Email is down

I’m still suffering some server issues. In particular none of the Leoville email addresses are working. I can see mail in the queue (over 3000 messages) but they’re not getting directed to my inbox.

So if you’ve sent me mail in the past three days chances are good I didn’t get it yet. I’m working on the problem and hope to have it solved soon.

UPDATE: After considerable hair tearing, and experimentation, I’ve figured out (by reviewing the Qmail logs) that, my IMAP host, and one I’ve long recommended, has been greylisting the server. Just in case something like this happens to you, here’s what to look for.

My mail follows a somewhat tortuous route. When you send a message to it’s first forwarded to Mailroute for sanitization. This kills well over 1 million spam messages to me a month. The remaining 30,000 messages a month are sent to my server at which immediately redirects it to Fastmail, my IMAP host, where it’s stored until I access it. Fastmail has its own anti-spam stuff, including the bit that bit me, greylisting.

Greylisting is a clever antispam technique that tells an SMTP server to come back later. The delay can be anything from 15 minutes (typical) to several days. The theory being that a spammer will move on, but legitmate emailers will try again. Unfortunately Fastmail has set my greymail interval to something like four million seconds, so my mail piles up for several days before it’s delivered to me. Fastmail does this if your reverse DNS looks like a home IP address instead of a legit SMTP server. (They discuss what they’re doing on their blog.) Makes sense since many home computers are used to forward spam, but it’s flummoxed me. I couldn’t figure out what was happening.

The fix was to complain to Fastmail and change my reverse DNS to actually say Not sure which worked, but all of a sudden I’m getting a LOT of mail. If you sent me something in the past couple of days I’ll get back to you ASAP. Sorry for the delay. Now I’ve got to go turn off that damn new mail sound.

One Reply to “Email is down”

  1. This is a Carbonite complaint. After hearing about Carbonite from your TechGuy radio show, I signed up about 18 months ago. I recently had to use Carbonite because I was forced to erase my hard disk. I now have lost some very valuable videos because Carbonite doesn't backup video files as a default – you have to specially select them. I guess this is OK, but why don't they tell us. Their response to my complaint was that video files consume too much memory. Maybe you can convince them to alert users to this situation. Maybe even mention it on your show.

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