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SMTP Outgoing Mail Failure After Cancelling Broadband (Email Retained)

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TootieFrootie
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Registered: ‎17-07-2018

SMTP Outgoing Mail Failure After Cancelling Broadband (Email Retained)

hi Plusnet People

 

I cancelled my broadband account with Plusnet on 26.11.21 after many many years of excellent service but retained my plusnet email address. The only reason I left is because of a house move and my partner already has a service package with another provider.

 

As soon as my broadband was switched off my outgoing mail via SMTP has failed on all devices (iPhone 11 and iMac Mail). Incoming mail still works perfectly fine. On my iPhone i get the message "Cannot send mail. The username or password for username@relay.plus.net is incorrect".  On my iMac via Mac Mail I get "relay denied". It fails over a 4G mobile data connection with EE (on the iPhone) and fails (currently ie until I get connected with my partner's broadband)) over a wi-fi hotspot connection, using the 4G EE data, on my iMac.

 

I spoke with the Plusnet helpdesk the same day but fear the agent didn't really understand my issue and the case that they opened for me says very little and appears to have a status of closed anyway.

 

When I've checked 'manage my mail' settings on my plusnet account there is a section that says "if you want to use SMTP delivery with your username.plus.com domain change your mail delivery options (with a link to that section). In this section is states "this feature is not available for your account type".

 

So I'm a little confused. No longer having Plusnet Broadband should I still be able to send mail via my plusnet email address? Seems a little bit of a limitation if not. I've changed no SMTP settings since Plusnet broadband was switched off though I have deleted and recreated my email account on the iPhone with the same results. Is there something that needs to be enabled at the Plusnet end that may have inadvertently been switched off or disabled as part of my broadband cancellation?

 

Any assistance / advice would be greatly appreciated.

20 REPLIES 20
jab1
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Re: SMTP Outgoing Mail Failure After Cancelling Broadband (Email Retained)

@TootieFrootie If you requested a 'mail only' account, this involves waiting until your account is fully closed, and then requires manual recreation of the email component, which can take 3-5 working days, but from you description it sounds as though that side has been completed.

To send mail using your PN email on another provider, you need to authenticate it. There should be some way of doing that on your Mac, but as I have never used a Mac in my life, I can't tell you where to look, sorry.

John
Townman
Superuser
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Re: SMTP Outgoing Mail Failure After Cancelling Broadband (Email Retained)

Feature not available on your account type somewhat suggests that the migration to mail only might not have been completed.

Try accessing the mailbox and attempt to send an email using webmail. That will eliminate any issues related to connection source or device settings.

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.

TootieFrootie
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Re: SMTP Outgoing Mail Failure After Cancelling Broadband (Email Retained)

Thanks jab1 and Towman, the more I read (the more confusing it gets) the more it does look like that if you no longer have Plusnet Broadband, that you cannot use their outgoing SMTP servers with hostname relay.plus.net using a non-Plusnet BB connection or wi-fi.

 

But if that is not true just not sure what other SMTP settings to use with this email address and I'll have to dig a little further or raise a new case with Plusnet and ask them to confirm my thoughts.

 

host name: relay.plus.net

username: username added

password: password added

Use SSL: No

Authentication: Password

Server Port 587

 

Some non-Plusnet forums suggest using a non-Plusnet SMTP server without authentication but on iPhone 11 I don't seem to be to set authentication to none. Only options are MD5 Challenge-Response, NTLM or HTTP MD5 Digest, plus the password option that I have always used.

 

If I use Plusnet webmail both incoming and outgoing mail works correctly 100%, so at least I have that fall back position for now  but of couse that is connecting directly to the Plusnet outgoing mail server and not via any external device on a non Plusnet broadband or wi-fi connection and is a bit of a pain to do.

 

If people can keep posting any thoughts or suggestions and in the meantime I'll keep digging further at my end. Unless Plusnet can categorically 100% confirm on this thread that with an email-only plusnet account i cannot use relay.plus.net?

 

Thanks all.

 

 

Townman
Superuser
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Re: SMTP Outgoing Mail Failure After Cancelling Broadband (Email Retained)

This sounds little confusing ... you really need to know the status of your account.

If you can login to webmail here - http://webmail.plus.net - and then send emails, that would suggest that the email account is still fully active ... unless there is a foible in webmail!!

Connecting via a different ISP or mobile network does require authentication (plain password).

SMTP server settings should be relay.plus.net using port 587 with STARTTLS

 

All that said, some third party ISPs have dirty IP addresses which cause SMTP logins to be rejected.  The only way of determining this (prior to a staffer running some checks @Gandalf ) is to run your own diagnostics...

Test SMTP authentication

Email programs often report username / password error for issues not actually related to those being wrong, but for other connectivity issues. Such can be very frustrating when you are convinced that they are correct. Testing SMTP authentication through a command line interface can deliver a more precise error message. The following describes how to do this using TELNET.

This is not difficult, but you need the following resources which might be unfamiliar...

  1. TELNET - this might need installing as an additional option, for Windows see enabling TELNET.
  2. A code64 encoder / decoder such as this.

You can use TELNET to communicate direct with the SMTP server as follows...

Open the code64 encoder in a web browser and leave ready for use in the following steps.

Launch a windows command line window (DOS window) - press windows-key+R - type CMD into the run box - click OK

Enter...

telnet relay.plus.net 587

Press enter. Note if you use one of the other brand email services, use the appropriate SMTP server name for that brand. In response to SMTP server I'm here message, say 'HELLO'...

EHLO relay.plus.net

The SMTP server will then report what it can do after which tell the server you wish to authenticate...

AUTH login

The server should return the following, which is a base64 encoded string that requires your username:

334 VXNlcm5hbWU6

Use the code64 encoder to encode your username and paste it into the telnet window and press enter. For example:

bXl1c2VybmFtZQ==

The server should return the following, which is a base64 encoded string that requires your password:

334 UGFzc3dvcmQ6

Paste the base64 encoded password for the username. For example:

bXlwYXNzd29yZA==

The server will then report success or failure, any failure message should clearly indicate the reason for the failure. If the reason for the failure is not clear, please report back the message.

Close the SMTP / TELNET session by entering

quit

The session should look something similar to the below wherein your input is in bold...

220 avasout03 smtp relay.plus.net
EHLO relay.plus.net
250-avasout03 hello [your IP address], pleased to meet you
250-HELP
250-AUTH LOGIN PLAIN
250-SIZE 104857600
250-PIPELINING
250-8BITMIME
250-STARTTLS
250 OK
AUTH LOGIN
334 VXNlcm5hbWU6
bXl1c2VybmFtZQ==
334 UGFzc3dvcmQ6
bXlwYXNzd29yZA==
235 ... authentication succeeded
quit
221 avasout03 smtp closing connection
Connection to host lost.

Here are some examples of failure responses...

535 ...authentication rejected [as username / password is wrong]
535 ...authentication rejected as source IP has a poor reputation
535 Too many SMTP auth failures. Please try again later.

 

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.

TheMightyAJ
Plusnet Help Team
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Re: SMTP Outgoing Mail Failure After Cancelling Broadband (Email Retained)

Hey @TootieFrootie,

I'm sorry to hear that you're experiencing issues with the service. I've had a look at the account and the component still appears to be active, so the mailboxes haven't been closed down. Have you tried logging into the mailbox via the web portal to see if you can gain access?

If this post resolved your issue please click the 'This fixed my problem' button
 Alex H
 Plusnet Help Team
TootieFrootie
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Re: SMTP Outgoing Mail Failure After Cancelling Broadband (Email Retained)

Townman - Appreciate the efforts to provide the Telnet info but those instructions are for Windows OS and I am on an iPhone and an iMac.

 

TheMightyAJ - I can login to Plusnet webmail on any device and both send and receive email. Via my iPhone and iMac I can receive but I cannot send due to the error messages I get (posted at the start of the thread).

 

Think I am going to raise a new case, add all that I know to the ticket, and see if the email needs to be destroyed and rebuilt again from Plusnet's end for both incoming / outgoing. As always, appreciate the efforts and suggestions from all parties to help me out here. I won't lose any old emails because I use POP3 and copies are stored on my iPhone and iMac.

Townman
Superuser
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Re: SMTP Outgoing Mail Failure After Cancelling Broadband (Email Retained)

The instructions to OBTAINING / SETTING up telnet are indeed Windows based.  Telnet is available on both iMac and iPhone - see the app store.

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.

Gandalf
Community Gaffer
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Re: SMTP Outgoing Mail Failure After Cancelling Broadband (Email Retained)

Fix

Thanks for getting back to us @TootieFrootie

I'm really sorry to see you're unable to send mail after leaving us for broadband.

From what I can see the type of account we've changed you over to is what's known as the "PlusNet Residential Generic Services Product" which historically was a free account and doesn't allow you to use relay.plus.net unless you were you on a Plusnet broadband connection, and you had to pay £1.06 for a full "Plusnet Mail" account.

After we made all email only accounts free of charge on 1st September 2018 with no option to pay for it, we removed that restriction, but I wonder if there's a setting wrong somewhere in the backend system that's blocking access similar to that. As the easiest way to find out, I've changed your account type to "Plusnet Mail".

Can you let me know if you're able to send mail and if Manage My Mail looks differently now?

If this post resolved your issue please click the 'This fixed my problem' button.
From 31st October 2022, I no longer have a regular presence here as I've moved on to a new role within Plusnet.

 Anoush Mortazavi
 Plusnet
TootieFrootie
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Re: SMTP Outgoing Mail Failure After Cancelling Broadband (Email Retained)

Gandalf, I have seen your name on many forums and clearly you are a go to person for many technical issues. I can't thank you enough. You have fixed my issue. I am now able to send (and receive) via my plusnet email account across all of my devices. Very much appreciated. "Manage My Mail" also looks different now with options available:

Select email delivery method

Please read this section thoroughly before making a change to your mail delivery settings.

SMTP IP address:
POP3/IMAP  

 

Thanks also to everyone else that offered their hints, tips and guidance. I'll mark this thread as fixed.

Gandalf
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Re: SMTP Outgoing Mail Failure After Cancelling Broadband (Email Retained)

Thanks for getting back to me @TootieFrootie 

Excellent! I'm glad to see that's done the trick. ‌Thumbs_Up‌No problem at all, feel free to prod me if you've got further issues or there's anything else you'd need help with.

If this post resolved your issue please click the 'This fixed my problem' button.
From 31st October 2022, I no longer have a regular presence here as I've moved on to a new role within Plusnet.

 Anoush Mortazavi
 Plusnet
Gandalf
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Re: SMTP Outgoing Mail Failure After Cancelling Broadband (Email Retained)

Hiya, as a follow-up having looked into the root cause, I can see the agent who arranged the account closure and downgrade to an email only account put this through the wrong way in the system. Sad

What they did was ask the system to automatically downgrade your account upon closure, but this doesn’t work well and can cause various issues like being moved onto the wrong product, so this way of working never made it into a documented process internally.

What should’ve happened is that we close your account, then raise a task with ‘NetOps’ to manually reactivate it to “Plusnet Mail” as this means you’ll be put on to the right product and things are marked as terminated in the billing engine, so your final bill’s produced. 

I’ve raised a task to our billing systems support team (ASG, application support group) to manually terminate your account in the billing engine, so we’ll generate your final bill within 20 days once done. 

I’ll let you know once I’ve got a response from ASG, which can be within 5 working days as they’re generally very busy folk. Smiley

If this post resolved your issue please click the 'This fixed my problem' button.
From 31st October 2022, I no longer have a regular presence here as I've moved on to a new role within Plusnet.

 Anoush Mortazavi
 Plusnet
TootieFrootie
Grafter
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Re: SMTP Outgoing Mail Failure After Cancelling Broadband (Email Retained)

Thanks, @Gandalf for the root cause follow-up and subsequent billing actions on my account. It's a breathe of fresh air for poeple to go to the trouble of explaining what went wrong and any follow-up actions. Again, thanks for your time and effort and I'll keep an eye out for your update from the ASG team.

Gandalf
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Re: SMTP Outgoing Mail Failure After Cancelling Broadband (Email Retained)

Thanks for getting back to me @TootieFrootie and cheers for the feedback.

No problem at all! Happy to help in any way I can. Smiley

If this post resolved your issue please click the 'This fixed my problem' button.
From 31st October 2022, I no longer have a regular presence here as I've moved on to a new role within Plusnet.

 Anoush Mortazavi
 Plusnet
grayhelm
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Re: SMTP Outgoing Mail Failure After Cancelling Broadband (Email Retained)

Hello

I have had a plusnet email for the last 10 years or more..When I changed broadband provider many years ago , I was told that I could receive emails on my plus.com account but not send any.This  I accepted and set up another account.

After reading this thread I’m thinking that maybe my account settings could be changed so I can send emails ?

Hoping that Gandalf can spot this and help !!,