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Old 04-10-2005, 12:45 PM   #1
ktinkel
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Default E-mail blues

All of a sudden yesterday evening I became unable to send e-mail from any account that has its own SMTP — Eudora struggles for a minute or two, then tells me the server cannot be found.

Since that group includes my main e-mail address (“dominant” in Eudora parlance), it was extremely annoying.

Of course I figured it was the ISP, and they have been trying to help me unravel the problem. Turns out the guy also uses SBC DSL (in another part of the country), and he said they had changed something on his account so he could only send outbound e-mail through their servers.

So I went to the SBC web site and sure enough, they have put a “filter” on Port 25 so that I can only send e-mail through them, not via any other host. (Filter? I’d call it a block, myself!) They describe it as spam prevention.

Now I have three choices, to wit:
  • Convert my outgoing mail to the SBC SNET mail servers
  • Find alternate access for my 3rd party mail server (VPN, Web mail, Outlook Web Access)
  • Ask SBC to remove the SMTP port 25 filter from my account (with the suggestion that that request may not necessarily be granted)
So my question to the assembled multitude is: Is there any reason not to try to get the filter removed? Are there likely to be hidden ramifications?

Or, turn it around, should I mind being forced to use them for outbound e-mail? (I never use them for incoming.)

   
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Old 04-10-2005, 02:34 PM   #2
PeterArnel
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Kathleen - what a great song it would make "Email Blues"
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Old 04-10-2005, 02:42 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ktinkel
All of a sudden yesterday evening I became unable to send e-mail from any account that has its own SMTP — Eudora struggles for a minute or two, then tells me the server cannot be found.

Since that group includes my main e-mail address (“dominant” in Eudora parlance), it was extremely annoying.

Of course I figured it was the ISP, and they have been trying to help me unravel the problem. Turns out the guy also uses SBC DSL (in another part of the country), and he said they had changed something on his account so he could only send outbound e-mail through their servers.

So I went to the SBC web site and sure enough, they have put a “filter” on Port 25 so that I can only send e-mail through them, not via any other host. (Filter? I’d call it a block, myself!) They describe it as spam prevention.

Now I have three choices, to wit:
  • Convert my outgoing mail to the SBC SNET mail servers
  • Find alternate access for my 3rd party mail server (VPN, Web mail, Outlook Web Access)
  • Ask SBC to remove the SMTP port 25 filter from my account (with the suggestion that that request may not necessarily be granted)
So my question to the assembled multitude is: Is there any reason not to try to get the filter removed? Are there likely to be hidden ramifications?

Or, turn it around, should I mind being forced to use them for outbound e-mail? (I never use them for incoming.)
I have no choice, and it doesn't bother me one iota. In fact, it's a bit of a help, because my ISP (the largest in the country) actually runs any outward mail through its mail database and lets me know immediately if there's an error in the address.

   
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Old 04-10-2005, 04:15 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ktinkel
Or, turn it around, should I mind being forced to use them for outbound e-mail?
As long as they are reliable, why not? But it can be nice to have a Plan B.

On the positive side, by stopping people from using port 25 they are making it harder for spammers to use their mail servers, which in turn reduces the liklihood of their IP numbers being blacklisted.

And your normal mail servers might also support SMTP on ports other than 25, which would provide you with a backup.

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Old 04-10-2005, 05:02 PM   #5
ktinkel
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PeterArnel
Kathleen - what a great song it would make "Email Blues"
Yeah — I told Jack to find my old autoharp. After a few weeks of restringing, well, who knows? I may have a cool new song! <g>

Meanwhile, I am just cranky.

   
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Old 04-10-2005, 05:06 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by annc
I have no choice, and it doesn't bother me one iota. In fact, it's a bit of a help, because my ISP (the largest in the country) actually runs any outward mail through its mail database and lets me know immediately if there's an error in the address.
My DSL ISP is the phone company, purchased so many times that the headquarters are closer to Australia than Connecticut (allowing, perhaps, for a smidgeon of hyperbole!).

If I need help, I call a toll-free number, get routed to a very polite person who reads from a script. If I figure out how to push the magic button, I get another polite — and more knowledgeable — person in San Francisco. But I have never been able to make a call to these folks that did not take at least an hour, usually more.

So far as I know, they do no checking of any sort. On the other hand, I have not had many e-mail problems until now. So maybe I should simply cave in and let them send all my e-mail. But why are they interfering — that is really what I want to know?

   
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Old 04-10-2005, 05:18 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ktinkel
My DSL ISP is the phone company, purchased so many times that the headquarters are closer to Australia than Connecticut (allowing, perhaps, for a smidgeon of hyperbole!).

If I need help, I call a toll-free number, get routed to a very polite person who reads from a script. If I figure out how to push the magic button, I get another polite — and more knowledgeable — person in San Francisco. But I have never been able to make a call to these folks that did not take at least an hour, usually more.

So far as I know, they do no checking of any sort. On the other hand, I have not had many e-mail problems until now. So maybe I should simply cave in and let them send all my e-mail. But why are they interfering — that is really what I want to know?
I imagine they've done it to prevent spammers taking over their mail servers.

   
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Old 04-10-2005, 09:01 PM   #8
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Or Option 4:

Find out whether any of the other SMTP servers you have access to supports non-standard (hence non-blocked) ports. I ran into this here too. While in this case it was easier just to use my annoying access provider's SMTP server (my old copy of Eudora doesn't permit alternate ports, so far as I can tell), a different email client that supports alternate ports would work.

   
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Old 04-10-2005, 09:05 PM   #9
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My DSL is through the local telco too, and while it doesn't take quite so long on the phone to get to the right person, it's still frustrating because they always deny having changed anything when of course, they have. Why else would my email have ceased working when nothing else changed at my end?

Or rather, they admit that they're blocking the port, but claim that they've ALWAYS done it. IWC, why did my mail EVER work, but suddenly stop.

I could fertilize acres with the stuff they try to feed me.

   
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Old 04-11-2005, 06:22 AM   #10
ktinkel
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shane Stanley
As long as they are reliable, why not? But it can be nice to have a Plan B.
Yeah. I hate being in thrall to these numbskulls, and I hate having no options. But otherwise, yes, I guess they have been reliable (she says grudgingly).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shane Stanley
On the positive side, by stopping people from using port 25 they are making it harder for spammers to use their mail servers, which in turn reduces the liklihood of their IP numbers being blacklisted.
Which is a good thing, possibly even for me. I guess. <g>

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shane Stanley
And your normal mail servers might also support SMTP on ports other than 25, which would provide you with a backup.
Aha! Never thought of that. Never thought much about ports in this context, in fact. Some ports one drinks, some are good places to tie up to. But e-mail and port were not until now terms I considered together. Oh, well.

Thanks.

   
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