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Domain name MX record to bypass Plusnet's email service

snozboz
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Registered: ‎27-07-2007

Domain name MX record to bypass Plusnet's email service

Hello there.

Due to ongoing issues with Plusnet's email service, including new instances of a "false positive" spam filter problem I've written about before, I want to stop using Plusnet's email service.

I pay for my own domain name, burches.co.uk from uk2.net.  The DNS settings for this domain name are set to Plusnet's DNS servers - and Plusnet host this domain name (on my Mum's Plusnet account, for free, for historical reasons).  Up until now, Plusnet have been providing my Mum and me with email services and web-hosting services (through hostopia on the ccgi. subdomain) - all using my own domain name; as a result no-one knows or can see the "real" email accounts/addresses (my Mum uses Gmail for her email (currently collecting via POP3 from mail.plus.net and sending via SMTP through relay.plus.net), while my email is forwarded to my own Plusnet account) and "real" web URL.

I would like to keep my own domain name www.burches.co.uk pointing to the Plusnet ccgi. website.

uk2.net, who I pay for my domain name registration, offer 5 mail forwarding addresses which would normally be in operation if the DNS settings were uk2 DNS servers and not Plusnet's ones.  Alternatively, they say I can leave the DNS set to Plusnet, but change the MX record to be:

  • PRIORITY = 10
  • HOST = burches.co.uk
  • GOES TO = mx.burches.co.uk.cust.a.hostedemail.com
  • TTL = 86400 (1 Day)

If I could use the uk2.net mail forwarding, I could forward email addresses @burches.co.uk to an email account for my Mum (her gmail address) and for me (probably my iCloud address).  Then, by setting the "from" address in both those places to be the email address @burches.co.uk would other people continue to be none-the-wiser?

I have therefore added an MX record as follows from the Plusnet portal.  Will this work, and will it achieve my goals? (www.burches.co.uk continuing to point to the Plusnet Hostopia ccgi. site, and email @burches.co.uk using the uk2.net forwarding and avoiding Plusnet's email service)?

Screen Shot 2018-04-28 at 17.31.55.png

12 REPLIES 12
spraxyt
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Re: Domain name MX record to bypass Plusnet's email service

Those configuration settings and DNS records look OK to me and I'd expect them to do what you want. The right hand side of the new MX record points to an A record that resolves. The Plusnet control panel doesn't allow you to set TTL but that shouldn't matter.

David
Gandalf
Plusnet Help Team
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Re: Domain name MX record to bypass Plusnet's email service

Hi there, thanks for contacting us via Twitter.

As per my response over there, I've raised a task with the appropriate team to investigate this.

We should have an update within 3 working days.

If this post resolved your issue please click the 'This fixed my problem' button
 Anoush Mortazavi
 Plusnet Help Team
snozboz
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Registered: ‎27-07-2007

Re: Domain name MX record to bypass Plusnet's email service

Thanks David/spraxyt.  Unfortunately, once I'd implemented the MX record above, emails to the domain name addresses started bouncing with a permanent delivery error 550 "Address or domain has been blocked by recipient" coming from Plusnet server names.  So I removed the MX record I had added, and changed the setting back to "POP3 I wish to collect my mail using POP3" as it had been.  But reverting back to a previously working state hasn't got rid of the error: "550 Address or domain has been blocked by recipient" from Plusnet server names. As Anoush/Gandalf alluded to in his post, I reported this to Plusnet via twitter (and eventually chat when it was available) - ticket/question #173461133.

spraxyt
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Re: Domain name MX record to bypass Plusnet's email service


@snozboz wrote:

... once I'd implemented the MX record above, emails to the domain name addresses started bouncing with a permanent delivery error 550 "Address or domain has been blocked by recipient" coming from Plusnet server names.


Sorry to hear this happened. Sad

Did this error start as soon as you submitted the change request, or when Plusnet DNS update processed it after midnight?

David
snozboz
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Re: Domain name MX record to bypass Plusnet's email service


@spraxyt wrote:

Did this error start as soon as you submitted the change request, or when Plusnet DNS update processed it after midnight?


Hmmm, not sure. I think I was expecting it to take a while, having changed things on the portal, for the DNS settings to be applied and disseminated to the necessary servers.  So I think I probably didn't send a test email for a while - so things may or may not have been fine before midnight, I just don't know.  Sorry if this would have been helpful information for you.

snozboz
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Re: Domain name MX record to bypass Plusnet's email service

It has just occurred to me that I could change the DNS settings at uk2.net away from the Plusnet ones and back to the uk2.net DNS servers - then the uk2.net email forwards would kick in, and my Mum and I would have working email addresses again.  The downside would be that uk2.net charge extra for proper web forwarding, and their free web forwarding solution is to enclose the website in an IFRAME - so (unless I paid extra) our Plusnet/hostopia hosted website wouldn't have sensible URLs that changed to correspond to different pages, and potentially the site could "break out" of the IFRAME and visitors would see the ugly and long URL beginning http://ccgi. But email is probably more important to us than our website, so we might be able to live with it - whereas living without people being able to email us on the addresses they know for up to 3 working days is much more of an annoyance.

However, if I did this, would it hamper Plusnet's investigation into what went wrong? So if I treated the above solution as a temporary fix, would I ever find out from Plusnet if I could ever return the DNS settings to be Plusnet's DNS servers WITH my proposed MX record and have things work as I would like?

 

spraxyt
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Re: Domain name MX record to bypass Plusnet's email service

The information on whether submitting the DNS change on the portal immediately broke email would have been useful knowledge in case a similar question comes up in future - but I can find the answer by asking Plusnet staff.

Whilst I didn't put this in my original reply I expected the change you made would either work, or do nothing (because account settings we can't see override that control panel); I hadn't expected the current problem. If I had I would have suggested making it mid week when operations staff are more readily available. Perhaps the moral here is not to change anything DNS related at weekends.

Whilst you have been advised of up to 3 working days to fix the problem my hope is it will be earlier in that period.

My suggestion on your "temporary" solution is not to follow that route. It seems like being in a pothole at the moment then digging leading to a sewer collapse and a really big hole. It might take 24 hours for the Name Server change to take effect and propagate. You would need to confirm with Plusnet that you would be able to reinstate hosting afterwards.

David
spraxyt
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Re: Domain name MX record to bypass Plusnet's email service

@snozboz While looking through spam settings for an unconnected matter I was reminded that there is a setting there to "block all incoming email to this domain".

EmailBlock.png

If you select your domain in the Choose domain option, does the "Block" checkbox show as selected? If so could you try deselecting it, then scroll to the bottom and click Update settings?

David
snozboz
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Re: Domain name MX record to bypass Plusnet's email service

Good thought @spraxyt - thank you.  I'm fairly confident that that tick box had NOT been ticked prior to my MX record change, while it was ticked for my <username>.plus.com "domain" and my other Plusnet registered & hosted domain (which I don't do anything with currently).  But I've just looked as you suggested, and it WAS ticked for the domain in question, meaning it was  ticked for all my domains.  So I've unticked it and got the following notice that it may take 30 minutes to take effect:

Screen Shot 2018-04-30 at 15.58.01.png

Fingers crossed this sorts it and gets me back to my previously working state.

snozboz
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Re: Domain name MX record to bypass Plusnet's email service

OK, everything is now back to the previously working state. Phew! Smiley

Now, how do I achieve my original goal?  I want to end up with my UK2 domain name (burches.co.uk) pointing to my Plusnet/hostopia website, and email addresses @burches.co.uk to avoid Plusnet's email system entirely for sending AND receiving.

A wrinkle I didn't discover until now, is that iCloud email does not allow one to send messages with a "From" address that isn't @icloud.com or @me.com So I have to decide where I want my email to live.  I don't want to use Gmail (because I don't want my emails used by Google as data for advertisers - if I'm not a paying customer, then I'm the product they sell to advertisers), though my Mum is happy to do so.  I'm contemplating buying some hosting from a third party.

Rather than attempt an MX record addition again to use the UK2 mail forwarders, does using Plusnet's "Manage my Mail" redirects mean that emails redirected (somewhere other than Plusnet) bypass Plusnet's email service entirely?

 

spraxyt
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Re: Domain name MX record to bypass Plusnet's email service

I'm pleased to hear your email is working again. This provides more time for careful thoughts. Smiley

Using redirects as mentioned in your final paragraph won't avoid the Plusnet servers but since spam filtering seems to be the problem would that matter if spam filtering was turned off?

You can't turn off outbound spam filtering so would need to use an alternative relay service. Do you have a viable one that permits any valid sender domain.

David
bobpullen
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Re: Domain name MX record to bypass Plusnet's email service

Couple of options as I see it.

1. Add the MX record as you originally tried to do, but try leaving the left-hand field blank.

2. Change the name servers to uk2.net, use their mail facilities, and set up the existing Hostopia A record with uk2.net. Whilst not really supported, you'll still be able to forward to your Hostopia webspace from uk2.net.

 

Bob Pullen
Plusnet Product Team
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