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PeterMartinez
Contributor
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Message 11 of 35

Re: POP3 server not working in 01243 area

When my problem started some ten days ago, the btinternet.com servers would go off for 12 hours (or multiples of 12) at a time, starting and ending around 06:00 or 18:00.  This continued until this pattern was broken at 15:00 on Tuesday 7th November when they came back on and have remained working perfectly up to now (17:40 Thursday) -  the longest period of continuous service since the problem started.  It is tempting to speculate that the cause of the problem has been found and solved.

 

There are clearly others reporting similar failures of the POP3,SMTP/IMAP servers in other threads on this forum.  I wonder if they too have found their problem has gone away.  If my hunch was right and the password checker at BT was somehow responsible, it would have affected all these servers.  The error message that users saw would depend on the email client.  Some may report "system/temporary error, please try later", others might say "password rejected", yet others might just say "error" and not give a reason.  A time-out on the password checking process could cause any of these error messages.

 

It would be nice to know if BT did find a problem and fix it. Maybe the moderators could find out and let us know.

 

Peter

 

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PeterMartinez
Contributor
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Message 12 of 35

Re: POP3 server not working in 01243 area

I have been able to access the BT POP3, SMTP, and IMAP servers since 15:00 last Tuesday, so I thought the cause of this problem had been found and fixed aat that tiime, but as of 06:00 today Thursday 16th November, they all again fail the password step.  This also applies to attempts to access these services via the pop.mail.yahoo server.

 

Is anyone reading this able to refer this problem to BT or tell me how to do so, preferably without having to talk to someone iin an Indian call centre.

 

Note: the reference in the subject of this thread to "01243 area" is irrelevant.

 

Peter

 

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PeterMartinez
Contributor
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Message 13 of 35

Re: POP3 server not working in 01243 area

Further to the above, I wondered whether changing my password might somehow fix the problem, but when I went to the BTYahoo webmail home page, selected "Account Info" then "Change my password", nothing happened and I was sent back to the home page.

 

It sounds as if my theory could be correct.  The problem with the POP3,SMP, and IMAP servers is that the password checking process hangs and times-out.  It looks like the password change process fails too, but since I CAN access all my emails via the BTYahoo Webmail page, it must be able to verify my identity somehoiw.  Perhaps that doesn't always need the password-checking process and is done with a previously-set Cookie.

 

I don't propose to test this theory by killing the Cookie - that might lock me out of Webmail completely!

 

Peter

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Cilgwyn
Contributor
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Message 14 of 35

Re: POP3 server not working in 01243 area

It's another manifestation of a very long term and well known problem at Yahoo.  As noted it is not exchange specific.  It usually needs elevating to Level 2 to get a fix - or even an acknowledgement it's happening.  Hopefully I've just achieved that again this morning.

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PeterMartinez
Contributor
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Message 15 of 35

Re: POP3 server not working in 01243 area

I had hoped to get a call-back yesterday from an email expert at BT about this, but in the event the call was from an Indian call-centre. The problem was absent at the time of that call-back and the Indian lady insisted on closing the case, so I am back at square 1.

 

I have carefully written a summary of all I have done so far, and append it below.  I would dearly like a BT engineer to see this.  I am sure it would help solve the problem, both for me and for anyone else who is experiencing difficulties accessing btinternet.com with POP3, SMTP, and IMAP.

 

Peter

 

+++

 

Summary of my BTinternet Email problem.

 I can always send and receive emails via the BTYahoo web portal.

 I can always send and receive emails via my yahoo.co.uk and gmail.com email
accounts using POP3, SMTP, and IMAP protocols, with several email clients.

 When the problem is absent, I can send and receive emails via my
btinternet.com address, using POP3, SMTP, and IMAP protocols, with several
email clients. I can send logging and alarm emails from two devices on my network

which use SMTP.  I can send and receive emails by using the mail.yahoo.com servers

with my btinternet.com user name and password.  I can receive emails from

btinternet.com by setting up a "POP3 forwarding" feature from within my gmail

account. This effectively sets-up a distant email client which impersonates me when

it accesses btinternet.com.  I can also send and receive my btinternet.com emails

with an Android Tablet on my WiFi network using IMAP and SMTP servers at yahoo.com.

 The problem always starts spontaneously - that is, without any action on my
part, usually at 06:00 or 18:00 utc but sometimes 00:00 or 12:00 and ends,
again spontaneously, at these times. The period "off-line" is usually a
multiple of 12 hours.  This may be a clue to locating the source of the problem.

 When the problem is present, trying to access either POP3, SMTP, or IMAP at
the mail.btinternet.com servers, with any of three email clients, results in
a pause of one minute or more during which the email client displays
"authorizing..." (or similar) then shows a failure message.  The same
pattern occurs when I try to send emails from either of the two
(non-computer) devices which use SMTP. The same pattern occurs when I try
POP3/SMTP/IMAP using the mail.yahoo.com servers.  If I have set my gmail
account to "fetch" emails from btinternet.com using POP3, these are not
received.  Attempts to send or receive btinternet.com emails with the
Android Tablet also fail.  Note that different email clients return
different error messages in this fault.  This may depend on whether the
client or the server times-out first.  Some client programs return a
misleading "password rejection" message.

All the methods I have tried to access my btinternet.com email succeed when
this fault is absent.  When the fault is present, ALL methods fail.  This
tells me that the fault is not in any one computer, device, or server, but
in part of the email process common to all methods.  The faulty process must
be "out there somewhere".

 By driving the POP3 protocol from a terminal-based diagnostic program
(TELNET) while the fault is present, I can see that the long delay occurs
after I type the "pass" command. The server eventually responds with "-ERR
[SYS/TEMP] Server error - Please try again later." This indicates that the
"pass" command times-out.  I cannot use TELNET to drive the SMTP or IMAP

protocols or access the yahoo.com servers but the long delay occurs in all
cases.  It seems that the password-checking process is timing-out in all cases.

There may be a single username/password server (at BT?) which is responsible

for this problem.

 Note that if I attempt a POP3 command with TELNET while the problem is NOT
present, but I enter a deliberately incorrect password, the server responds
IMMEDIATELY with a username/password rejection message. By contrast,
entering either a correct or incorrect password while the problem is
present, results in a long pause followed by a time-out.  This confirms that
the problem is not due to password rejection.

 

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chamber_boy
Contributor
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Message 16 of 35

Re: POP3 server not working in 01243 area


@PeterMartinez wrote:


 Note that if I attempt a POP3 command with TELNET while the problem is NOT
present, but I enter a deliberately incorrect password, the server responds
IMMEDIATELY with a username/password rejection message. By contrast,
entering either a correct or incorrect password while the problem is
present, results in a long pause followed by a time-out.  This confirms that
the problem is not due to password rejection.

 


Which is exactly what many of us have found in our own testing and been ignored by the mxxxxxs in BT's so called support team.

 

As they say you can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink but in BT's case it more like a donkey.

 

If only they were prepared to listen and accept the help that many of us have given and taken time to troubleshoot then they may just be able to fix the problem but then again how would they rake in the money for either "clearing" problems or signing up people on bogus support contracts.

 

 

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PeterMartinez
Contributor
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Message 17 of 35

Re: POP3 server not working in 01243 area

I tried again to contact BT about this, and after being referred to another number twice, I was eventually told I would get a call back from an Email expert.  In the event the call was from an Indian lady.  I tried to get myself passed on to a higher level but was told that she WAS the highest level.

 

I was surprised to learn from her that there was ONLY ONE BT email server, which was common to both webmail and mail "via a client program", and that if I was able to access email via webmail then "the server" was working. If I wasn't able to access via a client program then that program must be at fault.  She couldn't answer my observation that ALL my client programs fail, and do so spontaneously and simultaneously, and all return to normal spontaneously and simultaneously.

 

Surely there must be some way to refer this one to a higher technical level?

 

Peter

 

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Distinguished Guru
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Message 18 of 35

Re: POP3 server not working in 01243 area


@PeterMartinez wrote:

I tried again to contact BT about this, and after being referred to another number twice, I was eventually told I would get a call back from an Email expert.  In the event the call was from an Indian lady.  I tried to get myself passed on to a higher level but was told that she WAS the highest level.

 

I was surprised to learn from her that there was ONLY ONE BT email server, which was common to both webmail and mail "via a client program", and that if I was able to access email via webmail then "the server" was working. If I wasn't able to access via a client program then that program must be at fault.  She couldn't answer my observation that ALL my client programs fail, and do so spontaneously and simultaneously, and all return to normal spontaneously and simultaneously.

 

Surely there must be some way to refer this one to a higher technical level?

 

Peter

 


Oh dear!

 

In essence she was correct, but there are a multitude of servers in a server cluster (or farm). It's not as simple as she made out. There are a lot of internal handoffs and load balancing done by the farm. These machines can easily be located in the same data centre or indeed anywhere in the world.

 

It's like saying there is one Google, but it is a massive data farm spread into monstrous data centres all over the globe.

 

The issue is the protocol access to the "server" via a single url - behind which is numerous individual servers. In the distant past it was actually possible to use a specific individual server IP address/name to access emails.

 

The thing is why does access via http i.e. webmail work, but pop3/imap doesn't at times?

 

It sounds like this person has never heard of any fault reports at all. That is just plainly crazy, and to say that the program is at fault is completely and utterly wrong.

 

There was a "BTMail expert" posting back in March in these forums, but he soon left or stopped posting. That is the people that need to be investigating the server problem.

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Distinguished Sage
Distinguished Sage
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Message 19 of 35

Re: POP3 server not working in 01243 area


@Andy_N wrote:

 

There was a "BTMail expert" posting back in March in these forums, but he soon left or stopped posting. That is the people that need to be investigating the server problem.


The "BTMail expert" was Simon-D and although he stopped posting he was lurking and was last logged on to the forum at the beginning of October this year.

 

I guess he couldn't do anything with the amount of issues that the email system has or even acknowledge there are problems so it's easier not to even try and respond to the people who have posted/problems.

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millimo
Aspiring Contributor
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Message 20 of 35

Re: POP3 server not working in 01243 area

My Outlook has again stopped working after 15 days.  I will keep an eye on this as it seems to be a pattern.

 

I've found that resetting the password for my account will fix this immediately.

This only worked since I linked my main email password to my BT.com account password.

 

It doesn't stop the issue occurring, I still get the -ERR[SYS/TEMP] Server error, but if I change my BT.com password the email, once I update the password in Outlook, will start downloading again.

 

I've given up raising this with BT Support.  This was the last response, and then they just disconnected the chat.

Screenshot 000098.jpg

 

I hope they get to the bottom of this, but maybe this can get someone's Outlook email working again.  It is a pain resetting the BT password but it seems to work.

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