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Cannot send emails

A_Schoenblerg
Dabbler
Posts: 17
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Registered: ‎21-12-2016

Cannot send emails

My mum's plusnet email stopped working about two weeks ago. Investigation revealed that she'd received the message from the Plusnet Abuse Team about the likelihood of her mailbox log-in credentials having been compromised.

I changed (and improved) her mailbox password, did the same for my mailbox and also for our overall (default) account. We have a Generic Services account, and no longer get our broadband from Plusnet.

Everything seems to have gone OK, except neither of us can now send email. My mum uses Opera Mail to get her email, and I use Thunderbird. Focusing on my account, I (foolishly) started changing a few 'Outgoing Server' settings in Thunderbird, but it proved fruitless.

Browsing around the community boards, I discovered the SMTP authentication test using Telnet. I gave this a try and got a "535 ...authentication rejected" message (see image below). I'm pretty sure I got the password right, as I ran it back through the the code64 decoder and it worked to get into webmail. Webmail is working fine for both mailboxes - we can both send and receive.

My guess is that we've both been 'locked out' of the SMTP server because of the abuse of my mum's account. Now I've changed the passwords, can our access be restored?

Telnet webized - Copy.png

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26 REPLIES 26
Townman
Superuser
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Re: Cannot send emails

Is this on an active account, or is it a legacy (after you have left) free email only account?

We have seen cases where a not-now-Plusnet customer, using a retained legacy email only service, finds that after changing their account's password, they can no longer access the SMTP server from an off-network email client.

Perversely sending emails from Webmail still works.

Can you please rule this possibility in /out before we go any further.

 

EDIT: Re-read the OP and saw this which I had missed: "We have a Generic Services account, and no longer get our broadband from Plusnet."

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jab1
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Re: Cannot send emails

@A_Schoenblerg If you are on a Generic Services account, are you saying you are not a PN customer any more? If so, you will need to authenticate to send via PN servers, although you should have enabled this when you moved, and, as far as I know, this remains. The only other thing I can think of at the moment is that you may not have changed the passwords in the mail clients?

@Townman ? - ignore me, you were quicker.

John
Townman
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Re: Cannot send emails

Hi John,

Cross posting whilst editing my over-sight.

If this connection were not attempting to authenticate, the error message would be "relay not permitted".

 

We have seen this issue before, I have escalated this before which has been met with a lack-lustre "we do not support email for non-account holders" response.  I had taken that to potentially a confused "We NOLONGER allow users to opt for email only on departure".

I tried hard to get what I suggest is clearly a configuration defect fixed ... but to no avail.

 

@willcutforth / @James30  / @bobpullen - any possibility of a re-visit on this subject please?  Down-grading a free with SMTP account to a free WITHOUT SMTP account subsequent to an enforced (or elective) password change seems a tad harsh!

 

I do though have a suggestion:  If the MANAGE MY MAIL interface will permit the creation of a NEW emailbox, then create a new emailbox.  Call it "sidedoor".

Then attempt to configure the EXISTING email client account to use DIFFERENT authentication credentials for the SMTP server: accountname+sidedoor with sidedoor's password.  The fact that the username for the Inbound and Outbound connections is not the same is of no concern.  It is the IMAP server side which puts the sent item into the sent folder after the successful send action.

 

NB: There is no assurance that this will work, but if it does, it will point to a different logic path to setting passwords ... which might inform the existing Superuser discussion.

Superusers are not staff, but they do have a direct line of communication into the business in order to raise issues, concerns and feedback from the community.

A_Schoenblerg
Dabbler
Posts: 17
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Registered: ‎21-12-2016

Re: Cannot send emails

Thank you both for looking at the issue.

@jab1, if you're interested, you can read about the 'Generic Services' background here.

@Townman - interesting suggestion in your last three paragraphs. I will give it a try and report back.

jab1
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Re: Cannot send emails

@A_Schoenblerg Thanks for that link - so your move was prior to the free 'email-only' account option, which is possibly why it kind of threw me.

Hope you get sorted.

John
Townman
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Re: Cannot send emails

@A_Schoenblerg 

I recall that case well.  @HarryB was great at repairing things which went pear-shaped.

That thread is quite perinate to your current situation - https://community.plus.net/t5/Email/Email-ceased-prior-to-migration/m-p/1399791#M17924

"Given the circumstances in this instance, I moved the account to this [Generic Services] as opposed to the chargeable Mail Only account type as a gesture of goodwill"

Over the years there have been various "email only" accounts

  1. Free email only - no access to SMTP off network (email needs to be sent via a third party SMTP)
  2. Chargeable email only accounts - has access to SMTP (off network)
  3. Generic Services account - no charge - has access to SMTP (off network)

As I understand matters, when the attempt to implement SPF was undertaken, that gave rise to the necessity for @youraccount.plus.com emails to be sent via relay.plus.net.  Therefore type (1) had to be converted to type (3).

When the new billing system was introduced its tightened rigor prevented charging anything where a service contract did not exist, thus type (2) became type (3).

However in your case, it appears that you have never had a restricted free email account.

There does though appear to be a scenario where changing a type (3)'s password makes the account behave like a type (1).  Note that the Webmail client is within Plusnet's network, so it can access the SMTP server.

Reflecting on this history offers the possibility of using some other party's SMTP server to send emails if you have the credentials.  HOWEVER that might give rise to SPF issues (or more correctly the absence of SPF [or DKIM] sender verification) most notably with Gmail addressees.

 

Question: are you using the native @youraccount.plus.com form of email address or (given the longevity of your account) did you use the (usually free) option of @yourdomain.co.uk?

If the latter, your best strategy is to migrate your domain hosting to another provider.  There are many out there, but Hosting - Shell Accounts - UK-based - Mythic Beasts (mythic-beasts.com) has some nice bundles - email only comes in at £2pcm (incl VAT) for something very similar to the Plusnet mail service options / configurations ... but with double the FUP storage allowance.

Superusers are not staff, but they do have a direct line of communication into the business in order to raise issues, concerns and feedback from the community.

A_Schoenblerg
Dabbler
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Re: Cannot send emails

I'm using the native @youraccount.plus.com form of email address, @Townman.

Thank you for that comprehensive summary of changes to the email system at Plusnet, though - it's good to know (though I had to look up SPF)!

A_Schoenblerg
Dabbler
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Registered: ‎21-12-2016

Re: Cannot send emails

As per your suggestion @Townman, I created a new mailbox called "sidedoor@[my username].plus.net". I logged into it on webmail to check it worked – it did.

I then set Thunderbird to use this new account for sending outgoing mail.

Tbird sidedoor settings webized.png

(Although I called it Plusnet+sidedoor, the User Name is [my username]+sidedoor). I asked Thunderbird to send a message in my Outbox, it prompted me for the sidedoor password, but no luck.

Tbird sidedoor login fail webized.png  

Email client settings seem to be a bit 'hit and miss', so I thought I'd try telnet for a definitive check.

Telnet sidedoor webized.png

😐

I think I'll knock it on the head for this evening and try again tomorrow!

Townman
Superuser
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Re: Cannot send emails

You’ve now got a different issue. Turning off the router for 90 minutes might get you a different dynamic IP address.

Alternatively connecting the device via a mobile network will give you another chance. Nice work on the diagnostics.

Superusers are not staff, but they do have a direct line of communication into the business in order to raise issues, concerns and feedback from the community.

A_Schoenblerg
Dabbler
Posts: 17
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Registered: ‎21-12-2016

Re: Cannot send emails

As you suggested, @Townman, a modem restart got me a new IP address. I tried telnet again for the new 'sidedoor' account, with the following results:

Telnet sidedoor 2 webized.png

Hmm…I wonder what I should do next. I could raise a formal ticket – though I notice that you tagged in staff and admin above.

James30
Plusnet Help Team
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Re: Cannot send emails

Hi @A_Schoenblerg . So the type of account you have means that you need to put in the username and password in the outgoing mail server setting (even though it shows optional) I'm not savvy with Thunderbird and Opera as I use outlook but can you go into the Thunderbird settings and let me know what you have for the outgoing mail server, port number and check that the username and password are the same ones you use to login to webmail please?  TA

 

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James - Plusnet Sheffield
Plusnet Help Team
Townman
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Re: Cannot send emails

@James30 

This is a long running saga - please see the SU boards.

This user has been doing exactly what you advise, but there are wrinkles to do with the long history of retained email accounts  (something now not permitted) after a user leaves Plusnet.

In this case (and similar cases) the user COULD access the SMTP server as you describe.  After changing their password, they can do so no longer.  Have a chat with @Gandalf ...

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Townman
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Re: Cannot send emails

@A_Schoenblerg 

In that case "sidedoor" is not opening for you as (clutching at straws) I hoped it might.

The discussion on this topic continues elsewhere; in the meantime, the best that I can offer is to use some other SMTP server for outbound mail ... and hope that the receiving service does not squeal over the absence of SPF or DKIM for those emails.

Superusers are not staff, but they do have a direct line of communication into the business in order to raise issues, concerns and feedback from the community.

Townman
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Re: Cannot send emails

Doing some digging for you, you could consider SMTP2GO however you need to register your domain @youraccount.plus.com by modifying DNS records (which cannot be done) or alternatively by registering individual email addresses you@youraccount.plus.com

The latter has some wrinkles - see here Verified Senders – SMTP2GO Support

Superusers are not staff, but they do have a direct line of communication into the business in order to raise issues, concerns and feedback from the community.