Tracking down lost emails
December 8, 2006 9:11 AM   Subscribe

Since this morning, nearly all emails sent to my address are not being received. I own my own domain and forward all emails to my ISP account. Domain company and ISP are both denying repsonsibility. How do I solve this?

I own my domain ( which is registered through 1&1. Emails sent to that address are then forwarded to my ISP. This morning I noticed that I was not receiving emails to that address and throughout the day, I've sent myself about 20 emails from web based accounts such as gmail, hotmail, etc. I have received only two of them. A few people have also called to tell me that emails sent to that address are bouncing back.

Calls to both 1&1 and Telewest have resolved nothing as both are saying there is nothing wrong on their end. For the record, my ISP email address works fine - it's just the forwarded emails that are not being received. 1&1 have been particularly unhelpful and suggested that perhaps everyone (including myself) was simply mistyping my address. It's been a frustrating and wasted day of back and forth on the phone between them.

So what do I do now? Does that fact that a few emails have sneaked through mean there is perhaps a backlog somewhere and I should just should wait out? If not, is the problem more likely to be with my domain registrar or my ISP?

Lastly, does anyone know of a reliable UK company offering free forwarding that I can transfer my domains to? This episode has really put me off 1&1.
posted by gfrobe to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
A key question to answer here would be "When the email that people send you bounces back, what's the error code/reason given for the bounce?"

Posting some headers, the whole shebang, would help ...
posted by bhance at 9:21 AM on December 8, 2006

Response by poster: Unfortunately I can't get that info. Two were from business associates now gone for the day and the third bounce was from the ISP guy who tried to send me a test email. I'm not getting any undeliverable reports when I send to myself though. The emails just don't show up.

I would have thought that the ISP guy would have been able to decipher something from it. But yeah, I guess I should have gotten that info.
posted by gfrobe at 9:35 AM on December 8, 2006

Best answer: Can you quickly change your forwarding info to another account? If you forward to say, a gmail account, instead of your ISP long enough to send a test email, you'll at least be able to rule out 1&1 being the (sole) problem if the email arrives.
posted by onalark at 9:38 AM on December 8, 2006

I had to do the same as onalark recommends recently when Apple broke forwarding from some top level domains to .mac. I started laundering my mail through Gmail, so I now forward from -> gmail -> .mac, and it works.

Even though they fixed the forwarding, I'm still duping it all in gmail for the just in case factor.
posted by Steve3 at 9:47 AM on December 8, 2006

Best answer: Often, this is due to a spam block on the host from which you are forwarding.

Use this tool, and look up the IP address of the server 1&1 is using to forward mails to you.

What happens is that idiots forward email, and then report their own provider as a spammer by using tools they don't understand. It isn't the provider who is spamming them, but they are the last leg in the chain delivering you the spam, so they get blocked. As a hosting provider, I face this every day.

I'm not calling you an idiot, I am saying that many 1&1 users are idiots and are doing what I just said.

Comcast is particularly aggressive at blocking hosts for this very reason.
posted by Invoke at 9:56 AM on December 8, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks for the suggestion onalark. On 1&1's site I was able to also forward to a second address and emails show up within seconds when forwarded to gmail. So problem is ISP.

What's strange though is that my ISP email address works perfectly fine and shows up in a second after sending so I doubt there's a backlog on their end. Will call them again with this new info though.
posted by gfrobe at 9:57 AM on December 8, 2006

A possibility to check for may be that you've hit your account limit for space? That has resulted in bounced emails for me in the past.
posted by perpetualstroll at 10:05 AM on December 8, 2006

Response by poster: Well, my ISP still says it's not them, the evidence being that my email account is working fine. They said they don't bounce any emails coming in and don't block any spam so problem must with domain registrar. Invoke, I tried your suggestion and the IP was not listed as a spammer.

Perpetualstroll, my ISP address works fine and there are no messages left on server so it's not a space issue. Thanks for suggestion though.

I'm back to square one I guess. Will call 1&1 again.
posted by gfrobe at 10:36 AM on December 8, 2006

Turn off forwarding completely on your domain email, log into your domain email account using's webmail server. Then try to send a message from your domain email to your ISP. You should receive a DFN (bounce) from your ISP. The DFN email should contain clues as to why your email is not making it through. If you get one, post it here (headers too).

On preview: I find it hard to believe there is an ISP out there that does not block SPAM in some form. Do you get a lot of SPAM in your ISP's email?
posted by banshee at 10:51 AM on December 8, 2006

Response by poster: Looks like problem sorted. After another hour on the phone with ISP they finally realized there was a spam filter in place that was blocking my 1&1 emails. Turned spam filter off and emails are working again.

Thanks to all for the help.
posted by gfrobe at 2:59 PM on December 8, 2006

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