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Delays in receiving emails from my domains

     
1:17 pm on Dec 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Could someone advise me what is the acceptable delay in forwarding email? I need some ammunition to try to get a problem sorted!

I have a multi-domain hosting account. The mail boxes for my domains are set up to forward to my main email address. Most emails are forwarded on virtually immediately but some are heavily delayed. Sometimes 30 minutes or so, or sometimes a few hours, and occasionally more than a day.

It doesn't appear to be domain specific. When I test it might be one domain that is slow, and then the next time I check it may be another. The hosting comany has several name servers, but it doesn't appear to be specific to any of them.

When I raise a ticket, the problem gets fixed, but a few weeks later it happens again.

The hosting company is also an ISP, a broadband provider, and has excellent network connections, so they should know what they are doing. The control panel is their own but I suspect it to be a badged form of H-Sphere. They also run qmail.

9:21 pm on Dec 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Are they using greylisting?
11:43 am on Dec 2, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Is this shared hosting?

I will say from experience with my previous employer, it's not a matter of the proficiency of the company, but it very well may be a matter of the quality or power of the resources dedicated to the mail services.

It only takes a few thousand customers to generate millions of emails, a lot of those spam. What starts to happen is the emails get backed up in queue, taking sometimes a whole day to come through. Some never even make it. This is further complicated by spam filtering - not only does the mail go through the queue, it now has to wait in line for a spam filter process. Eventually I gave up on my company account.

Another thing that makes this worse is the abuse of autoresponders. Seemingly a neat solution to being out of office, once a spammer finds an address has an autoresponder, they hammer it with their mail list - bouncing it back to the target.

Going to a dedicated or (possibly) VPS will make this go away, emails returned to like it was in the old days, semi-instantaneous, even with spam filtering.

12:23 pm on Dec 2, 2007 (gmt 0)

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greylisting - not to my knowledge, and I doubt if they do.

spam - I have ant-spam and anti-virus turned off.

shared hosting - yes. They are also a broadband provider with a Tier 1 network, and also provide email services, so it could be a general queueing problem as you suggest.

Looking at a typical email header, the following happens virtually instantly. Send email from my PC, received at my ISP, received at one of my hosts mail servers from ISP, qmail invoked and received at my domain.

There is then a delay before it is received back at my ISP. The header says qmail was invoked, but it is impossible to say whether the delay is before qmail invoked or in the qmail queue.

Below is a sample header in case anyone can spot anything that I have missed. (Domain and ISP names, etc., changed.)

Return-Path: <Me@myname.myisp.co.uk>
Received: from mwinf3409.me.myisp.com (mwinf3409.me.myisp.com)
by mwinb3302 (SMTP Server) with LMTP; Wed, 28 Nov 2007 23:02:24 +0100
X-Sieve: Server Sieve 2.2
Envelope-to: Name@myname.myisp.co.uk
Received: from me-myispalias.net (localhost [])
by #*$!#*$!x.me.myisp.com (SMTP Server) with ESMTP id E98291C00099
for <Name@myname.myisp.co.uk>; Wed, 28 Nov 2007 23:02:23 +0100 (CET)
Received: from mail4.host.com (mail4.host.com [80.175.48.54])
by #*$!#*$!#*$!.me.myisp.com (SMTP Server) with SMTP id 92A641C000C7
for <Name@myname.myisp.co.uk>; Wed, 28 Nov 2007 23:02:23 +0100 (CET)
X-ME-UUID: #*$!#*$!#*$!@#*$!#*$!#*$!xx.me.myisp.com
Received: (qmail 18463 invoked by uid 399); 28 Nov 2007 18:25:42 -0000
Delivered-To: mydomain.com-Me@mydomain.com
Received: (qmail 18461 invoked by uid 399); 28 Nov 2007 18:25:42 -0000
Received: from unknown (HELO smtp5.myisp.com) (#*$!.#*$!.xx.#*$!)
by mail4.host.com with ESMTP; 28 Nov 2007 18:25:42 -0000
X-Originating-IP: #*$!.#*$!.xx.#*$!
Received-SPF: none (mail4.host.com: domain at myname.myisp.co.uk does not designate permitted sender hosts)
identity=mailfrom; client-ip=193.252.22.128;
envelope-from=<my-email-address>;
Received: from me-myispalias.net (localhost [])
by #*$!#*$!x.me.myisp.com (SMTP Server) with ESMTP id 84D6A1C00087
for <Me@mydomain.com>; Wed, 28 Nov 2007 19:25:42 +0100 (CET)
Received: from #*$!#*$!x (user-#*$!#*$!.#*$!xx.xx.dsl.pol.co.uk [])
by #*$!#*$!x.me.myisp.com (SMTP Server) with SMTP id 5B0861C00082
for <Me@mydomain.com>; Wed, 28 Nov 2007 19:25:42 +0100 (CET)
X-ME-UUID: #*$!#*$!xx@#*$!#*$!x.me.myisp.com
Message-ID: <#*$!#*$!#*$!#*$!#*$!x>

1:18 pm on Dec 3, 2007 (gmt 0)

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My hosting company has responded to the ticket I raised and copied an extract from their logs. This shows that they attempted to foward the emails to my ISP's mail server, but after 20 minutes the connection died. This was repeated several times until the the transfer was successful.

So it looks as if the problem is not with the hosting company but the general load on my ISP's mail servers.

 

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