Y'all are a bunch of wankers!

Any way to find cause of undelivered email

There is someone that I can send email to, but whose email to me never arrives. I don't seem to have undeliverable email issues with anyone else. Is there any way to track down the cause of the undeliverable emails?

The other person (a relative of mine) and I both have personal domains for sending emails (not using any of the free email services). I can send emails to her without any problems, but when she sends emails to me, or replies to my emails, they never arrive. She does not receive any kind of bounce message or undeliverable-email message. I have searched the spam black lists for both her domain name and mine (by both name and IP address) and didn't find any entries. My email hosting provider claims that they are not filtering or blocking any emails (and I certainly get spam, which I filter at the client using POPFile).

I don't have any trouble getting email from anyone else (that I know of), and she can send emails to other people.
She can send emails to another relative of mine, who can forward them to me without any problems. (They are all in Australia, and I'm in the US, if that makes a difference.)

This problem has existed for more than a year, and neither of us has changed domain hosts for a long time, so the DNS entries everywhere should be stable and correct.

Any suggestions on what to look for or how to trace this type of problem?
Permalink Philip Dickerson 
March 23rd, 2005
Just keep troubleshooting...

Does the other person run their own outgoing SMTP server or do they send email via their ISP's?

If they don't use another SMTP server, see what happens when you do the SMTP conversation manually (telnet your.computers.ip.address 25)

If they do use their ISP's SMTP server, test SMTP anyway. Does the ISP's server accept the message?

Can you track down anyone else using your ISP or the other person's and see if they have similar problems? Or use them for testing.

Good luck. Looking at SMTP logs is the only way to tell what's going on, but that's tough to do unless you run your own incoming/outgoing server.
Permalink Ward 
March 23rd, 2005
If she's capable of using a command prompt, have her use nslookup to check/get the MX record for your domain:


Have her try to send to the mail exchanger using telnet (typing very carefully - backspaces probably won't be tolerated):


Be sure she sends the same from address that her email client is configured to send.

If that works then the problem is probably at her end. She needs to get with the owner of the SMTP server she uses or install her own to route around them. If there are errors or the message doesn't go through then I'd look closer at your end.
Permalink Doug 
March 23rd, 2005
Thanks for the suggestions. I'll try these out, but it may take several days (time zone differences, and relaying messages through another person, etc).
Permalink Philip Dickerson 
March 24th, 2005
I have run into this same problem at work. I place on-line orders through a system based on SAP. I always used to receive e-mail confirmations. Suddenly, about a year ago, I stopped receiving the confirmations. No amount of tinkering, changing addresses, etc. revealed the problem. Finally, we all just gave up, and I still don't receive confirmations from the vendor.
Permalink Siddhartha Vicious 
March 24th, 2005

This topic was orginally posted to the off-topic forum of the
Joel on Software discussion board.

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