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Secured SMTP communicaton - any chance to get SSL/TLS/STARTTLS support for relay.plusnet.com?

espinosa
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Registered: 09-12-2017

Secured SMTP communicaton - any chance to get SSL/TLS/STARTTLS support for relay.plusnet.com?

I use mostly webmails these days, but I still have an old email accounts from older days and I still use them, using Thunderbird and Android Email app. Receiving emails via IMAP is easy; problems start when I need to send an email. My old internet providers, including Virgin Media, all had secured SMTPs; that is sending credentials via secured channel - SSL, TLS or STARTTLS. Not so PlusNet Sad

I am appalled that PlusNet even suggests sending password through unsecured channel, like in this official (?) manual:
https://www.plus.net/help/archive/email/android-setup/ 
Don't do that! Especially if you occasionally connect through public WiFi, like in cafes and libraries. Very dangerous.

So what are options to get ISP independent SMTP server?
Who provides free/cheap alternative?

What do you use instead of Plusnet SMTP?

I even submit a question to a technical forum with more information, if anyone is interested:
https://superuser.com/questions/1276264/my-isp-does-not-provide-secured-smtp-server-what-are-my-opti...

Espinosa

16 REPLIES
Gel
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Re: Secured SMTP communicaton - any chance to get SSL/TLS/STARTTLS support for relay.plusnet.com?

Community Veteran
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Re: Secured SMTP communicaton - any chance to get SSL/TLS/STARTTLS support for relay.plusnet.com?

Long term forum members have being raising this issue with Plusnet since maybe 2004, and here we are 13 years later and no further forwards.

Plusnet don't consider email to be a core part of residential broadband packages, and upgrades or maintenance of non-core features simply never happens.  If you look through this forum over the past year, lots of people have complained about a variety of Plusnet email issues and tech support have done very little to fix the current issues, let alone add anything new like improved security.

It is also noticeable that in the past year, Plusnet support have almost entirely stopped responding to technical queries like yours, so my advice would be to save your energy on this topic, and get a properly designed and maintained email service from a provider such as 1and1

Cry

 

Moderator's note by Adie (Dvorak) removed referral part of link as it's against the forum rules

Superuser
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Re: Secured SMTP communicaton - any chance to get SSL/TLS/STARTTLS support for relay.plusnet.com?

I am appalled that PlusNet even suggests sending password through unsecured channel, like in this official (?) manual:
https://www.plus.net/help/archive/email/android-setup/ 
Don't do that! Especially if you occasionally connect through public WiFi, like in cafes and libraries. Very dangerous.

One trick that you can use to mitigate some of the risk, is to create a separate mailbox ( say smtp ) with it's own password and always use that for smtp authenticatication irrespective of which email account from which you are sending. OK, so you still have your accountname in clear text and it doesn't help with the problems collecting mail... 

rongtw
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Re: Secured SMTP communicaton - any chance to get SSL/TLS/STARTTLS support for relay.plusnet.com?

@Nibiru this is the reason why they dont want to fix it Sad  they hope customers will stop using it

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Kwak
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Re: Secured SMTP communicaton - any chance to get SSL/TLS/STARTTLS support for relay.plusnet.com?

Bump .. Why in 2018 are plusnet still expecting us to do pop/smtp without any security, so that if we logging on on say a bar or cafe or hotel or whatever wifi that might be compromised, you are giving them not only our email logon details but possibly our entire account logon credentials? I'm amazed that as time goes on we keep getting horror stories about internet security and told to do things properly, but a major ISP like plusnet isn't putting in what is a relatively basic measure to protect it's customers when they are trying to do email when not at home and forcing people to do things in a bad way? People have been asking for this for years, it's not a difficult or expensive thing to add and not rocket science! I was explaining to someone why I don't check emails on my phone and it's hardly showing plusnet in a good light! Here's someone 11 years ago asking for it: https://community.plus.net/t5/Broadband/Email-IMAP-POP3-and-SSL/td-p/474693
Superuser
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Re: Secured SMTP communicaton - any chance to get SSL/TLS/STARTTLS support for relay.plusnet.com?

For a single server it’s not rocket science ... however when there’s load balancer multiple servers and IP virtualisation it gets somewhat more complicated. There are also performance overheads!! None of which diminishes the desirability, but let’s not pretend it’s simple.
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Re: Secured SMTP communicaton - any chance to get SSL/TLS/STARTTLS support for relay.plusnet.com?

Any idea why the Plusnet SSL on SMTP trial that a select few users have had access to for at least a couple of years hasn't progressed to a general roll-out?

jelv (a.k.a Spoon Whittler)
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RPMozley
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Re: Secured SMTP communicaton - any chance to get SSL/TLS/STARTTLS support for relay.plusnet.com?

It probably won't take the load @jelv. I would guess there's only one server enabled.
That's RPM to you!!
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Re: Secured SMTP communicaton - any chance to get SSL/TLS/STARTTLS support for relay.plusnet.com?

But why after being trialled for years is it still only one server?

jelv (a.k.a Spoon Whittler)
   Why I have left Plusnet (warning: long post!)   
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Superuser
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Re: Secured SMTP communicaton - any chance to get SSL/TLS/STARTTLS support for relay.plusnet.com?

I don’t know the full nor precise details; I’m aware that there’s about a 10% performance hit and I suspect that multiple virtual servers behind load balancers causes complications with IP addresses being matched to security certificates.
Community Veteran
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Re: Secured SMTP communicaton - any chance to get SSL/TLS/STARTTLS support for relay.plusnet.com?

Many other ISPs have overcome that issue.

Plusnet are either technically not competent to provide a mail system to current standards (or even standards of some years ago), or they are not prepared to make the capital investment to put such a service in place.

jelv (a.k.a Spoon Whittler)
   Why I have left Plusnet (warning: long post!)   
Broadband: Andrews & Arnold Home::1 (FTTC 80/20)
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Mobile: iD mobile (£4/month)
RPMozley
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Re: Secured SMTP communicaton - any chance to get SSL/TLS/STARTTLS support for relay.plusnet.com?

The second option I think @jelv
That's RPM to you!!
rongtw
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Re: Secured SMTP communicaton - any chance to get SSL/TLS/STARTTLS support for relay.plusnet.com?

Yes i have been saying the same for ages ,Angry PN dont want to invest in their Webmail and hope customers get annoyed and move away from PN Webmail putting less load on their Aincent systems Lips are sealed

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wisty
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Re: Secured SMTP communicaton - any chance to get SSL/TLS/STARTTLS support for relay.plusnet.com?


wrote:

 

So what are options to get ISP independent SMTP server?
Who provides free/cheap alternative?


To answer the question you posed. 

The free solution is to sign up for a Gmail or Outlook.com account. Both will give you access to a secure SMTP server, SSL for reading mail as well as Webmail. 

The best option is to get yourself a domain and buy a low end mail service for it from a provider who offers secure SMTP. 

I personally use a small outfit in Scotland called Calico who charge me £36/year for domain registration (.net), mail services and some webspace. They have been very good and extremely reliable for the last 18 years (as long as I have had a domain).

Most of the main domain registrars will do something similar, and for about the same sort of money.

Plusnet - and most of the main retail ISP's - are not interested in E-mail any more. A major proportion of their customers now use Gmail or similar, because it works on their phone and tablet*. E-mail from an ISP is going the same way as webhosting, FTP and Usenet. It's fundamentally irrelevant to the majority of customers, so why would they want to spend money on providing it as a service - let alone invest in its development and enhancement.

 

 

* it would be interesting to know what proportion of customers still have a PC/laptop that is used regularly in comparison to the households that use Smartphones, Tablets, Games consoles, Set top boxes and gadgets like Amazon Echo and Google Home.