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Missing messages to Madasafish

FIXED
kdiment
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Missing messages to Madasafish

I can exchange emails perfectly well between my PN account and a colleague's Madasafish account. However, there is a php program in a website hosted at 123-reg which sends an email to both of us, and while I receive such emails correctly they never appear in my colleague's Madasafish account. My colleague has looked in spam and junk folders as well as the inbox. Does anyone have any suggestions that might explain this?

Keith

28 REPLIES
Superuser
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Re: Missing messages to Madasafish

Does the message have a valid Return-path header where you'd find the returned message if it bounced?

David
kdiment
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Re: Missing messages to Madasafish

No, I don't think it does. I might be able to delve into the php code and add a "Reply to" field. Thanks for the suggestion.

Keith

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Re: Missing messages to Madasafish

I don't think defining Reply-to will help with setting Return-path. The default for the latter often depends on how the mail is sent. Is mailing done by a package or by using PHP mail()?

David
kdiment
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Re: Missing messages to Madasafish

The mailing is done using PHP mail() and I found that the From: and Reply-To: fields were both being set. The From: field was set to the name of the sender, so I changed it to be the email address of the sender hoping that might help. A quick test has shown it did not help, so now I do not know what to try next.

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Re: Missing messages to Madasafish

I have a forum on 123-reg which successfully emails messages. They've always arrived so I've had no reason to look at the headers. However checking them shows Return-path is set to my account number at the web-server host; should anything bounce I expect this means the message will simply disappear. Sad

I hadn't sent any emails from my own PHP code on 123-reg so I tried this using mail(). Whilst submission to the local server returns "success", messages are not received. (Messages sent using the same PHP script on Hostopia ccgi arrive OK.)

So forum mails work, DIY mails don't. However as far as I'm aware they should both be using the same process. Huh

David
kdiment
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Re: Missing messages to Madasafish

I now think that any connection with Madasafish was a complete red herring. My PHP code send emails to me and to one other. Having made various tests it now seems that the one to me always arrives but the other always disappears. I have tried a number of recipients whose email addresses I know, and they all say they have received nothing.

I am pretty sure this system has worked as intended in the past but, since it is used only occasionally, I cannot tell when it started behaving as it does at present.

I shall next try using two separate php mail() calls instead of one call to multiple addresses, but I expect that will not behave any differently.

Keith

kdiment
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Re: Missing messages to Madasafish

I can confirm that made no difference. Email to me arrived. Email to other recipient did not.

When I was using a single email() call to multiple addresses I tried putting my address first and putting it second but, again I was the only one to receive the message.

I don't know whether any of our findings are pointing to a solution yet. They might be helpful to you but I am at a loss.

Keith

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Re: Missing messages to Madasafish

Moderator's note by Mike (Mav)

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Re: Missing messages to Madasafish


kdiment wrote:

I don't know whether any of our findings are pointing to a solution yet. They might be helpful to you but I am at a loss.


Thanks for sharing your findings. Testing using my own 123-reg hosted domain has helped gather more information, and possibly establish the cause of the non-delivery problems. Checking if your findings are consistent with this requires more information, specifically:

  • are all the addresses that failed Plusnet/MAAF family ones (ie including Force9, etc)?
  • was the message to your own Plusnet address which works sent direct or relayed from elsewhere?

For most of my testing I've used PHPMailer (https://github.com/PHPMailer/PHPMailer) rather than PHP mail(), and sent emails using SMTP (still via localhost). Using PHPMailer and SMTP makes it easier to make address changes and view the dialogue with the mail server. By default it also ensures Return-path is set to the From address. However I confirmed behaviour is the same as with PHP mail().

I won't go through my false trails but the end result is that messages:

  1. to a gmail address and a non-Plusnet address are successfully delivered
  2. directly to a Plusnet address which are spam checked instantly bounce
  3. directly to a Plusnet address which is NOT spam checked are permanently delayed, delivery eventually timing out
  4. to a 123-reg address which redirects to a Plusnet address are successfully delivered

My interpretation of 1 and 2 is that the delivery problem is related to the Plusnet Cloudmark appliances giving the sending server a poor reputation and refusing emails. 3 is an oddity needing feedback from Plusnet. 4 works because the redirect comes from a different server which doesn't have a poor reputation.

I'll raise the reputation issue of the website email server with Plusnet. If the problem is confirmed hopefully it can be fixed.

If you wish to do more checks yourself adding a fifth parameter to the mail() command enables Return-path to be overridden. Setting this only to an address which *will* receive bounces makes sense but in code terms the call needs to be

$rpath = "mailboxname@123-regdomain.co.uk";
$success = mail($EmailTo, $Subject, $Body, "From: <$EmailFrom>", "-f$rpath");

I used 123-regdomain there as I know that works, but in principle the Return-path address can be elsewhere. Trying this might provide more clues.Smiley

David
kdiment
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Re: Missing messages to Madasafish

Thanks for your continuing interest in this problem, David. I have raised a ticket at 123-reg and am in contact with them, but so far we have managed to gather only rather conflicting evidence. I intend to run some more tests this evening.

To answer your questions: yes, I think that all the email addresses that I know have failed to receive messages are Plusnet/MAAF/Waitrose ones, and the messages that always get through to me are sent to @bcs.org.uk where they are checked for viruses and spam before being forwarded to me at PN.

Hope that helps.

Keith

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Re: Missing messages to Madasafish

Hi Keith, thanks for those answers; the behaviour you are experiencing ties in with mine. Smiley

Hopefully the evidence I'll be passing to Plusnet will help get the problem fixed.

Are you intending to try the extended mail() call I mentioned in my previous reply?

David
kdiment
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Re: Missing messages to Madasafish

What I have just done is to use a small PHP file provided by 123-reg to send a test email message to eight people (a certain committee who will not mind being helpful, I hope), followed by a normal email to the same eight asking them to report whether or not they received the test message.

Four of the eight are on Plusnet/MAAF accounts, my own copies of the messages have arrived, and the other three have gmail, btinternet and icloud accounts respectively.

I have just heard from one of the Plusnet recipients that the earlier test message was NOT received.

Keith

kdiment
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Re: Missing messages to Madasafish

The recipient on Madasafish reports the test message was NOT received.

The recipient on icloud reports the test message WAS received.

Following your suggestions it looks though we are progressing towards the source of the problem!

Keith

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Re: Missing messages to Madasafish

Thanks. Things do look promising. Smiley

Could you try adding the fifth parameter to the mail() call as mentioned in a previous reply? Setting $rpath to your bcs mail address should work. It shouldn't matter if it's also in the "To" list (unless their scanner flags it as spam Sad ).

David