Wait a minute Mr. Postman!
May 6, 2009 11:10 AM   Subscribe

Why are some random automated messages suddenly not being delivered through our email server?

We have a linux server over at The Planet running WHM/cPanel. We've never had issues with our email until recently. Two recent events have led me to believe that some emails are not getting through:

1.) An example email address on our troubled server is siclik@example.com. I have Ooma as my personal VoIP provider and have yet to receive a voice mail notification email (or password reminder email) at siclik@example.com. When I use siclik@hotmail.com, notifications arrive immediately. I've triple checked that I've entered my email address correctly.

2.) Our accountant told me just today that he's not receiving end-of-the-day automated credit card batch confirmations through his accountant@example.com email address.

Our server is running SpamAssassin, however I've added both Ooma and the credit card company to the spam filter's white list, so emails should be going through, right?

Anyone have experience with this and willing to share some knowledge?
posted by siclik to Computers & Internet (7 answers total)
The usual approach with this kind of thing is to take a look at the mail logs. I'm not sure whether cPanel gives you direct access to these, but it's quite possible.

Mail logs aren't particularly readable, but you should be able to get some idea by looking through them. If you copy and paste a couple of the errors here (with personal information changed/removed) you'll probably get no end of help.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 11:28 AM on May 6, 2009

Response by poster: I've looked through the entries in /var/log/maillog and I mostly only see users checking their email (connecting to the server) and spam checks. I don't see any errors at all. Is there another file that I should be looking at?
posted by siclik at 11:39 AM on May 6, 2009

Response by poster: Bueller?
posted by siclik at 8:54 PM on May 6, 2009

In addition to /var/log/maillog, you shouls also look through /var/log/exim_mainlog, /var/log/exim_paniclog, and /var/log/exim_rejectlog if you haven't already (and I'm assuming here that you're using Exim and don't have a setup that differs from your typical bog standard setup.)

You also don't mention what version of WHM/Cpanel the server is running, nor if you have the CSF firewall installed and enabled (or any other type of firewall).

I would suggest searching through both the Cpanel/WHM forums, the Mail FAQS and the Documentation. In addition I would also search through The Planet's forum, which has this post on troubleshooting pinned to the top of the Mail Hosting section.
posted by romakimmy at 2:37 AM on May 7, 2009

I forgot - if you haven't checked the mail queue in WHM, you might also look there to see if there's any frozen messages there as well.
posted by romakimmy at 2:40 AM on May 7, 2009

Response by poster: I'm not sure if anyone's still reading this as it's off the front page now, but I did look through all of those log files and found a hint:

Regarding the automated credit card emails, the emails were being rejected due to "Invalid HELO name". I assume this means their IP address does not match up with their DNS MX entry?

I'm still stumped on why the Ooma emails are not coming through, though. I've sent password reminders/left voicemails and immediately look at the EXIM log files and I see no mention of Ooma emails trying to be sent to me, although they make it to my Hotmail account 100% of the time.

cPanel 11.24.4-S35075 - WHM 11.24.2 - X 3.9
I'm not running CSF (although after reading about it, I will probably now install it).
posted by siclik at 2:35 PM on May 7, 2009

Invalid HELO name could be a number of reasons; with out the full log line it's hard to say and even then not always easy to say "Eureka! X is the problem."

You can check DNS with IntoDNS and MX records specifically with MXToolbox. Checking Ooma.com with both shows a reverse DNS failure, which could be the problem or simply just a part of it.

Not being familiar with The Planet, I would file a support request if you can. Troubleshooting email problems when you're unfamiliar with the various bits and bobs can be laborious, and I don't recommend tinkering with configuration files on a live server when you're not familiar with the process.

Please understand I don't mean the above in a condescending way, but if you have this option, your problem can be resolved quicker and you can bone up on the various bits & bobs at a more leisurely pace.
posted by romakimmy at 3:40 AM on May 8, 2009

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