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How do I stop my emails bouncing?
Host does not permit non-SPF emails

 1:26 pm on Dec 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

I've recently been getting complaints I'm not replying to customers emails - even though I am!

Initially I thought it was users entering fake addresses, but now I know this is not the case. Several of the large service providers - AOL, NTL etc. are blocking my email from my domain.

When I try to send a message it bounces with the message 'Host does not permit non SPF emails'

I've read about Sender Policy Framework on Wikipedia, which talks about editing my DNS information. Which I don't understand.

Can someone explain in simple terms how I go about this?


Longhaired Genius

 1:58 pm on Dec 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

Which one gives this message? Not both the same, surely. There's something strange about this because if they were rejecting all non-SPF mail they'd be rejecting most of the mail they got. Personally I've found the mail administrators for NTL particularly useless. They have a large captive clientele of tech-ignorant users so they think they can do whatever they want and if the mail doesn't get through, that's too bad.

If your mail server is remotely hosted you could ask your host for advice about publishing SPF records. If you host it yourself you can probably find the information you need at the SPF website [openspf.org]. Just don't hold out too much hope that that will solve your problems.


 4:20 pm on Dec 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

SPF records have been required by several major ISPs for over a year. IMO, any host worth their fees should be able to help out their customers on this issue -- I've had the problem fixed for several smaller clients who were remotely hosted just by getting the information to their tech department (including information from the ISPs about requiring the SPF.) And this was a year back -- the information should surely have circulated through the hosting industry by now.


 5:15 pm on Dec 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the link genius. I've had a read and done some more digging.

My hosting company has set the SPF file to authenticate email created by ASP scripts on my server, but not email I send.

They say because my ISP allocates me a new IP for each internet session they can't add me to my domains SPF file. Does this really make sense, don't lots of ISP's allocate IP's in this way?

Longhaired Genius

 7:42 pm on Dec 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

If your ISP publishes its SPF record then you're good to go; the ISP domain can be included in your host SPF record. See the SPF Wizard page [openspf.org]. Even if not, surely your ISP only sends your mail from one mailserver, so the IP address of that machine could be added to your SPF record.


 9:54 am on Dec 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

Spoke to my hosts support team again, luckily I got hold of someone who new his stuff.

It appears some but not all ISP's mangle the message header when relaying email to domain mailservers.

This explains why I have problems from home but not at work!

The solution was simple, rather than connecting to port 25 he gave me a different port number!


 9:59 am on Dec 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

Not sure if this is against the tos.
Mod's please delete if it is!

If you want to check AOL and others are not bouncing your emails because of SPF issues - send yourself a test email



 4:28 pm on Dec 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

It appears some but not all ISP's mangle the message header when relaying email to domain mailservers.

That might explain why I see these every now and then...

The following addresses had permanent fatal errors -----
(reason: 554 refused mailfrom because of SPF policy)
----- Transcript of session follows -----
... while talking to smtp.secureserver.net.:
>>> MAIL From:<name@example.com> SIZE=10475
<<< 554 refused mailfrom because of SPF policy
554 5.0.0 Service unavailable

We've been using SPF since the first week it was official, I believe that was about 18 months ago. Every now and then we get the above messages.

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