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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Seattle, Washington

    Sent email never arrives

    We have fifteen people all using company email accounts ([email protected]). Most staff use Outlook or Outlook Express, though a few use other mail clients. Three different ISPs are used and two different connection methods (we're all over the U.S.). A lot of differences but we're all having the same problem: We send our email and only about half of it ever arrives. Outlook Express (or other programs) "records" it as being sent but it doesn't arrive.

    We spent five hours with Microsoft techs trying to figure this out. Then four days and twenty+ emails with our host. Finally we hired a private tech to come and take a look. No fix. Just big bills.

    Three days ago we changed hosts. The problem followed us.

    Since all of our accounts are online (web-based -- our email is through our host), we all rely on being able to pull email offline, answer it offline and then send it. All three of these things required hurdles to get them to work. But this strange "disappearing" email thing has us stumped... and pretty much crippled. We get an enormous amount of email

    Any ideas?


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    idea: while answering offline, webmail connection may be timing out.
    try typing something in notepad, then quickly opening test emails, pasting the text, and sending.

    also: different security software settings may cause some email programs to non-connect. at home, I needed to allow Norton's "common client user app" to access the internet for one of my email checking programs to function.

  3. #3
    I am stumped, too. I hope you figure it out.
    I suppose the offline bit may be a cause of the mix ups.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2000
    I have seen this happen before.

    It could well be due to the ISPs changing their authentication requirements of mail servers that they will receive from, or you could be on a spam list and being blacklisted from many ISPs.

    One of the first things I would do to try to bypass the issue is this:

    If you have your outlook or other mail program set with the SMTP server as ,
    then change that to the SMTP setting of the ISP that is used to connect with. You said people use different ISPs depending on their location... have them check with their ISP for the SMTP setting to use.

    This is just the sending mail server. Using a ISPs mail server to send can stop this problem if it has to do with many of the new issues that keep popping up due to different spam prevention programs that hosts and ISPs are using and updaing.

    An example would be
    or something like that. It uses good reverse DNS entries, and will not get deleted if that is what has been causing the problem.

    Best of luck,

    Tim L
    Superior Host LLC - Quality Web Hosting since 1998
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  5. #5
    what ever MTA you are using you should be able to check logs.

    I take it this is a running on a Microsoft machine and possible a Microsoft MTA.

    what about the MX records? are they set up correctly?

  6. #6
    I read somewhere that some ISP's won't accept mail if Reverse DNS isn't setup - so you might want to double check that.

    Can you check the Junk Mail folders on the recieving computers?

    Do you ahve access to web mail? If so - do you experience lost mail when sent via webmail?

    As mentioned above - check your log files to make sure the messages were sent.

  7. #7
    Since you said you were working with your host, do they see it entering and leaving their systems? If so then from there you should troubleshoot by spoofing an email from the host to the destination mail exchange. Disappering emails, never heard of that. Again server policies can explain for many of the missing email issues.
    Datums Internet Solutions, LLC
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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Seattle, Washington
    Wow! Thank you for all the ideas.

    I know this isn't a timing out issue because we've explored that -- changing the setting to 24-hour time out, etc.

    It would be horrifying to find out we were on some kind of spam list. We're a publisher with more than 300 authors but we never even send *them* bulk emails and don't do any kind of email-based advertising.

    However, I changed the smtp to my ISP (I haven't passed the possible fix on to my fellows yet) smtp which I guessed was (I am somewhat embarrassed to admit I'm the only one wth the company using AOL dail-up... so old school, I suppose). The account now seems to be working perfectly! Could all this time and money have been over something as small as a smtp address?

    I asked this question to our senior editor. She says that Microsoft had her do the same thing (change to msn's smtp). The problem didn't go away for her, however. Hm.

    I'm going to pass the fix on, any way, and we'll just have to keep checking to make sure all is fine. The biggest fear around here is we think we've sent something important out and it never arrives... and fires start to break out.

    Just in case...

    My host (we switched from Apollo to ixwebhosting) has been no help, I'm afraid. Beyond telling us to triple-check our settings. Where would I find these logs that tell me if mail is going in and out? IX tells me they can't "direct me to logs." Okay.

    All staff are using Microsoft XP. What's MTA? MX records? I'm sorry I'm obviously not as saavy as I need to be to face this strange problem. I'm willing to put in the hours if it fixes the problem.

    Don't know about Reverse DNS but I can say that any mail sent from the web-based interface always sends. It's only when we try to send from offline.

    If the smtp fix sticks, well, superiorhost, I owe you great thanks. And thanks to everyone who responded so quickly. Should I send free books?


  9. #9
    I'm glad you found a solution.

    I'm not an expert in mail but maybe one can answer this question. Could the problem possibly be the mail server interpretring some messages as being relayed and thus not sending them? It is weird that some make it and some do not.

    For security reasons my employer turned off SMTP unless the mail was sent from our physical network. So at home we must use our ISP's SMTP server or use the webmail interface.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Austin, TX
    I wasn't clear on if you had a mail server at your location or not - I think that is what the poster was referring to when mentioning MTX and MX records, etc. If you have been using your web hosting to send email (if the domain name and email services are being controlled by the host, and they were providing you with SMTP), I would think they should provide you support on it. However, they would need to be able to duplicate the problem to come up with a resolution.

    If you have a dedicated IP address for your web site/domain account, I suggest doing a quick check on some block lists to be sure that isn't the origin of the issue. Even if you can start using your ISP's smtp server, a block-listed web host or IP address will cause you some headaches.

    Here is a link where you can check some blocklists:

    Best of luck.
    Premium Hosting Services Since 1996
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