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PeterMartinez
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Message 1 of 35

Re: POP3 server not working in 01243 area

I wanted to start a new topic but the "New Message" link has vanished.

 

I am also unable to send via SMTP or receive via POP3. Using the TELNET utility, it looks like the mail.btinternet.com servers time-out at the "pass" command.  Maybe the server isn't getting a response from a remote password database?  I am with BTYahoo, which uses the CPcloud servers.  A separate yahoo.co.uk account is working OK - that uses yahoo SMTP/POP3 servers.  The BT chat line told me that BT are aware of a problem and are working on it, but I have lost POP3/SMTP for 12 hours at a time several times over the past week and it's now been down for at least 16 hours.  I am in 01539 area but I don't think this is at all relevant.

 

Peter

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Distinguished Sage
Distinguished Sage
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Message 2 of 35

Re: POP3 server not working in 01243 area

I have moved your post to this new thread, so you can get personal help from the community or moderators, so please watch this thread for updates.

 

For future reference, new post on this board is here https://community.bt.com/t5/forums/postpage/board-id/Email

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Distinguished Guru
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Message 3 of 35

Re: POP3 server not working in 01243 area


@PeterMartinez wrote:

I wanted to start a new topic but the "New Message" link has vanished.

 

I am also unable to send via SMTP or receive via POP3. Using the TELNET utility, it looks like the mail.btinternet.com servers time-out at the "pass" command.  Maybe the server isn't getting a response from a remote password database?  I am with BTYahoo, which uses the CPcloud servers.  A separate yahoo.co.uk account is working OK - that uses yahoo SMTP/POP3 servers.  The BT chat line told me that BT are aware of a problem and are working on it, but I have lost POP3/SMTP for 12 hours at a time several times over the past week and it's now been down for at least 16 hours.  I am in 01539 area but I don't think this is at all relevant.

 

Peter


Hi Peter.

 

As a stop gap for now, change the pop3/smtp servers to :-

 

pop.mail.yahoo.co.uk

 

port 995 requiring SSL

 

smtp.mail.yahoo.co.uk

 

port 465 requiring SSL

 

(or maybe end with yahoo.com)

 

Make sure the login username is your full email address.

 

Before you make any changes, keep a note of the existing settings.

 

As for "working on it", they have been working on it for years - so a disingenous comment by the chat people. It isn't area based, and seems to affect a random number of people.

 

No-one has ever come back with any reason why this continues to happen. Something needs to be done about communicating faults - how they are caused and what is done to clear them.

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PeterMartinez
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Message 4 of 35

Re: POP3 server not working in 01243 area

Andy:

 

Thanks for your reply.  Your suggestion seems to be to swap the servers over to those that I already use (successfully) to access my other yahoo email account, but I tried it and get the same result - the transaction hangs at the "pass" command then times-out.  It does look like the servers are having difficulty accessing a central BT password database.  I don't want to risk trying to change my password to see if that fixes the problem, but I wonder if this possibiliity might be worth following-up (if there is anyone in BT watching this thread?).

 

Peter

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PeterMartinez
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Message 5 of 35

Re: POP3 server not working in 01243 area

My POP3 and SMTP access has returned at about 1800 utc, after 24 hours off line.  That might give someone a clue, as ALL the periods of failure have started and ended at 06:00 and 18:00.  Maybe thats when the day servers hand over to the night servers and vice versa.

 

Now its working again, I can also confirm that the error message I get while the POP3/SMTP servers are dead, is NOT the error message I get if I deliberately enter the wrong password.  The normal exchange between my POP3 client and the POP3 server is...

 

+OK POP3 PROXY server ready
USER p*****@btinternet.com
+OK Password required
PASS ***********
+OK Maildrop ready, (JPOP server ready).
STAT
+OK 0 0
QUIT
+OK Server signing off.

 

The lines starting + are from the server to me - the others are from me to the server.

 

...but when the fault is present..

 

+OK POP3 PROXY server ready
user *****
+OK Password required
pass ********

 

...then there is a 1 minute pause, then ...

 

-ERR [SYS/TEMP] Server error - Please try again later.

There is no pause when it's OK, nor is there a pause if I deliberately enter the wrong password, and in that case the immediate response is -ERR [AUTH].  This tells me that the problem is not that the server doesn't recognise the correct password, but that it can't execute the "pass" command at all, and the error message indicates a system error or a temporary error due to resource congestion.

 

These details might be useful in tracing the problem, if anyone at BT is reading this...

 

Peter

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Message 6 of 35

Re: POP3 server not working in 01243 area


@PeterMartinez wrote:


There is no pause when it's OK, nor is there a pause if I deliberately enter the wrong password, and in that case the immediate response is -ERR [AUTH].  This tells me that the problem is not that the server doesn't recognise the correct password, but that it can't execute the "pass" command at all, and the error message indicates a system error or a temporary error due to resource congestion.

 

These details might be useful in tracing the problem, if anyone at BT is reading this...

 

Peter


Hi Peter.

 

Can you edit your post to remove your personal details in the telnet sections.

 

Although it might be useful, I feel that the servers are not synchronised (there's probably a few rooms of them around the world in the "farm"). I don't know how persistent a particular server is for each user when they connect, but the implication is that either they do somehow auto-sync and the user access is restored, or they pick up a different back end server. It could be down to the load balancing system.

Why this affects some people at times, and randomly it seems is as yet a mystery that BT and their system people have yet to properly investigate.

 

I'm sure it's possible for the mail team to login to each server specifically to check access. All they need is a sample of end users who have reported the problem and check their access across the servers. Come on guys, how about it?

 

 

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PeterMartinez
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Message 7 of 35

Re: POP3 server not working in 01243 area

Andy:

 I said in an earlier post that your suggestion of using the POP3 and SMTP servers at pop.mail.yahoo.com and smtp.mail.yahoo.com didn't work.  I had tried this while the servers at mail.btinternet.com were failing as I reported in my first post in this thread.

 

The mail.btinternet.com servers have just come back on (after 12 hours off again), and I repeated your above suggestion.  This time the outgoing SMTP didn't work - I got an error message saying yahoo.com rejected the sender's email address (which is @btinternet.com). That doesn't surprise me now, but I found I COULD recover a message in my btinternet.com inbox by using either the pop.mail.yahoo.com POP3 server or the mail.btinternet.com server.

 

This tells me that the failure of the "pass" command occurs with both servers.  This is consistent with my hunch that the source of the problem is with a password lookup (or more likely a password checker) at BT, and not in either server.

 

Again I say - this could be a clue, if there is anyone at BT reading this.

 

Peter

 

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PeterMartinez
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Message 8 of 35

Re: POP3 server not working in 01243 area

I have done some more tests. The results may be of interest to BT if they are trying to fix the problem.

 

I noted a post from a forum administrator suggesting that IMAP was better than POP3, for all the usual reasons, but I wondered if there was a hint in there that using IMAP might be a work-around for this POP3 problem, so I set up an IMAP account in my email client.

 

It worked fine during one of the 12 hour periods when the POP3 route was working, but when the POP3 route was failing (as I reported in my first post), the IMAP route ALSO failed. Recall that I had already established that the BT SMTP servers failed when their POP3 servers failed.

 

Next I aquired an email address at gmail.  That worked fine, POPing incoming mail to my PC.  I set up that account up to fetch emails from the btinternet.com account via POP3 and then POP3 them to me.  Again, that worked fine during one of the 12 hour periods when the btinternet.com POP3 route was working, but when btinternet.com POP3 was failing, the gmail POP3 route ALSO failed.  Repeating the "fetch from btinternet via POP3" set up on the gmail webmail page during one of these 12 hour "BT POP3 failing" sessions, it reported that it couldn't complete the setup because of a failure at mail.btinternet.com.  This means btinternet POP3 was failing from gmail as well as failing from my location.

 

All this seems to confirm my hunch that this problem - failure of the POP3, SMTP, and IMAP processes at mail.btinternet.com for periods of (multiples of) 12 hours - is not a fault in either the POP3 servers, the SMTP servers, or the IMAP servers, but something common to all three, probably something connected with password checking.  Recall that when I drive the POP3 connection manually with TELNET, it is clearly the "pass" command that times-out after a minute. Giving the pass command a wrong password gives an immediate response.

 

Could the forum team please pass these observations to BT. I hope the results might help to solve the problem.

 

Peter

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Distinguished Guru
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Message 9 of 35

Re: POP3 server not working in 01243 area

That's some good stuff Peter.

 

Clearly sounds like an account database access fault through one set of servers or more.

 

The problem is that I feel the support team won't do anything, because they haven't got a live case to trace through. Also they have never investigated these issues.

 

I don't know why they don't, it's shocking, despite the amount of reports seen over the years. As there are only a minute number of cases, that seems to be the real problem. If it was widespread, then something would clearly be done.

 

Myabe this will trigger some action at last. We can only hope.

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chamber_boy
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Message 10 of 35

Re: POP3 server not working in 01243 area

Peter/Andy

I wouldn't hold your breath on that as this is the exact same sort of information I gave the BT high level tech team after the MOD's got involved over 8 months and after 3 weeks they reverted to type and blamed my set up and the use of POP3 stating I should use IMAP.

 

Thread Mac mail - BtInternet POP3 email not connecting

 

20th March 17

 

Connecting to mail.btinternet.com
Logging in as xxxxxxxxx@btinternet.com
Receiving response: +OK POP3 PROXY server ready
Sending command: CAPA
Receiving response: +OK Capability list follows
Receiving response: TOP
Receiving response: RESP-CODES
Receiving response: USER
Receiving response: SASL PLAIN
Receiving response: PIPELINING
Receiving response: UIDL
Receiving response: .
Sending command: USER xxxxxxx@btinternet.com
Connecting to mail.btinternet.com
Logging in as xxxxxxxx@btinternet.com
Receiving response: +OK POP3 PROXY server ready
Sending command: CAPA
Receiving response: +OK Capability list follows
Receiving response: TOP
Receiving response: RESP-CODES
Receiving response: USER
Receiving response: SASL PLAIN
Receiving response: PIPELINING
Receiving response: UIDL
Receiving response: .
Sending command: USER xxxxxxxxx@btinternet.com
Receiving response: +OK Password required
Sending command: PASS *********
Receiving response: +OK Maildrop ready, (JPOP server ready)

 

and 2nd May 17

 

[02 May 2017 12:46:30] Connected to mail.btinternet.com
[02 May 2017 12:46:30] Logged in as ********@btinternet.com
[02 May 2017 12:49:49] Error: [SYS/TEMP] Server error - Please try again later.
[02 May 2017 12:49:50] Connected to mail.btinternet.com
[02 May 2017 12:49:50] Logged in as *********@btinternet.com
[02 May 2017 12:51:12] Connecting to mail.btinternet.com
[02 May 2017 12:51:14] Logging in as *********@btinternet.com
[02 May 2017 12:51:14] Receiving response: +OK POP3 PROXY server ready
[02 May 2017 12:51:14] Sending command: CAPA
[02 May 2017 12:51:14] Receiving response: +OK Capability list follows
[02 May 2017 12:51:14] Receiving response: TOP
[02 May 2017 12:51:14] Receiving response: RESP-CODES
[02 May 2017 12:51:14] Receiving response: USER
[02 May 2017 12:51:14] Receiving response: SASL PLAIN
[02 May 2017 12:51:14] Receiving response: PIPELINING
[02 May 2017 12:51:14] Receiving response: UIDL
[02 May 2017 12:51:14] Receiving response: .
[02 May 2017 12:51:14] Sending command: USER ********@btinternet.com
[02 May 2017 12:51:14] Receiving response: +OK Password required
[02 May 2017 12:51:14] Sending command: PASS ********
[02 May 2017 12:52:21] Receiving response: -ERR [SYS/TEMP] Server error - Please try again later.
[02 May 2017 12:52:21] Error: [SYS/TEMP] Server error - Please try again later.
[02 May 2017 12:52:21] Sending command: QUIT
[02 May 2017 12:52:21] Connected to mail.btinternet.com
[02 May 2017 12:52:22] Logged in as ********@btinternet.com
[02 May 2017 12:52:22] Disconnecting from mail.btinternet.com

I agree that it fails at the Pass response with a time out that is clearly an issue between the BT/Yahoo server farm hand off but rather than also take up the offer of my Wireshark traces they decided not to "help" any further.

I do hope they listen this time but with the same issues popping up on regular occasions does rather jar when they had this information given to them on a plate.

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