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Old 3 Feb 2017, 09:15 AM   #61
tony17112acst
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I just changed the SPF record 2 hours ago to jholl's suggestion (despite not being able to send messages with my hosting service).

I turned off their SPF manager (from the cpanel's menu item) and entered a new txt record ..I hope I did it correctly.
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Old 3 Feb 2017, 09:26 AM   #62
tony17112acst
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Also, Yes, I was suggesting changing DNS for tonytonini.com as a test. Remember tonytonini.com was on 50Webs which has the identical problem Freehostia has ....which is what started all this. So emails were not reaching tonytonin.com (then hosted by 50Webs) which was my main website and full-time email. I transfered anothonytonini.com to Freehostia for testing purposes (because anthonytonini.com was just a parked domain forwarded to tonytonini.com doing nothing).

So ultimately, if we get the Comcact email problem solved with anthonytonini.com at Freehostia, it'll also be solved when I put my tonytonini.com domain back onto 50Webs. When all this is done, anthonytonini.com will be dormant and tonytonini.com will be my full-time email (as it has been for 20+ years).
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Old 3 Feb 2017, 11:29 AM   #63
jhollington
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Yes, the updated SPF record looks syntactically correct, both based on what mavas posted and my own "dig" query (the different output is just two different tools mavas used "nslookup" while I normally use "dig").

Switching the DNS around and testing with tonytonini.com could work as a test then if that's easier to do, however I'd suggest following the easier path first and simply changing the MX record on GoDaddy and leaving the DNS there, since moving DNS between providers can be more complicated and time-consuming.

Before you do this, however, see if GoDaddy will let you set the "TTL" to a lower value (according to this document, you should be able to). Right now the TTL for your MX records is set to 3600 seconds (1 hour), which means this is how long other servers will cache the last results. In other words, if you changed the MX record right now to 50Webs, it might take up to an hour before Comcast (or any other server) gets the message, and if tonytonini.com is a mission-critical domain, you don't want to risk interrupting mail flow for any longer than necessary, so waiting for an hour to get a successful test and then waiting another hour before you know for certain it's switched back wouldn't be a very good idea.

So what I'd suggest is the following:
  1. Set the TTL of the MX record(s) for tonytonini.com to something very low. 60 seconds is a good number if at all possible.
  2. Wait at least an hour to ensure that the old record has expired from any other name servers out on the Internet. If you're using Windows, you can check this from the command-line with the command [pre]nslookup -type=MX -debug tonytonini.com[/pre]. The nslookup command will also work on Mac, but I find dig produces easier-to-read results, so if you're on a Mac (or Linux), use dig mx tonytonini.com.
  3. Once you're sure that you're getting the lower TTL value appearing, change the MX record on GoDaddy to point to 50Webs.
  4. Wait a couple of minutes to make sure it's propagated. Again, the nslookup/dig commands above can be used to check this.
  5. Try sending mail from Comcast.net webmail to your tonytonini.com address and see what happens.

If this is a DNS-related issue, then the test should be successful and the message should get through. If it's not DNS-related, then it will still fail and we've eliminated that as a possibility.
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Old 3 Feb 2017, 02:59 PM   #64
tony17112acst
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Well, I tried it and it still failed. Here's what I did:

(1) I left Godaddy as the name server for tonytonini.com and changed the MX record to mail.50webs.com (with a 10 min. TLL).
(2) Then I sent a test message to tonytonini.com from my Comcast webmail and got nothing.
(3) Then I sent a test message to tonytonini.com from my hotmail webmail account and received it OK.
(4) Here's the NSLOOKUP result after changing the MX record:
Quote:
Got answer:
HEADER:
opcode = QUERY, id = 3, rcode = NOERROR
header flags: response, want recursion, recursion avail.
questions = 1, answers = 1, authority records = 0, additional = 0
QUESTIONS:
tonytonini.com, type = MX, class = IN
ANSWERS:
-> tonytonini.com
MX preference = 10, mail exchanger = mail.50webs.com
ttl = 600 (10 mins)
(5) Then I changed Godaddy's MX record back to Godaddy's original settings.

By the way I am using Windows, so the command you suggested worked beautifully; thanks for the very clear directions!! Setting the low TTL recommendation was a great one too!

I'm trying to think this through - Godaddy is where I purchased all 3 of my domains, which makes them the registrar and that's the only place I can tell where my web+email hosting is ...by entering the name of the name server for whatever hosting service I want, right? If I changed my name servers (via Godaddy) to point to 50webs for my email+web hosting and then made an MX record at 50Webs to point to Godaddy's email host only ...Comcast's SMTP would successfully send it to Godaddy's email because the only thing 50Webs did was store DNS records for where to point mail (MX) traffic ...right? So if Comcast isn't send email traffic to 50Webs, is it possible that the DNS traffic would fail too? ...or aren't there any checks on DNS traffic like email (spam/SPF/DKIM/DMARK/ETC) and everything is just passed through?

Last edited by tony17112acst : 3 Feb 2017 at 03:15 PM.
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Old 3 Feb 2017, 03:48 PM   #65
tony17112acst
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Could this be a clue?

I sent that test email from my Comcast webmail to tonytonini.com when its MX record was pointed to 50webs and I never received it (as expected).

But once I changed the MX record back to godaddy's host, that failed email came through (to godaddy's mail server)!

I don't know routing that well, but Comcast failed to send the email to 50Webs (for some reason) but keeps trying. Would Comcast finding the new MX record in about an hour tell us anything? I guess Comcast SMTP keeps looking at DNS records since it came through to godaddy which was changed mid-sending.
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Old 4 Feb 2017, 12:56 AM   #66
jhollington
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tony17112acst View Post
Well, I tried it and it still failed.
I'm not surprised. It was a bit of a long shot as all of the DNS stuff looked okay from everywhere else, but then again, everywhere else you've tried can also get mail through to 50Webs/Freehostia, so it wouldn't have been out of the question for it to be a DNS issue. At least we've eliminated that possibility.

Quote:
I'm trying to think this through - Godaddy is where I purchased all 3 of my domains, which makes them the registrar and that's the only place I can tell where my web+email hosting is ...by entering the name of the name server for whatever hosting service I want, right?
Essentially correct, although name server hosting, web hosting, and e-mail hosting are three separate things. As you've already discovered, GoDaddy can host your name servers while still having individual records point elsewhere, or you can have GoDaddy as your registrar point to whichever name servers you like. The hierarchy is conceptually REGISTRAR --> NAME SERVERS (DNS) --> WEB/MAIL/etc.

I say "conceptually" because technically the registrar is just responsible for populating the name server entries into the root domain the ".COM" domain in this case. It's not involved the lookup and discovery process. In other words, if you tell GoDaddy that you want your name servers located at Freehostia, for instance, then GoDaddy will publish ns1.freehostia.com and ns2.freehostia.com in the ".COM" domain as the entries for anthonytonini.com, and from there it's up to the DNS system to do the rest of the work the registrar doesn't play any part in the process beyond the initial registration of name servers.

Quote:
If I changed my name servers (via Godaddy) to point to 50webs for my email+web hosting and then made an MX record at 50Webs to point to Godaddy's email host only ...Comcast's SMTP would successfully send it to Godaddy's email because the only thing 50Webs did was store DNS records for where to point mail (MX) traffic ...right?
That's correct, assuming of course that it's not a DNS problem in the first place. However, the test we've just done has eliminated that as a possibility (or at least a key factor), since if it were only a DNS issue, then the lookup would have succeeded and the message would be relayed to 50Webs.

Quote:
So if Comcast isn't send email traffic to 50Webs, is it possible that the DNS traffic would fail too?
Exactly, which is why I said "only" above. It's entirely possible that Comcast can't reach 50Webs/Freehostia's subnets at all, in which case the DNS lookups and the mail delivery would be failing.

You could eliminate that by doing the reverse test move the DNS for tonytonini.com back over to 50Webs/Freehostia and point the MX record to GoDaddy's mail server. If messages still fail to get through, it's a broader communication issue from Comcast to Liquidnet's network.

Quote:
...or aren't there any checks on DNS traffic like email (spam/SPF/DKIM/DMARK/ETC) and everything is just passed through?
There aren't the same kind of checks in DNS traffic at all, so it should just be passed through, but if this is a network-level routing issue, which it very well could be, then if Comcast can't reach anything on the 162.210.102.x subnet, it's going to have just as much trouble reaching the DNS servers as it does the mail servers. Of course, we don't know this at all, but it's a possibility.

As we've been through, most of the spam/SPF/DKIM/DMARC/etc stuff shouldn't be causing this type and level of non-delivery, and in almost all of these cases, Freehostia should know about it if it is they'd have a log entry indicating that they blocked Comcast and why (assuming of course that they know what they're doing and are looking in the right places).

If what Freehostia is telling you is accurate, Comcast's mail servers can't reach Freehostia's in the first place. This speaks to either a DNS or routing issue, and we've eliminated the likelihood that it's purely a DNS issue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tony17112acst View Post
I sent that test email from my Comcast webmail to tonytonini.com when its MX record was pointed to 50webs and I never received it (as expected).

But once I changed the MX record back to godaddy's host, that failed email came through (to godaddy's mail server)!
Sadly, this doesn't really tell us anything beyond the fact that Comcast's systems are otherwise working fine. Based on the fact that we've been seeing temporary failures from Comcast all along, this is completely expected behaviour. The standard SMTP outbound delivery process does a DNS query every time it tries to send the message, since of course a bad DNS entry could be a reason for a transient failure. So in other words, when Comcast tried again later on, it found the updated MX record pointing to GoDaddy, and was able to make a successful connection.

Basically, this is what I think is happening from a procedural point of view:
  1. A message is created at Comcast.net, destined for tonytonini.com
  2. Comcast places that message in an outbound delivery queue.
  3. Comcast's outbound SMTP server attempts to look up the MX record for tonytonini.com, and (hopefully) comes back with the 50Webs mail server. If there's a DNS problem and no MX record is found, we basically skip to step 6.
  4. If an MX record is found, Comcast's outbound SMTP server attempts to establish an SMTP session with the 50Webs mail server.
  5. However, Comcast's outbound SMTP server can't establish a connection for whatever reason either the 50Webs mail server is unreachable, or it unceremoniously hangs up on Comcast without providing a reason.
  6. Comcast logs this as a temporary failure and schedules another attempt later on. This could be 20 minutes later, an hour later or four hours later. The retry intervals depend entirely on the sending server's configuration.
  7. When Comcast tries again, it repeats steps 3 to 6, because of course based on everything we've seen, 50Webs remains unreachable.
  8. Eventually, Comcast's outbound SMTP server gives up on trying (again, a configurable interval, but it appears to be 48 hours based on what we've seen), and bounces the message as entirely undeliverable.

However, if the MX record is changed before steps 3 to 6 are repeated, then Comcast's outbound SMTP server would use the new server, and attempt to communicate with that, delivering the message there, assuming it can find it properly which in your case, it did, and that's why the message came through.
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Old 5 Feb 2017, 05:14 AM   #67
tony17112acst
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A different Comcast tech call me today and said that freeohstia is on a blacklist so thats why comcast isn't sending the messages to them. But thanks to you guys on here I told him that typically blacklists are for RECEIVING emails, not for the sending (Comcast). So he said he'll do more research and call back on Tuesday.

Another brainstorming thought: Comcast's SMPT emails don't attempt to hand off the emails to freehostia (Comcast admits this and Freehostia support claims no log entries). But I can browse to my website at freehostiaa just fine using Comcast's connection ...so does that prove it's not a routing issue with Comcast? thanks!
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Old 5 Feb 2017, 05:18 AM   #68
n5bb
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The email blacklist typically has no effect on web browsing.

Bill
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Old 5 Feb 2017, 05:28 AM   #69
jhollington
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tony17112acst View Post
A different Comcast tech call me today and said that freeohstia is on a blacklist so thats why comcast isn't sending the messages to them. But thanks to you guys on here I told him that typically blacklists are for RECEIVING emails, not for the sending (Comcast). So he said he'll do more research and call back on Tuesday.
Well, like I said, it's not impossible for it to be a blacklist problem if Comcast has made some policy decision not to send to mail servers that are on blacklists, but this would be a very unusual policy on their part. I've never known anybody to do this, and I can't see any logical reason to do so.

Further, 50Webs' mail server is not on a blacklist, and when you tried to send email from your Comcast.net address to there, that also failed.

Quote:
Another brainstorming thought: Comcast's SMPT emails don't attempt to hand off the emails to freehostia (Comcast admits this and Freehostia support claims no log entries). But I can browse to my website at freehostiaa just fine using Comcast's connection ...so does that prove it's not a routing issue with Comcast? thanks!
It's difficult to say. You're correct that it would seem to suggest it's not an issue at the router, but there could still be an IP-level communication from Comcast's mail servers specifically, and Comcast is also such a large network that it's possible web traffic is routed or handled differently from e-mail traffic.
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Old 12 Feb 2017, 12:14 AM   #70
tony17112acst
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Well, I just got a call form Comcast and the technician said that an engineer used a program that records/observes an email internally until it is handed off to the domain of the recipient and they are 100% sure that Comcast is sending the email to Freehostia after seeing it sent from their last "QMTA server."

Knowing that's a possibility, I asked:
(1) Then why are the DNS's coming from Comcast's SMTP servers?
(2) Why would Freehostia's logs show no activity from Comcast with multiple tests?

...I guess (2) is subjective since I assume Freehostia was not deceptive and not incompetent.

So I sent a final support ticket to Freehostia asking if there's one last chance they could verify their conclusion.

I feel like since emails do not reach both Freehostia AND 50Webs, it's likely to be with Comcast, but it's just a hunch.

The conclusions made by Comcast AND Freehostia were both after several rounds of analysis and I am glad they both cared enough to look into it. So I am probably going to have to give up after Freehostia replies to my ticket.
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Old 2 Mar 2017, 10:24 PM   #71
tony17112acst
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Update: Freehostia replied right away and asked for documentation from Comcast that the message is being handed off to their servers. So I sent a request to Comcast and they have not replied for the past 2-3 weeks.

I'll have to call Comcast one more time before giving up. I will probably be forced to have my webhosting with Freehostia/50Webs and email with Godaddy. ...which sucks because 50Webs allows 100 free email boxes and Godaddy allows only 1.

I'll post my final conclusion when Comcast gives me a reason they cannot give me the info I need.
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Old 2 Mar 2017, 11:02 PM   #72
jhollington
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Thanks for the update.... I was wondering the other day how that was working out for you

I'm sorry to hear that you're not getting any traction, although hopefully even if Comcast can't help Freehostia figure it out, maybe at some point whatever change Comcast made that broke it will just get resolved for some unrelated reason, so it may be worth keeping an eye on it and re-checking in the future to see if it suddenly starts working again.
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Old 5 May 2017, 09:32 AM   #73
tony17112acst
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After two months of Comcast ignoring my requests for the info Freehostia was asking for, I decided to try sending a message from my Comcast account on a whim and ....you guessed it; it worked!

So I'm guessing Comcast changed something and they were oblivious to it ..or something liek that.

I am still skittish to rely on freehostia for all of my email. Recall that I'm using Freehostia for web, but my Godaddy (the registrar for the domain) one free email account.

I just thought it would be appropriate to let everyone know since several of you good people have contributed for which I am grateful.

-Tony
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Old 6 May 2017, 06:29 AM   #74
jhollington
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Interesting. Thanks for circling back to let us know. Too bad we never satisfied out curiosity of figuring out what the real issue was, but I guess it's just good enough news that it's been sorted out
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Old 6 May 2017, 06:39 AM   #75
TenFour
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Quote:
Too bad we never satisfied out curiosity of figuring out what the real issue was
In my experience working for a large email service provider with professional departments working on deliverability issues, there were times when we could never sort out why emails were not getting through. In some cases they just seemed to disappear. For my own part, that experience and my own experiments with various email providers (for personal use) lead me to rank reliability and deliverability as my #1 priority in a service. I don't care how much you save, how sweet the interface, or the privacy of a service if your emails don't get to your contacts and their emails don't get to you.
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