SMTP Gateway
December 31, 2004 10:52 AM   Subscribe

SMTP Gateway? My ISP just (an hour ago) stopped forwarding email from subscribers unless the "From" address matched their own mail service. This means I cannot use my own domain name (hosted elsewhere). Any solutions? I can't change ISP (it's the only cable company in this part of town); my hosting company doesn't provide SMTP, only POP for incoming mail; I used to send email out directly from my own server, but these days many people block mail that's not from a machine with appropriate naming info; setting the "Reply-To" header works, but is really ugly and might not be respected by all mail clients. Thanks.
posted by andrew cooke to Computers & Internet (20 answers total)
My (maybe not-terribly-useful) recommendation would be to change hosting companies to one that will provide an SMTP relay server over port 2525 (in case your cable co. also decides to block port 25, which they probably will). I'm surprised your hosting company doesn't already provide such a thing; maybe they do but they don't advertise it?

In the meantime, does your host provide an IMAP webmail installation? If they do, you can use that for sending mail. Kludgy, but it will get you going for a few days until you get the rest sorted.
posted by bcwinters at 11:00 AM on December 31, 2004

Have you talked to your ISP about it? If you can get a hold of the administrator they might be able set it up so you domain works. I had this same problem with my ISP and a 15 minute conversation was all it took for them to add my domains to their allowed list.
posted by Tenuki at 11:18 AM on December 31, 2004

If you run OS X or Linux, you can easily set up an SMTP server on your own workstation:

Postfix Enabler (OS X 10.3)
• Sendmail Enabler (OS X 10.2)
Postfix tutorial (Linux et al.)
Sendmail tutorial (Linux at al.)
posted by AlexReynolds at 11:29 AM on December 31, 2004

thanks folks. i've already contacted my isp (it's a one-man labour of love type thing, but i don't know if that's good or bad). i'll try talking to the isp on wednesday, when i'm back home and people are back from holidays - the problem is that i have more than one address i use, as i route email for various different parts of my life through a single account. which is convenient from a data mining pov, but makes things like this complicated.

is this normal?

on preview - i used to do that (run my own smtp server), but too many people blocked me.
posted by andrew cooke at 11:31 AM on December 31, 2004

(in fact i'm running exim now - it's just punting everything off to the isp).
posted by andrew cooke at 11:33 AM on December 31, 2004

...but too many people blocked me.

If your host is on a blacklist, my suggestion won't work.
posted by AlexReynolds at 11:36 AM on December 31, 2004

sorry - i've already contacted my hosting service (the labour of love thing), not isp.

it's on a cable modem, and these days some people ban them (it was even worse if i got a previously abused address via dhcp...)
posted by andrew cooke at 11:39 AM on December 31, 2004

I've been using MailHop Outbound for a couple years and it's been very reliable (and, as you describe, you can use whichever "From" address you like). For up to 150 messages a day, it's just $14.95 a year. (And, pricing moves up for higher thresholds.)
posted by Handcoding at 11:51 AM on December 31, 2004

I run my own mailserver on a SBCGlobal DSL line. So far, so good, although I think the days of doing this are numbered. Pobox already blocks all mail from residential DSL. More on my blog.
posted by Nelson at 11:56 AM on December 31, 2004

ooo that looks good, thanks.
and i recognise you! ;o)
posted by andrew cooke at 11:57 AM on December 31, 2004

oops - that was a private joke for alex, not nelson. sigh....
posted by andrew cooke at 11:58 AM on December 31, 2004 For a one-time fee of $15, you can send basically all the mail you want (although they do have a messages-per-hour limit to prevent spamnation). You can use port 26 if your ISP blocks port 25, or they also support SSL.
posted by kindall at 12:00 PM on December 31, 2004

it's not just pobox. the company that built the computer (asl, based in the states) i'm typing at block residential addresses, for example (great company, just sticks in my head because it was the final straw that drove me to use the isp).

thanks, kindall, that looks good too. i'm posting too much - thanks to everyone and any future replies too. cheers.
posted by andrew cooke at 12:03 PM on December 31, 2004

Andrew, I'd send an email to and explain the problem in a very friendly way. ISPs vary, but I know if I got a friendly email describing the problem with enough detail that the zone entries necessary were obvious without delving much further, I'd make the change for the customer. Your mileage may vary--not every ISP's hostmasters have any control over mail stuff, for example--but it's certainly worth a shot. Often changes like that are made sort of holding your breath and seeing how many people peep up; just because they did it doesn't mean they'll stick by it like stone pillars.

Also, there are real people running those boxes, and most of us are hardcore geeks. You know how to deal with geeks, right? :> Show some love!
posted by littlegreenlights at 12:04 PM on December 31, 2004

If you're using Window, set up your own SMTP server using (easiest) Free SMTP Server. Piece of cake.
posted by madman at 12:32 PM on December 31, 2004

I was looking at last night as a possible solution to a similar problem. It appears they take pains to make sure they are nearly always usable no matter what the network configuration you are using looks like. They are, however, a bit expensive in my opinion. In any case, might be something else to look at.
posted by rglasmann at 1:17 PM on December 31, 2004

If nothing else works, can you have the From address match your ISP, but have the Reply To address be the address you want to have the message coming from? To most users, the difference would be slight. I'm not sure how that works with your data-mining goals, but it's an option to consider.
posted by willnot at 1:28 PM on December 31, 2004

Sorry - I see you already considered the Reply To setting. Must read all of the question before asking...
posted by willnot at 1:30 PM on December 31, 2004

thanks again (the reply-to is icky because i also filter work email through here, and i'd rather that didn't look too obviously (i work with moderately internet savvy people) like it came from somewhere else; also, i've already found that error reports go to "from", not "reply-to", which means more complications, although nothing insurmountable...)

anyway, i emailed them, in broken spanish, and they called me, and they're swearing blind that they haven't changed a thing today except upgrade the bandwidth on their server. but they were friendly anyway and after the usual "have you rebooted windows? well, it's a linux server" conversation they're off checking for, i think, a dns problem (it could be they can't resolve my address, and so are objecting to it - that's my current best guess).

i just hope it's not my stupid fault. i hate it when you complain about something technical and the fault is your own...

anyway, thanks to littlegreenlights for encouraging me to think of them as human...
posted by andrew cooke at 1:55 PM on December 31, 2004

(i finally went with dyndns, since i also decided to use them for a dynamic address. has worked solidly ever since. the isp never changed anything or got back to me).
posted by andrew cooke at 4:42 AM on January 12, 2005

« Older Where to get clay poker chips in Manhattan   |   NYC Weekday Church Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.