Home – New Forums Tech talk IP reputation kills email

  • This topic is empty.
Viewing 8 posts - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #989303
    usethings
    Member
    • Total posts: 6
    Up
    0
    ::

    Thought I’d share our recent experience of emails being shut down for over a week with big impact on our business.

    We have an ISP for our internet and phone, all-good for over 10 years. Since we set up our business website with a host 8 or more years ago we’ve used an email forwarder to go from our business name email addresses at the host server to our ISP email addresses.

    Incoming mail started disappearing — often without a bounce message to the sender, over a week ago; not sure when as only regular clients rang us.

    We’ve finally found the problem after haranguing our ISP and host for a week, seems like we share a website host server with some dodgy operators so the IP address was given a “poor reputation” at senderbase.org and the ISP then blocked our emails forwarded from that IP address… complicated.

    Unfortunately it came at a time when two projects where at a critical period so effectively shredding our business. Only regular clients called us, who knows how many new customers and subscriptions have been lost. And many hours trying to understand off-shore tech help people and inspire them to get on our case, with big gaps of no action in-between.

    Did manage to set up email access directly on the host server but thats a pretty clunky webmail interface to log into. Might try to hook up our computers email accounts to the server if I’m feeling brave tech-wise and have a couple of hours to figure it out.

    At least we know what we are dealing with now so can move to a solution — tech-help gods willing! But that may be another week before the IP reputation improves after the host makes changes. So despite posting on our blog and social media, some customers and clients might not bother to chase us after a bounce message, if they did get a bounce message.

    Once we’re operational again will ask the host if there is any way to guarantee this won’t happen again. Will let you know what I find out.

    #1171467
    PaulCunningham
    Member
    • Total posts: 8
    Up
    0
    ::

    That’s an unfortunate story, and you’ve hit the nail on the head. IP reputation matters so much when it comes to email deliverability, and with so much spam and malware originating from shared web hosting servers or residential broadband connections it is almost impossible to run a reliable mail service from one of them.

    Frankly, the days of hosting your email on the same shared web server where you’re running your website should be behind us by now, but I still see a lot of small business running into the same issues that you have. Worse, the web server is often a single point of failure that takes out their entire online presence (both web and email) at once when it goes down.

    You can host your website with your web host, and host your email elsewhere. In fact I strongly recommend that you do.

    There are two main players to choose from when it comes to affordable small business email hosting – Office 365 and Google Apps for Business.

    Both are comparable on price and features, but my opinion (having used and supported both) is that Office 365 wins, especially if you’re already a Windows user and familiar with Office/Outlook applications. The reason for that is I see too many cases where calendar/meeting items get a bit messed up in Google Apps and somebody misses an important client meeting as a result.

    On the other hand I do know of plenty of businesses happy with Google Apps, so don’t feel like there’s a wrong answer here. Really the only wrong answer is to keep hosting your email on your web server ;-)

    It’s possible my response has opened up more questions for you at this point so feel free to ask here or reach out to me if you need more info. Happy to help.

    #1171468
    TehCamel
    Member
    • Total posts: 873
    Up
    0
    ::

    If I understand correctly what you’re describing:

    I send an email to [email protected]
    This email is received by your email hosting server, who is also your web hosting server.
    That email then forwards from [email protected] to [email protected] (as an example)
    those emails stopped coming through because the web-host got rep-smashed?

    when you reply, what email address appears to me?
    What do you use to send/receive email at present?

    there’s no way for the host to guarantee their IPs won’t get blacklisted. The only way they can do that is to have you on a private server, rather than a shared one.

    even if you start sending and receiving all your email through the webhost server, you may find that some of the emails you are sending people will get hit by exactly the same problem until the reputation issue is resolved.

    This is one of the reasons I always suggest a proper email provider, or proper email provision service. Places like Justhost, Crazydomains etc, add email services as a “free extra” – but offer minimal support and usually exclude it from their service level agreements. So even if it’s down for a week, you can’t claim rebate on your service fees.

    I’d be happy to help you remotely & free of charge, setup your email to talk directly to the web-hosting server today or tomorrow if you have the time.

    In terms of longer-term solutions, there’s options like Office365 and Google apps, both for as little as $5.00 per mailbox per month.
    Rackspace can do email for as little as $2.00 per mailbox per month. Uber start at $1.95 per mailbox.

    It does sound like a lot – but consider how much business you might have lost the past week or so. These services are usually backed with business grade service agreements and rebates. They also have huge levels of redundancy that the small web-host services don’t have.

    I’m happy to talk to you about any of these options as well (I am an Office365 partner and would make commission but doesn’t mean it’s the best solution and doesn’t mean it’s the one I’d press for.)

    #1171469
    Anonymous
    Guest
    • Total posts: 11,464
    Up
    0
    ::

    Hi Paul and Andy,

    Just a quick note to thank you for your kind advice and offer of help to usethings. Those kinds of issues are the type of thing that make a non-techy person (like me!) break out in a cold sweat, and knowing that there are people in our community who can reach out with helpful advice and info brings warmth to my heart.

    You guys rock.

    Welcome to Flying Solo too, by the way Paul. We’re thrilled you’re here :)
    Jayne

    #1171470
    usethings
    Member
    • Total posts: 6
    Up
    0
    ::

    Thanks Paul

    Turns out there was a script on the server that was sending out malware, according to our host: “it’s been removed and the server is being scanned for more. It’s a hard one to specifically guard against as these scripts are installed by scripts themselves and are constantly changing.”

    Once the server is clear it will take up to 5 days to recover its reputation. In the mean time I’ve set up a direct connection from our computers email program to the server so we are getting mail now. Didn’t even know this was possible — amazing what you can learn when you have to!

    I now get what you say about hosting and email all on one server, will look into the email hosting you suggest. Our host suggests setting up a gmail account and forwarding to that but I guess there might be blocking issues there if this happens again.

    Great to have your response: helped me with this steep learning curve of the last few days! Cheers.

    #1171471
    usethings
    Member
    • Total posts: 6
    Up
    0
    ::

    Hi Teh

    Correct in the chain of connections you describe. We use Mac Mail and have reply-to addresses @usethings even via our ISP addresses.

    I asked our host about this happening in the future and as you say, no way to guarantee it won’t.

    Now have receiving direct to Mac mail from the server, but what you say makes me think I should leave the sending via our ISP address to avoid the blacklisting—unless they cop it too!

    Thanks for the offer of help with mail set-up, I think I’ve got it sorted but will check to see its all running OK over the next few days.

    Paul above suggested the email hosting and I will check them out, had never heard of this before — small business: from one steep learning curve to another!

    Thanks for your thoughts on this.

    #1171472
    PaulCunningham
    Member
    • Total posts: 8
    Up
    0
    ::
    FS Concierge, post: 199114 wrote:
    Welcome to Flying Solo too, by the way Paul. We’re thrilled you’re here :)
    Jayne

    Happy to be here, seems like a great community.

    #1171473
    TehCamel
    Member
    • Total posts: 873
    Up
    0
    ::
    usethings, post: 199143 wrote:
    Hi Teh

    Correct in the chain of connections you describe. We use Mac Mail and have reply-to addresses @usethings even via our ISP addresses.

    I asked our host about this happening in the future and as you say, no way to guarantee it won’t.

    Now have receiving direct to Mac mail from the server, but what you say makes me think I should leave the sending via our ISP address to avoid the blacklisting—unless they cop it too!

    Thanks for the offer of help with mail set-up, I think I’ve got it sorted but will check to see its all running OK over the next few days.

    Paul above suggested the email hosting and I will check them out, had never heard of this before — small business: from one steep learning curve to another!

    Thanks for your thoughts on this.
    using your ISP email is a pretty safe bet. Especially if you use telstra or optus – they commonly block outbound connections to anything other than their mail servers anyway – at least the standard method.

    Considering you’re using macmail, then Google Apps might be the better option than Office365. O365 works, it’s just not as natively entwined as it is with outlook. Even Outlook for Mac is a little bit of a redheaded stepchild.

    I wouldn’t forward the email from your webhost – I’d simply set it up to bypass your webhost completely and have all email delivered to google apps, or whatever solution you end up choosing.

    you just need to change the DNS MX record – google apps give you instructions on how to do this – it’s not too daunting :)

    regards
    Andy

Viewing 8 posts - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.