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SMTP outgoing emails stopped working

starchild
Grafter
Posts: 27
Thanks: 1
Registered: ‎12-01-2011

SMTP outgoing emails stopped working

A few months back automated emails sent from my home automation application (Homeseer) stopped being received. As is the way with life, I never got a chance to look into it due to other priorities. However, recently there was a critical email which I didn't get and so it's now top of the pile of things to fix!

Basically, I have had Homeseer running for around 7 years with no email issues and the version I use hasn't been updated for around 4 years so in terms of that application nothing has changed on the client side. Also, my Outlook client using POP is OK. There's very little in the way of options in the Homeseer email config so these are what have always been set (written exactly as they appear):

 

Sending Server(SMTP): relay.plus.net

SMTP Username: <my Plusnet username>

SMTP Password: <my Plusnet password>

Use MAPI for E-Mail: No

Default "TO" E-Mail address: <my Plusnet email address>

Default "FROM" E-Mail address: <my Plusnet email address>

 

Note that I am a free-online customer and so have also tried relay.free-online.net as the outgoing server without success.

In Homeseer this is the returned error message:

"Sending email using SMTP: The message could not be sent to the SMTP server. The transport error code was 0x80040217. The server response was not available."

Although I suspect an issue at Plusnet (this has happened twice in the past where I've been blocked without notification for no good reason) I appreciate that I can't completely rule out an issue with Homeseer so I searched for an independent way of checking the connection. Note that currently as a workaround I'm now using a 3rd party SMTP relay server and that works fine when sending from within Homeseer. That's another reason why I feel that Plusnet are at fault.

I came across a tool at www.smpter.net specifically for testing mail server deployments and these are the results:

relay.plus.net using either port 25 or port 587 both with and without authentication:
Mailbox unavailable. The server response was: recipient rejected - relay denied

relay.free-online.net port 25 with authentication:
Failure sending mail. Unable to read data from the transport connection: net_io_connectionclosed.

relay.free-online.net using either port 25 or 587 with no authentication:
Mailbox unavailable. The server response was: recipient rejected - relay denied

relay.free-online.net using port 587 with authentication:
Failure sending mail. Unable to read data from the transport connection: net_io_connectionclosed.

 

I'm quite happy to run anyone's favourite tool for testing if that can help resolve my issue.

I've already run this past Plusnet customer support via webchat, however I don't think I've ever had a worse customer experience, as the agent point blank refused to help me - and then abruptly closed the chat! I'm hoping that using the forum I get someone who will treat a very long term customer on the top tier package with a bit more respect.

12 REPLIES 12
MatthewWheeler
Plusnet Help Team
Plusnet Help Team
Posts: 8,175
Thanks: 1,050
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Registered: ‎01-01-2012

Re: SMTP outgoing emails stopped working

Thanks for getting in touch @starchild

There are no widespread issues reported that we're aware of with sending mail.

Is it possible for you to do the same tests using mobile data to see if you get the same error?

If this post resolved your issue please click the 'This fixed my problem' button
 Matthew Wheeler
 Plusnet Help Team
starchild
Grafter
Posts: 27
Thanks: 1
Registered: ‎12-01-2011

Re: SMTP outgoing emails stopped working

Thanks for the reply Matthew.

I realise that this issue isn't widespread - but there's plenty of ways that you guys can cause a problem for individuals (as I already mentioned, this has happened in the past).

I think the key piece of information here is that I can successfully send emails from Homeseer when using a third party SMTP relay server. It's only when I point my emails to the Plusnet relay server that things fail.

In years gone by Plusnet were able to check the server logs for messages related to my connection to see the reason for the rejection. Are you able to do that for me?

Townman
Superuser
Superuser
Posts: 19,677
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Registered: ‎22-08-2007

Re: SMTP outgoing emails stopped working

Some questions:

Is the FROM email address of the form @youraccount.plus.com ?

If yes, is this the account's primary email address or a secondary email address?

If it is a secondary address the logon account should be youraccount+secondary_mailbox_name

SMTP should use Port 587 with authentication, but without SSL/TLS

 

I've recently seen an issue with an account having problem accessing SMTP with webmail, although they could log into webmail and read in the inbox OK.  Can you try logging into the mailbox using web mail and verify that you can SEND an email without getting an error?

Your notes refer to "DEFAULT To / From" address - are there other TO / From addresses which this device might be using?

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
Plusnet Help Team
Posts: 2,186
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Registered: ‎26-03-2018

Re: SMTP outgoing emails stopped working

Hi @starchild,

I'm afraid I can't see why this would be rejecting from our end of things. Please can you confirm the answers to the questions brought forward by @Townman?

If this post resolved your issue please click the 'This fixed my problem' button
 Alex H
 Plusnet Help Team
starchild
Grafter
Posts: 27
Thanks: 1
Registered: ‎12-01-2011

Re: SMTP outgoing emails stopped working

H i @Townman - here''s the answer to your questions:

 

Is the FROM email address of the form @youraccount.plus.com ?

Yes (but as I have a Free-online account, the format is @<my  sub domain>.free-online.co.uk)

If yes, is this the account's primary email address or a secondary email address?

If it is a secondary address the logon account should be youraccount+secondary_mailbox_name

Not sure I understand the question here? What is a primary and secondary email address?

SMTP should use Port 587 with authentication, but without SSL/TLS

As I say, I've tried combinations of  both port 25 and 587. Homeseer does not support SSL/TLS.

I've recently seen an issue with an account having problem accessing SMTP with webmail, although they could log into webmail and read in the inbox OK. Can you try logging into the mailbox using web mail and verify that you can SEND an email without getting an error?

Just tested this and can report that I can successfully send an email using webmail (and I did notice that the outgoijng SMTP server is configured to relay.free-online.net so I guess that removes one variable from my testing!)

Your notes refer to "DEFAULT To / From" address - are there other TO / From addresses which this device might be using?

The default To / From email addresses can be over-ridden in the action of the event being triggered, however I only over-ride the "To" field.

 

@TheMightyAJ - is there a preferred independent tool that I can use to test your SMTP relay? As I say, smpter also fails.

Townman
Superuser
Superuser
Posts: 19,677
Thanks: 8,027
Fixes: 94
Registered: ‎22-08-2007

Re: SMTP outgoing emails stopped working

TELNET will do a good enough job - https://www.port25.com/how-to-check-an-smtp-connection-with-a-manual-telnet-session-2/

As you are not using a pure Plusnet address, I would recommend using port 587 which is technically more correct than 25.

Does your device logs give any detailed clue of the precise detail of the failure beyond 0x80040217?

 

I did a Google search for "Homeseer 0x80040217" and got lots of hits.  See for example this - https://forums.homeseer.com/forum/homeseer-products-services/general-discussion-area/73131-troublesh... - see post #8 which suggests it was not working … and then with some kicking, it started working!!

 

I also found this in respect of the error code...

It doesn't mean the username / password is wrong (that is just a possible symptom). It means that the Mail Server did not send a response, which can be for a number of reasons. Things to check, username and password, account usage limits, account status (is it blocked) etc.

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.

starchild
Grafter
Posts: 27
Thanks: 1
Registered: ‎12-01-2011

Re: SMTP outgoing emails stopped working

Great article @Townman - not only did I learn now to re-enable the telnet app on Windows 10, but it allowed me to validate the relay server address and confirm the "From" address. My initial tests are indeed showing that both the relay server addresses work as do both ports. As a matter of interest when I first started this investigation I had previously tried telnet'ing to port 25 with PuTTY but it just timed out with the following message:

421 avasout01 smtp ESMTP server temporarily not available (ET)

Anyway, I'm happy now that I have the Windows telnet client back!

There's no extra logging available in Homeseer (BTW I'm running Homeseer 2 which is now pretty old and quite limited in what it feeds back). I just don't understand why this suddenly stopped working a few months back without any Homeseer changes or updates. I've run out of time right now so will pick this up again tomorrow - and I guess might need to resort to sniffing the packets that I'm sending.

Townman
Superuser
Superuser
Posts: 19,677
Thanks: 8,027
Fixes: 94
Registered: ‎22-08-2007

Re: SMTP outgoing emails stopped working

Just had an odd thought - is there anything in the router logs hinting at the firewall blocking anything when you try to send emails from Homeseer?

Can you access Homeseer remotely?  That is, is the a proven connection between the hub and the outside world?

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.

starchild
Grafter
Posts: 27
Thanks: 1
Registered: ‎12-01-2011

Re: SMTP outgoing emails stopped working

Hi @Townman . So, now it's working!

I didn't change anything but Homeseer can, after several months of rejections, now happily send emails via either relay.plus.net or relay.free-online.net.

Maybe my post prompted someone from the Plusnet tech team to take a look and make a change...

Many thanks to those that responded. Although this community seems like a very helpful place, the staggeringly poor experience I had with Plusnet customer service, together with the shockingly poor reviews now being posted against Plusnet, has really made me think seriously about moving to a new ISP. Shame, as I've been with Free-online/Plusnet for around 16 years. I didn't even get a message back regarding my complaint that I raised against the service desk op.

Gandalf
Plusnet Help Team
Plusnet Help Team
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Registered: ‎21-04-2017

Re: SMTP outgoing emails stopped working

Hi @starchild 

Firstly sorry for the experience you've had via live chat, that's not what we'd expect as no matter the problem we should always be at least trying to assist unless the issue is obviously out of our remit which isn't the case here.

Unfortunately it's going to be difficult to find the chat as it doesn't look like the adviser had gone into your account. 

I can see you've raised a complaint ticket 191215827 online, we'll aim to reply to that within 5 working days starting from the point it was created. Having said that I'd be happy to look into this further, if you can remember would you be able to PM me the date/time and the agent's name in order to try and find the live chat you've had.

With regards to your email issue you've reported I can't see where we've reported this through to our network engineers for further investigation so it looks like whatever the issue was it has fixed itself, which is good.

If this post resolved your issue please click the 'This fixed my problem' button
 Anoush Mortazavi
 Plusnet Help Team
starchild
Grafter
Posts: 27
Thanks: 1
Registered: ‎12-01-2011

Re: SMTP outgoing emails stopped working

Thanks for your response @Gandalf .

Yes - it's telling that the agent didn't even bother to access my account and appeared to be there purely to say "nothing wrong here - must be you" to every caller.

My complaint has now been picked up but I'm afraid the damage is done now. No customer should be dealt with in this way - but especially loyal customers of many years standing. We don't even get any incentive to stay, so to be treated like an imbecile really rubs salt in the wounds!

Anyway, as far as the issue with email is concerned, it's now fixed.

Gandalf
Plusnet Help Team
Plusnet Help Team
Posts: 25,241
Thanks: 9,174
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Registered: ‎21-04-2017

Re: SMTP outgoing emails stopped working

Absolutely I agree and I’m really sorry again you’ve had a poor experience with a live chat adviser on this occasion.
Not in the office right now so I can’t see what’s been said or discussed with regards to your complaint ticket, however if you can remember please do feel free to PM me the details I’ve asked in my previous reply as this allow me to try to find the chat to read and ensure feedback is passed on accordingly where appropriate.
If this post resolved your issue please click the 'This fixed my problem' button
 Anoush Mortazavi
 Plusnet Help Team