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A Business Service? No

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RiskCoveredltd
Newbie
Posts: 6
Registered: ‎17-11-2015

A Business Service? No

Hi,
If you plan to use PlusNet for your Business Email, there are a few things you need to know when you go outside the UK.
(1) There is a chance you won't be able to send emails at all. Even with authentication correctly enabled. I was in Singapore and after a couple of hours, my ability to send email stopped and never recovered
(2) If you are abroad, PlusNet will limit the number of email you can send to a handful before you get a Server error: '452 Too many rcpts in time period from this IP'. In Abu Dhabi, after about 4 emails in an hour, I was blocked
(3) The only email tool they support is their own webmail. Outlook and all other mail clients connecting via mail ports are not supported, so if you can't send email but webmail works you are fine according to PlusNet. I am quite capable of configuring my own client and PlusNet chat agent would not even confirm the settings I should configure my tool with while abroad. I consider that extremely poor service
(4) In my experience, if PlusNet are asked about a send problem, the default answer is someone else (your hotel provider) is blocking port 25. With both my problems (Singapore and Abu Dhabi) I was told this repeatedly and it was untrue in all instances. In a support message it was made clear that they do know what some of the problems are (restricted email) and they do know its down to them, but the stock answer from support is still Port 25 blocked. Read as tech speak for: 'Not our problem mate'.
I feel I have been mis sold the service as business class, when actually I am not sure it is even any good for a casual traveller. I am also appalled that PlusNet would use something technical such as Port 25 being blocked to deflect problems from themselves. The average person depends on them to use their technical skill in an honesty way and not to use it as a tool to bamboozle people.
Be warned. PlusNet is not a good choice if you travel
10 REPLIES 10
Community Gaffer
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Re: A Business Service? No

Sorry to hear you've had a bad experience.
Quote from: RiskCoveredltd
(1) There is a chance you won't be able to send emails at all. Even with authentication correctly enabled. I was in Singapore and after a couple of hours, my ability to send email stopped and never recovered

There are stricter SMTP policies in place from certain geographical ranges.
Quote from: RiskCoveredltd
(2) If you are abroad, PlusNet will limit the number of email you can send to a handful before you get a Server error: '452 Too many rcpts in time period from this IP'. In Abu Dhabi, after about 4 emails in an hour, I was blocked

Presumably those emails were to multiple recipients? I think the recipient limit is around 10/email as its strictest (and recipients per hour will be well below the 300 mark).
Quote from: RiskCoveredltd
(3) The only email tool they support is their own webmail. Outlook and all other mail clients connecting via mail ports are not supported, so if you can't send email but webmail works you are fine according to PlusNet.

We both know that's not the case so I'm sorry if you were advised as such. At the very least I would expect the mail server settings to be confirmed with you.
Quote from: RiskCoveredltd
(4) In my experience, if PlusNet are asked about a send problem, the default answer is someone else (your hotel provider) is blocking port 25.

That's a fairly common problem when experiencing problems sending from a non-Plusnet connection. Proving otherwise is fairly simple though by trying to telnet to our mail server across port 25.
Quote
Be warned. PlusNet is not a good choice if you travel

You can use Webmail of course, but it doesn't sound like that's a viable option for you? The alternative would be to use a local SMTP server rather than our relay server. We can relax the limits, however it's likely to take a few days at least to sort out, and it would probably only be worthwhile if you're being assigned a static IP.

Bob Pullen
Plusnet Product Team
If I've been helpful then please give thanks ⤵

Community Veteran
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Registered: ‎10-04-2007

Re: A Business Service? No

As per my post on your other topic - did you try the submission port 587 instead of port 25?
It's not uncommon for port 25 to be blocked and 587 not.
It's not a bad idea to use 587 all the time.
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RiskCoveredltd
Newbie
Posts: 6
Registered: ‎17-11-2015

Re: A Business Service? No

Hi Bob,
Thanks for replying.
(1) My service from Singapore stopped and never started again. The connection was refused. Besides, running a business on 10 emails while out of the country is not really viable is it?
(2) Is this limitation something that business clients aware of when they sign up? If it isn't, are you really being honest with clients as even the smallest business may have business abroad?
(3) Supporting email clients. Please see this extract from the chat I had with your support team. I have removed the names only. No other editing. I am XXX, your support person was YYY.
XXX: Webmail is not the solution for my business and you sold me a business service. Besides which you have not told me why my current config is suddenly wrong?
XXX: What config change are you talking about please?
YYY: The configration you use on web mail. We cannot support a third party service such as outlook. However if your web mail is working then we have provided you with email service.
YYY: YYY. What needs to be configured. What has changed

So when you say, we both know that's not the case
. Sorry, it was my experience while stuck in a hotel, thousands of miles from my office where my connection details are kept.
Sorry, you are being judged by what you have done.

(3) Port 25 Blocked. As I advised you support team, PORT 25 was demonstrated as open. The hotel, keen to encourage business users, sent up an IT technician to demonstrate port 25 was open to me. Still I was told Port 25 was being blocked by a third party. I would also ask you and other readers to just think about this, a business hotel provides internet for its clients and then closes PORT 25 so they cannot send email? Why on earth would they do that?
RiskCoveredltd
Newbie
Posts: 6
Registered: ‎17-11-2015

Re: A Business Service? No

Hi Bright Spark,
Thanks for taking an interest and commenting.
I did try port 587. This also did not work, but again I make the point. Internet for business users is a common offer from hotels to attract business clients, particularly where they run training and conferences. To use it as email and internet access as a tool to attract business guests and then to block its use via port 25 is not really likely is it?
Bob correctly identified that PlusNet limits emails from abroad. So when I reported a 452 error, why was I again advised that it could be PORT 25 being blocked by a third party? Bob knows the right answer so why are customers not given that when they seek support?
Community Veteran
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Re: A Business Service? No

Lessons learned
I've in the past been working in some very difficult territories for Internet and email, Pakistan, Cameroon, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and always managed to keep in contact.
I've never relied on a single provider and more often than not taken out a local contract with an ISP.
First action would always be to use a local server for sending emails
I also had a domain registered with a third party hosting an email so this was always available whichever ISP i was using at the time. And this was personalised to my company.
I realise there are extra costs but sustainable for a successful international business
Incidentally some of my clients insisted on VPN for extra security.
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Community Gaffer
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Registered: ‎04-04-2007

Re: A Business Service? No

Quote from: RiskCoveredltd
(1) My service from Singapore stopped and never started again. The connection was refused. Besides, running a business on 10 emails while out of the country is not really viable is it?

No, and I'd urge you to explore some of the alternatives that have been suggested. We have valid reasons for restricting service from certain IP ranges.
Quote from: RiskCoveredltd
(2) Is this limitation something that business clients aware of when they sign up? If it isn't, are you really being honest with clients as even the smallest business may have business abroad?

No, it isn't made clear at signup. I'm not sure it should be either given how few people it actually impacts.
Quote from: RiskCoveredltd
(3) Supporting email clients. Please see this extract from the chat I had with your support team. I have removed the names only. No other editing. I am XXX, your support person was YYY.

Yeah, that's not great. It's one of those issues that is so infrequently encountered, that newer support staff may not be au fait with the policy. Sorry you were given the run-around Sad
Quote from: RiskCoveredltd
(3) Port 25 Blocked. As I advised you support team, PORT 25 was demonstrated as open. The hotel, keen to encourage business users, sent up an IT technician to demonstrate port 25 was open to me. Still I was told Port 25 was being blocked by a third party. I would also ask you and other readers to just think about this, a business hotel provides internet for its clients and then closes PORT 25 so they cannot send email? Why on earth would they do that?

It would be counter-productive, but not wholly unreasonable depending on the potential for abuse.

Bob Pullen
Plusnet Product Team
If I've been helpful then please give thanks ⤵

RiskCoveredltd
Newbie
Posts: 6
Registered: ‎17-11-2015

Re: A Business Service? No

Hi Peter,
Thanks for taking an interest and making suggestions.
Yes, but I want to spend my time on my business and not on IT matters. Today I have signed up for an SMTP that will allow me to send authenticated email from any country if I have an Internet connection. That should do the trick and that is what I would expect from a business level account
Regards,
RiskCoveredltd
Newbie
Posts: 6
Registered: ‎17-11-2015

Re: A Business Service? No

Hi Bob,
Thanks for your further response.
(1) Thanks for acknowledging that such a small number of emails isn't good enough to support a business level account.
(2) You don't let business users know, so the first time they find out is when they are abroad on business. For me of course that mattered hugely and was of great inconvienence. And you say only a small number of people need to know this? Aside from business, I would be quite upset if I was a non business user finding this out while on my holidays.
(3) I disagree. If a hotel makes Internet access available as a service for business guests and then closes port 25 so they can't send email, their reputation would be badly damaged. They would lose business and conference work in a very short space of time as everyone in business is very dependent on email these days. I think the problem is that you are seeing this as IT people and its impact on networks and not as business people and its impact on hotel revenues.
Well for me, I have solved the problem by signing up with someone who will allow me to send Authenticated Emails via the Internet from any location. I am sure I will not have any further problems from the kind of business hotel I use. In terms of the heading for this thread, I am now using another suppliers POP3 and now the same suppliers SMTP. It has cost me a notional amount, but it is worth it not to have all the hassles. So I think the thread is well titled.
Oh, by the way. I had a response to my complaint about this that said the SLA for answering support tickets is 72 Hrs! Again, not a business level service I suggest.
Regards,
Superuser
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Re: A Business Service? No

Quote from: RiskCoveredltd
(3) I disagree. If a hotel makes Internet access available as a service for business guests and then closes port 25 so they can't send email, their reputation would be badly damaged. They would lose business and conference work in a very short space of time as everyone in business is very dependent on email these days. I think the problem is that you are seeing this as IT people and its impact on networks and not as business people and its impact on hotel revenues.

For what its worth many organisations with good professionally set up network security will block access to 'off network' port 25 services. Prior to configuring all of my SMTP connections to use AUTHENTICATED connection on port 587, I have on many occasions experienced the inability to send emails on third party networks within the UK using port 25.  That clearly points to the host network, not PlusNet's abuse prevention configurations.
It is an unfortunate reality that in some geographies there is wide spread abuse of email relay services.  To not have some of the 'defence' mechanisms you've fallen 'foul' of would result in the PlusNet relay servers becoming 'black listed' by anti spam systems, thereby no PlusNet customer would be able to send any email, regardless of where they connect from.
In the long run, blocking access to port 25 within a network and / or refusing connection to port 25 from certain geographies (rather than using authenticated connection on port 587) protects the services for the benefit of all users.
Are the devices you are using for email configured to connect to relay.plus.net on port 587 and to use authentication?
Community Veteran
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Registered: ‎04-04-2007

Re: A Business Service? No

Quote from: PeterLoftus
Incidentally some of my clients insisted on VPN for extra security.

This sounds like good advise. As well as having a backup while traveling.