012 15:01 Send private message

We have had all our Xtra Business customers affected (or rather, "infected") with this issue.

The issue arose late Friday (4th) afternoon and is still ongoing as of today.

 

After speaking to their Complex Technical Support team (and speaking in SMTP language) and being “escalated” a number of times I eventually ended up having a geek-to-geek conversation with an engineer who knew what he was talking about (it’s rare but it DOES happen).

 

I recorded the conversation; luckily I did as the conversation captured the “cat out of the bag” and admittance that the entire Telecom/Xtra Network has been [once again] Blacklisted – this time in a VERY serious way.

 

All our customers’ Exchange Servers that were configured with Xtra’s Smart Host for sending were changed to route Email via DNS – problem instantaneously fixed!

 

However (my favourite word), it’s still pretty pointless if the sent Emails are being routed to another Xtra customer affected by the same issue but it has resolved the immediate crisis of Emails bogging up in the Exchange Queue.

 

Why would you want to use Xtra’s Smart Host to route your Email in the first place?

The answer is VERY simple; a large portion of recipients of our business customers are also on the Xtra Network. If you use DNS to route Email to Xtra (and Yahoo) customers the Email either goes “poof” or ends up in the recipients Junk/Spam folder – I am yet to find an Xtra Email customer that actually knows how to check their Junk/Spam folders.

Xtra does not like Email that it receives from an “un-trusted” source and thus gives it a low-reputation which triggers all sorts of actions with AntiSpam filters.

 

To best ensure that all bases are covered we like to use an ISP’s Smart Host as a first choice.

Given that most ISP’s Smart Hosts have limitations in Email sizes, using a Smart Host will not allow a customer to route large attachments (as required by many of our Legal and Accountancy customers). So, it (using a Smart Host) may not always be ideal and, especially in times of trouble (like now) will cause chaos.

3043 posts

Uber Geek
+1 received by user: 223

Trusted
Subscriber

  Reply # 622271 9-May-2012 15:07 Send private message

ComputerSense: We have had all our Xtra Business customers affected (or rather, "infected") with this issue.

The issue arose late Friday (4th) afternoon and is still ongoing as of today.

 

After speaking to their Complex Technical Support team (and speaking in SMTP language) and being “escalated” a number of times I eventually ended up having a geek-to-geek conversation with an engineer who knew what he was talking about (it’s rare but it DOES happen).

 

I recorded the conversation; luckily I did as the conversation captured the “cat out of the bag” and admittance that the entire Telecom/Xtra Network has been [once again] Blacklisted – this time in a VERY serious way.

 

All our customers’ Exchange Servers that were configured with Xtra’s Smart Host for sending were changed to route Email via DNS – problem instantaneously fixed!

 

However (my favourite word), it’s still pretty pointless if the sent Emails are being routed to another Xtra customer affected by the same issue but it has resolved the immediate crisis of Emails bogging up in the Exchange Queue.

 

Why would you want to use Xtra’s Smart Host to route your Email in the first place?

The answer is VERY simple; a large portion of recipients of our business customers are also on the Xtra Network. If you use DNS to route Email to Xtra (and Yahoo) customers the Email either goes “poof” or ends up in the recipients Junk/Spam folder – I am yet to find an Xtra Email customer that actually knows how to check their Junk/Spam folders.

Xtra does not like Email that it receives from an “un-trusted” source and thus gives it a low-reputation which triggers all sorts of actions with AntiSpam filters.

 

To best ensure that all bases are covered we like to use an ISP’s Smart Host as a first choice.

Given that most ISP’s Smart Hosts have limitations in Email sizes, using a Smart Host will not allow a customer to route large attachments (as required by many of our Legal and Accountancy customers). So, it (using a Smart Host) may not always be ideal and, especially in times of trouble (like now) will cause chaos.


I would never, ever use a smart host as your are completely dependent on the status of that smart host as to the routing of your email.

I run a few hundred email accounts doing about 10k emails a day and have never had an issue with them being marked as spam for virtually any recipient be it hotmail, Xtra, whoeever. Just make sure you cover the basics such as:

- reverse DNS
- SPF

etc.

Creating all kinds of extra "link in the chain" is inviting trouble and your better just to set it up right the first time.





124 posts

Master Geek
+1 received by user: 1


  Reply # 622272 9-May-2012 15:09 Send private message

@ComputerSense - one of our sites was also using the Xtra smart host to send mail. I made the change to send via DNS this morning and that has resolved it. At first, I didn't want to set up that way as there were a lot of configuration changes in our spam filter I had to change, but happy that I have invested the time to sort that out for future as well.

5 posts

Wannabe Geek


  Reply # 622319 9-May-2012 16:19 Send private message

But what if my Exchange is behind a Telecom connection?
If the whole network is blacklisted, the DNS sending is not gonna work, even thought you got SPF and Rev.DNS.

I just changed my server to send via DNS instead smtp.xtra but got NDR's from other servers right away, because my IP is of course banned.

Does anybody know any reliable smart host in New Zealand to use with Exchange?

3043 posts

Uber Geek
+1 received by user: 223

Trusted
Subscriber

  Reply # 622330 9-May-2012 16:32 Send private message

Woah is the whole Telecom AS blacklisted? LOL if so.





7 posts

Wannabe Geek


Reply # 622337 9-May-2012 16:42 Send private message

This is more a question than a reply...

We had a customer with the EXACT issue you are experiencing (although maybe not as bad as yours). After "enough is enough" we started by transferring the customer’s domains (they have four Email domains in total) from Xtra to Discount Domains - lo-and-behold, as soon as propagation started the issues disappeared!

The customer is wrapped, have full control of their DNS configuration online and immediate – not to mention cheaper!

My question to them super-geeks out there is; Why? The customer’s ADSL connection is still on Xtra and they’re using Exchange.

Something sinister is going on...

5 posts

Wannabe Geek


  Reply # 622363 9-May-2012 17:10 Send private message

ComputerSense: This is more a question than a reply...

We had a customer with the EXACT issue you are experiencing (although maybe not as bad as yours). After "enough is enough" we started by transferring the customer’s domains (they have four Email domains in total) from Xtra to Discount Domains - lo-and-behold, as soon as propagation started the issues disappeared!

The customer is wrapped, have full control of their DNS configuration online and immediate – not to mention cheaper!

My question to them super-geeks out there is; Why? The customer’s ADSL connection is still on Xtra and they’re using Exchange.

Something sinister is going on...


Not sure if that answers but in my case (actually my customer) there's simply no other option. Telecom ADSL is the only one available and the only one to offer fixed IP (Orcon won't). Also, nothing to complain about xtra speed lately.

Main thing is smtp seems to be bloody unreliable.

Are discount domains hosted in NZ?

7 posts

Wannabe Geek


  Reply # 622375 9-May-2012 17:25 Send private message

All ISPs will supply a static IP address if you apply for it. We have customers with static IPs on Orcon, Clear, Vodafone, CallPlus to name only a few.

Yes, Discount Domains is local and "made in NZ".

SMTP would "seem" to be unreliable if actions that "Zeon" mentioned are not implemented. Even omitting to setup RDNS and/or SPF. SMTP is "direct and to the point" and is the most reliable mechanism which can be "track and traced" to troubleshoot issues. Failures are reported in a clear fashion (with the help of an SMTP dictionary of course) and can be used to pin-point delivery failures very accurately. SMTP delivery issues are mostly caused by the receiving system being unhappy with the reputation of your own (ISP's) network which can be fixed with RDNS and SPF.


5 posts

Wannabe Geek


  Reply # 622380 9-May-2012 17:33 Send private message

ComputerSense: All ISPs will supply a static IP address if you apply for it. We have customers with static IPs on Orcon, Clear, Vodafone, CallPlus to name only a few.

Yes, Discount Domains is local and "made in NZ".

SMTP would "seem" to be unreliable if actions that "Zeon" mentioned are not implemented. Even omitting to setup RDNS and/or SPF. SMTP is "direct and to the point" and is the most reliable mechanism which can be "track and traced" to troubleshoot issues. Failures are reported in a clear fashion (with the help of an SMTP dictionary of course) and can be used to pin-point delivery failures very accurately. SMTP delivery issues are mostly caused by the receiving system being unhappy with the reputation of your own (ISP's) network which can be fixed with RDNS and SPF.



On my case I only had Orcon or Telecom available (it's a small town) and Orcon refused to give us static IP and we tried in many ways. They used to do it but apparently not anymore.

I shall consider discount domains. Basically we don't want to troubleshoot much, just had a third party smarthost and give pass the trouble to them.

Otherwise RDNS + SPF, but not with xtra getting BANNED Tongue Out

17 posts

Geek


  Reply # 622383 9-May-2012 17:36 Send private message

Is there a guide to settings up RDNS & SPF ? Is it some config on the server itself, or is it done by/on the host of your domain name ?

7 posts

Wannabe Geek


  Reply # 622387 9-May-2012 17:48 Send private message

RDNS is done by your ISP. We have had major sucess in setting this up for all of our non-Xtra customers. RDNS, in a nutshell, is a DNS record that translates your IP to your Domain Name (IE: 202.99.99.99:mydomain.co.nz) instead of the standard "other way around".

I'll give Xtra's CTS team a call in the morning and place a pending request to have this happen on behalf of one of our customers - it will be an interesting excercise and I am looking forward to recording that conversation too!

SPF is setup by yourself on your own Exchange Server. Many articles out there explaing that but search for SPF and the Exchange version you are actually using. Again, I trust Zeon may be able to provide more acurate insight into that - we have got external help in the past in setting up SPF for our customers but I suppose its time now for us to get some more experience on that.

5 posts

Wannabe Geek


  Reply # 622403 9-May-2012 18:18 Send private message

So here's a dilema for me:
1. Keep Xtra as smarthost and keep xtra responsible for delivery
2. Hire another smarthost, such as Discount Domains and get rid of Xtra smtp forever, still third party is responsible for delivery.
3. Use RDNS, SPF and SMTP but have to troubleshoot and be responsible for delivery issues.

Only thing that scares me out is ending up with something even more unreliable, and my customer is quite "not little" .. email is really vital for them.

17 posts

Geek


  Reply # 622645 10-May-2012 08:27 Send private message

So RDNS is like NSlookup ?

7 posts

Wannabe Geek


  Reply # 622683 10-May-2012 09:18 Send private message

triad: So here's a dilema for me:
1. Keep Xtra as smarthost and keep xtra responsible for delivery
2. Hire another smarthost, such as Discount Domains and get rid of Xtra smtp forever, still third party is responsible for delivery.
3. Use RDNS, SPF and SMTP but have to troubleshoot and be responsible for delivery issues.

Only thing that scares me out is ending up with something even more unreliable, and my customer is quite "not little" .. email is really vital for them.


As long as Emails appear to other systems to be coming from Xtra you will have continual problems and need to implement all sorts of complex workarounds.
Using a different Smart Host will definatly cure the headaches to an extent that you probably wont need to implement any further RDNS and SPF workarounds but using them too will make it bullet-proof.
Discount Domains are a Domain Registrar but do provide Mail services etc. but I am unsure of their requirments to use their Smart Host - I think you may need to purchase some or other "package" from them.
I'm not an SMTP expert and I dont know if using a different Smart Host will mask the fact that your Emails are originating from a Server on a blacklisted Network.

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