on 24-09-2013 10h37
I have a UNIX server on my home network which sends an e-mail to my GMail account if there is a problem e.g. disk almost full. Mail is sent using OpenSMTP via the BT smarthost mail.btinternet.com using authenticated SMTPS. The mail is "From" my own domain which I have "allowed" via the BT Yahoo webmail system. It works, sometimes. The volume is perhaps a handful of messages per day at most, generally only one or two.
It seems that BT are unable to run a sane mail server/smarthost or outsource to anyone (Critical Path or Yahoo) who can do so. I have been dealing with intermittent problems for months during the changeover from Yahoo to CP, but the unprofessional way it is being handled is quite concerning - it seems they are testing on a live system i.e. have not done enough testing prior to going live. I won't go through all the issues from the last few months, but the current ones are:
1) BT are cycling one CP and two Yahoo servers to be mail.btinternet.com - they are cycling in a strange way, DNS lookups returning only one address at a time. Normally all three addresses would be returned by a DNS lookup but in a different order. The address changes every 20s or so (again it is variable). I am not sure if this is adding to problems.
2) The server(s) keep losing outgoing mail, randomly as far as I can tell, certainly no obvious pattern, though I think it is always the CP server - I am trying to correlate my logs with the non-delivery. Two e-mails this morning, a few minutes apart, sent by my system were lost and delivered respectively. The first was accepted by the CP server but has still not arrived in my Gmail account more than 35 minutes later; the second was accepted by one of the Yahoo servers and arrived instantly in my Gmail account. The worrying thing here is that no errors are produced and there is no bounce-back for non-delivery. THIS IS BAD and has been going on for months.
3) The CP and Yahoo servers frequently bug out of an SMTPS session due to "Too many errors". This example for the CP server:
Sep 23 19:51:42 brown smtpd: smtp-out: Connecting to smtps://184.108.40.206:465 (mail.btinternet.bt.lon5.cpcloud.co.uk) on session 00000477cc4fe709...
Sep 23 19:51:42 brown smtpd: smtp-out: Connected on session 00000477cc4fe709
Sep 23 19:51:42 brown smtpd: smtp-out: Started TLS on session 00000477cc4fe709: version=TLSv1/SSLv3, cipher=DES-CBC3-SHA, bits=168
Sep 23 19:51:42 brown smtpd: smtp-out: Server certificate verification succeeded on session 00000477cc4fe709
Sep 23 19:51:42 brown smtpd: smtp-out: Error on session 00000477cc4fe709: IO Error: Connection reset by peer
Sep 23 19:51:42 brown smtpd: smtp-out: Too many errors on host 220.127.116.11 (mail.btinternet.bt.lon5.cpcloud.co.uk): ignoring this MX
Sep 23 19:51:42 brown smtpd: smtp-out: Error on session 00000477cc4fe709: Could not connect
Sep 23 19:51:43 brown smtpd: smtp-out: No reachable MX for connector ->[relay:mail.btinternet.com,smtps,auth=secrets:
I can provide more logs if anyone is interested (hint, that means you BT).
4) It is clear from these fora that others have experienced similar problems not just over the past few months, but for some years. Who is managing this system? Do they understand mail servers? Is this a classic case of non-technical managers telling the sysadmins to do the wrong thing and the sysadmins protests are ignored; or are the sysadmins no good?
5) I wonder if some of these problems are related to over-zealous (i.e. bad) SPAM detection. I would much rather receive a bunch of mails marked as SPAM, or placed directly in a SPAM folder, which I can then scan by eye, than lose valid e-mails because of one or more bad rules in the SPAM detection system. In any case, SPAM detection should be done by the recipient system not the sending, unless the sending system is generating unreasonable traffic loads. If the sending/smarthost system rejects outgoing mail as SPAM it should notify the sender - after all, these are home broadband connections, they have my number!!
My experience with BT Help is that it is misnamed - it should be BT No Help. Perhaps if enough people complain on these fora BT might notice. (Who am I kidding. But they might notice if we all move to another supplier).
on 24-09-2013 12h10
Somebody will give you a very technical answer. But until then . I constantly have had my mail [local ]mail program -with-mail.btinternet.com come up with an alarm saying -unable to connect to server-Many , many times . This is ongoing and is down to -NOT BT but yahoo who continually change /block the password on BT Yahoo sign in so that it is blocked . The answer -I have to do is go to the BT Yahoo sign in -remove the password then re-instate it . This works . Its yahoos way of trying to upset BT users into going to yahoo email service who have a duplicate site saying ---YAHOO email NOT BT. You cannot change the extra accounts that are there . I have some with numbers and cant remove it-BLOCKED . Every day I get business emails from round the World from OTHER users using my account- ALL down to YA-BOO. I look forward to this virus being removed from BT email service when the new service is implemented. I have had several years of problems from Ya-BOO high-jacking me to ya-boos site no matter what I do and a lot more. Its so deliberate that they have some "brass neck"
on 24-09-2013 12h33
Thanks for your response, and the issue you describe may be ONE of the problems, but I have never had to reinstate my password, things just work after a while. While Yahoo may be playing at silly bu**ers, my disappearing mail is going via Critical Path, so they are doing something mad too.
Your point about it not being BT but Yahoo who are at fault may be correct technically, but it is BT who chose to outsource - they still have responsibility even if they can blame someone else. And let's face it, an organisation the size of BT should be running its own mail servers in-house, not outsourcing where it simply loses control. If it chooses to outsource it must be VERY sure that it is selecting a competent company. I was responsible for an organisation's computing network (including our own mail servers, webmail, etc.) for 20 years - if we had problems they were fixed (usually within minutes, sometimes within hours, but never after months); we tested on test servers, or on a different port number on the live server, so we weren't screwing around with real users' mail.
So, I would be delighted if someone would give me a technical answer, but I suspect nobody in BT/Yahoo/CP is that technically competent. Perhaps they can prove otherwise by fixing the issues.
on 24-09-2013 12h46
On your original issue of problems with using BT/??? SMTP servers, why not just use the gmail ones?
Of course, you won't get much help from Google or BT if it doesn't work; but it probably will work without issue, and as you say you don't get much help from BT even with their own services.
24-09-2013 12h57 - edited 24-09-2013 13h04
Your reply [AlBrown] is so honest and straight forward that I have to agree with it. Many on this site are having major problems with yahoo if you look around you will find they all hope this will disappear when transferred to CP. But in the meantime many have said you wil have to "put up" with the interim stage till things "settle down". I know billion dollar company -why cant they get it "right " first time. I am used to the way things progress with BT Being all my life a PO/BT telephone user and worked for them. Nothings perfect in life and new things can go wrong. BT has been with yahoo a long time and maybe because of that the didnt bother going deeply into the working of an email service. But that is supposition and maybe wrong. I hope somebody will give you better advice.
on 24-09-2013 19h01
In reply to sjtp:
I originally used the Gmail servers and it worked for a while but then stopped - at the time I thought BT had started blocking all non-authenticated SMTP, so I changed to the BT server which worked for a while. Because there are so many issues it is very hard to track down what is actually going on, and where any one problem lies, without someone in BT/Yahoo/CP (or Google) looking at their logs. Perhaps the problem I had with Gmail was really a BT/Yahoo/CP issue.
Now, I do not expect any support from Google for a free service, but I am paying BT so I should use them and expect a service which works. My SMTP server is doing nothing different from any e-mail client such as Thunderbird, relaying via the BT server. The only difference is that my mail comes from my own domain not @btinternet.com. I would not need any support from BT if their service just worked. Even trying to find what SHOULD work on their web site is difficult - a simple page stating what their server supports e.g. SMTP/SMTPS/SMTP Submission on port 25, 465, 587, or whatever, would be helpful. The information can be found with a bit of googling (but not always on a BT site!!) or by trial and error.
And their bizarre DNS round-robin for mail.btinternet.com means outgoing firewalls only see one IP address at a time which is hopeless - anyone not knowing that 3 addresses are being cycled could be tearing their hair out. This is a fairly new feature - when they were using only Yahoo servers, both Yahoo mail servers appeared in DNS replies and so firewalls could permit both using the FQDN in firewall rules, which is converted to IP addresses at rule load time by DNS lookups. (In trying to be a good net citizen I block all outgoing mail from my home network, except mail to the BT smarthost, so any bot infected laptop/desktop etc. won't spew out spam on the broadband link.)
From various other posts on the fora it seems that everyone is expected to wait until the new service is fully in place - well, maybe if that meant waiting 24 hours, but months....? Is there a time scale for the service to be properly functional rather than partially functional? Do business users have to put up with the same level of service? It must be costing businesses a lot.
on 24-09-2013 20h50
And their bizarre DNS round-robin for mail.btinternet.com
I agree, their DNS for mail.btinternet.com is weird, in that it cycles between 2 yahoo servers and 1 cp server.
In a competent migration, one would build a new system, test it thoroughly, and then migrate. This "dipping toes in water" migration doesn't inspire much confidence, it's like they aren't sure if it works properly and they are "only" sending 33% of connections to cp. For weeks!
Two other things:
1) All incoming btinternet.com email is being mail forwarded from CP to Yahoo. This breaks SPF rules.
2) mail.btinternet.com , when connected to the CP server, makes no checks that the "from" address has been validated. Fancy ending up on a load of RBL's?
on 25-09-2013 10h04
> In a competent migration, one would build a new system, test it thoroughly, and then migrate. This "dipping toes in
> water" migration doesn't inspire much confidence, it's like they aren't sure if it works properly and they are "only"
> sending 33% of connections to cp. For weeks!
> 1) All incoming btinternet.com email is being mail forwarded from CP to Yahoo. This breaks SPF rules.
Thanks for that. I am not really using incoming, though I can receive if necessary, but now I know of another trap for the future if I start to use incoming.
> 2) mail.btinternet.com , when connected to the CP server, makes no checks that the "from" address has been
> validated. Fancy ending up on a load of RBL's?
That crossed my mind, and because this issue was raised months and months ago on the forum (IIRC, there have been so many issues), I would have expected CP to have fixed the RBL problems by now. They are definitely very amateurish and certainly do not seem capable of running a basic mail service. I'll do it for 10 quid a year less than they charge ;-)
on 25-09-2013 10h09
Yeah, CP seem to be making a complete pigs ear of it, and they haven't even migrated the mailboxes yet.
BT should have given the contract to Google who actually know how to do email hosting properly.