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smtp not working for metronet account

latchy9
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Posts: 12
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Registered: ‎17-08-2020

smtp not working for metronet account

I've recently started getting send failures from outlook and when I test the profile, I get...

 

Send test email message: Your email server rejected your login. Verify your user name and password for this account in Account Settings.

 

I've been to the metronet portal and reset my password.  Incoming mail works fine (and always did) but I'm concerned that there might be a different password for SMTP.

 

Interestingly, when I send from the web portal, emails go out fine.  Any ideas?

19 REPLIES 19
Townman
Superuser
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Re: smtp not working for metronet account

Hi @latchy9 

A warm welcome to the forums.

"Verify your user name and password for this account in Account Settings"

Do not believe that what your email client tells you is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.  You are using a metronet email account, so there is a reasonable possibility that you are not a Plusnet ISP user and therefore your attempt to access the SMTP server is from outside of the Plusnet IP address range.

The fact that you can read your mails, to me suggests that your current IP address has (by someone else) been identified by Cloud Mark as source of SPAM and therefore has been black-balled.  In such circumstances the SMTP server will refuse access AFTER authentication has been completed ... but most email clients do not have the "intelligence" to recognise the difference between an authentication failure and an IP access barred prohibition.

You could try...

  1. Find out your external IP address - Google whatsmyipaddress
  2. Power down your router for 90 minutes
  3. Power up the router
  4. Find your IP address - if it is the same, then repeat (2) for longer
  5. If it is different try to send an email and see what happens

The following diagnostic process will affirm why the SMTP logon is failing...

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.

 

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latchy9
Dabbler
Posts: 12
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Registered: ‎17-08-2020

Re: smtp not working for metronet account

535 ...authentication rejected.

 

Your idea was interesting as I did change ISP a couple of weeks ago.

 

I do have this nagging doubt that there was a different password for the SMTP server than the incoming mail server though...

 

By the way, thanks for the detailed answer!

 

Townman
Superuser
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Re: smtp not working for metronet account

That is the error code I received when I did a test with a known to be bad password.

When I did a test on a bad IP address I saw a distinctly different error message.

@JW is it possible for the SMTP server to be accessing incorrect authentication details please?

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.

JW
Plusnet Staff
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Re: smtp not working for metronet account

I've asked someone with access to check, and they can see a number of rejected login requests, yesterday and today, that were caused by poor IP reputation rather than incorrect details. There's been a small number of incorrect password rejections, which is possibly from manual testing.

As for how it all works, all authentication is handled in the same place no matter what you're trying to log in through. So the webmail client is the same as collecting in outlook which is the same as sending in outlook.

 Jon W
 Plusnet
latchy9
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Re: smtp not working for metronet account

That's really odd as sending from webmail works with no problem.  Is it possible that the IP address from the webmail is somehow different to the address used by my local outlook client?

I'll leave my router off overnight and retest tomorrow (with hopefully a new public ip!).  I'll update either way...

latchy9
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Registered: ‎17-08-2020

Re: smtp not working for metronet account

I had a brainwave and connected via my mobile hotspot and hey presto, my send problems have disappeared!

 

It looks as though the ip address I had been allocated by my broadband provider must have been blacklisted.

 

I'll reconnect to my broadband shortly and update all with the position.

latchy9
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Registered: ‎17-08-2020

Re: smtp not working for metronet account

Still get the send error when connected to my broadand!

 

It looks as though the ip address has not renewed.  I'll have to contact my isp and ask for a new address....

Townman
Superuser
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Re: smtp not working for metronet account


@latchy9 wrote:

It looks as though the ip address I had been allocated by my broadband provider must have been blacklisted.


In which case, I suspect that when you did the base64 encoding on the Telnet SMTP test, the copy and paste must have picked up an additional character, thereby creating an authentication rejected message.  Such could be verified by re-running the Telnet test via your mobile hot spot.

Good piece of diagnostic work there Watson!

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
Superuser
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Re: smtp not working for metronet account

The error response you should see here is...

535 ...authentication rejected as source IP has a poor reputation

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.

latchy9
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Re: smtp not working for metronet account

So... This problem seems to be getting worse not better. 

535 ...authentication rejected as source IP has a poor reputation

 

I was getting around this by hotspotting my phone when sending email which is hardly convenient but at least worked.  I'm now getting the same message when I hotspot from my phone (o2) whereas my main 4g broadband through Vodafone almost never works.

I have two email accounts with metronet, one uses POP3 and the other is IMAP and they both get the same issue.

Is it possible to improve the reputation of the IP from your end?  I'm assuming that it's the range as I have changed the ip address from my end?

As it stands, I cannot reliably send email through metronet from either account on either provider.

Townman
Superuser
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Re: smtp not working for metronet account

This is a SMTP (sending server) issue, not at all related to IMAP and POP3 inbound configuration.

There is nothing Plusnet can do to improve the sending iP address’s reputation, as at sometime a user has abused it.

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latchy9
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Re: smtp not working for metronet account

I agree it's SMTP related, I made the point about IMAP and POP3 to demonstrate that it wasn't quota related. 

 

I'm finding it hard to believe that Plusnet cannot fix this as surely there is an option to whitelist IP's in just the same way that they can be blacklisted.

Townman
Superuser
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Re: smtp not working for metronet account

Of course there is a means of white-listing known to be safe IP addresses.  Clearly this (dynamic) one is known to be not safe - that's why it black-listed.

It is down to the owner of the IP address to get their act cleaned up and then clear the IP address's reputation with the black-listing services.  (Note that it is not Plusnet who black-list any individual IP address, that is done by third parties - see IP Address Blacklist Check (whatismyipaddress.com)

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.

latchy9
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Re: smtp not working for metronet account

I've attached the output which shows just one entry.  If I'm being blocked because a single (uncontactable!) blacklist has my ip from somewhere, that seems excessively harsh.  It also doesn't explain why I'm having the same issue when hotspotting from my phone on a completely different network nor why the reputation hasn't improved on the single instance in the six months I've been struggling with this.  I can hardly be spamming if I can't send anything!