dreamhoststatus.com doesn’t show anything current regarding email, but I seem to be experiencing some pretty huge delay’s. Is anyone else noticing this?
I’ve opened 2 tickets with support but they haven’t responded. One ticket had headers attached showing 12 hours of delay, the other was just to report my test email sent from a dreamhost webmail account to outside dreamhost had not been received 4 hours later.
I opened a support ticket and included 2 sets of email headers, I thought showing that email was being delayed by a bottleneck within dreamhost.
The first set of headers was dreamhost origin, and Comcast recipient. The second set of headers was email output from a script running on my dreamhost webserver to a dreamhost mail account, which was also delayed.
Support finally responded to my ticket and told me:
The funny thing about it is, that reply was not blocked or delayed on my Comcast account and was received immediately, essentially at the same time it was sent (taking into account timezone corrections of course). No mention was made of a second set of email headers I had sent showing a from dreamhost to dreamhost scenario.
I replied to the ticket, and when the second reply came it was much more complete. It showed lines pasted from the outbound mail log and explained that with example 1 (Comcast) there was an attempt to send that Comcast refused, then later the mail server tried again and succeeded.
The explanation for the dreamhost to dreamhost scenario was more vague and I in fact still don’t understand (and have questioned further, but they haven’t yet replied).
Now I did understand one thing however, and that was the problem that I thought was a more global network bottleneck was actually 2 separate more isolated problems.
I remembered the Dreamhoststatus.com post about the TrendMicro RBL and read it again, but was confused, because until this past weekend, I didn’t have problems with dreamhost -> Comcast emails. In fact, I previously tested it without problem after reading some of the comments under that post.
Next I picked up the phone and called a contact in the Comcast Corporate Office in Philly that I had met previously at a conference in San Francisco a few years ago. My contact previously worked in the “president’s office customer service” dept (I’m not sure that’s what they actually call the dept, but that’s the function). Being a holiday, which I had forgotten, I got voicemail. He in fact returned my call from his cellphone a few minutes later. He remembered me, we exchanged pleasantries etc., and then I got to the point of my call.
It turns out his job function has changed and he was unwilling to get involved directly due to corporate politics at One Comcast Way (the address of the corporate office in Philly) and his change in job function. He did however spend about 30 minutes talking to me in an informative way about the problem, and how Comcast handles such issues, which is very much automated and without too much human intervention. Users report SPAM and the knowledge is used to create an automated IP by IP or sometimes host by host reputation system. He further said, even if he was willing to get involved in that depts functions there was little that would be done anyway because today it’s a much automated system. The message was that it’s fairly industry standard that the sending servers admins must monitor and control spam output and if they become blocked it is the sending admin’s responsibility to get unblocked, and that in the case of Comcast and many other providers case that was now thru the use of responding to automated warning and using online tools for Mail admin.
He in fact told me that he didn’t believe that Comcast used the TrendMicro RBL directly, but it was possible that indirectly a block may be picked up there by vendors Comcast did use directly. He pointed me to http://postmaster.comcast.net/index.html for additional information, which also includes links for Mail Server admins, to use for blocklist removal or even more importantly to sign up for Comcast’s Feedback loop, an automated service to prevent such blocks in the first place. He also specifically mentioned this very informative FAQ http://postmaster.comcast.net/avoidblocks.html
On further discussion I asked about conditional blocks, or why some mail seemed to be getting though while other mail did not or was delayed. At that point he shifted gears and said that didn’t sound like a block and asked if it was an Exchange Server. I told him it was not. He explained there was something new they were doing that he didn’t know very much about, DNSSEC which can produce intermittent delivery issues on improperly configured Exchange Servers, and that in fact they had documented an Exchange Server setting that needed to be changed as a result of DNSSEC implementation. (read the top right column on http://postmaster.comcast.net/index.html ) He apologized but said he was out of the loop on the topic and did not know if there was an equivalent change needed on *nix servers. He also pointed out what’s stated on the page that he referred to, Comcast is one of the first major carriers to implement DNSSEC, but many more would be following soon.
I spent another half hour after we hung up reading various parts of http://postmaster.comcast.com and then wrote this post. That’s what I’ve learned, I’m much more informed than I was 24 hours ago. But the question remains whether Dreamhost is in fact enrolled in the Comcast FBL program and/or whether DNSSEC is part of the cause of this issue.
I’m so glad to hear that someone else is having a problem between Dreamhost and Comcast. I’ve gotten about the same response from support in that they are telling me that it’s not Dreamhost’s problem. And when I try to contact Comcast, I get absolutely no help at all because they say that I’m not a subscriber and I can’t do anything.
I’m, however, not seeing so much (or at least I’m not hearing about this from Comcast subscribers) regarding regular email that I send to them. But, I’m using the Announce list feature of Dreamhost in order to send out to a mailing list each day of the week. And I’ve found that of all my subscribers to that list, it’s the Comcast addresses that either don’t get the mailing at all or it’s delayed by days or weeks. The only thing I’ve been able to suggest to those Comcast subscribers is to get a gmail address which they can use for the mailing list subscription. But, obviously, people aren’t going to get a new address for one mailing list that can’t get to them.
So, I read with great interest what you discovered. But my hopes fell when I got to the end of your post and you implied that there wasn’t a solution found yet.
So I’m putting in my two-cents worth and urging Dreamhost or someone to look into this problem. I sure would like to have a viable solution rather than hearing from my subscribers that they aren’t getting their mailing list subscription.
Since I wrote the posts above dreamhost has really done quite alot to cleanse their email reputation with other providers, including Comcast.
I’ve read something somewhere recently, it’s in the back of my head, about some of the dreamhost listserv IP’s still being blacklisted, I’ve been searching for it so I can link it here but unfortunately I can’t seem to find it.
Thanks for the response. I’ve really gone as far as I know to go in trying to resolve this issue for my subscribers. It’s just so frustrating to know that I’m using Dreamhost’s own announce list with it’s stringent opt in policy and still I’m having Comcast addresses being a problem. Dreamhost has told me that according to the records, the announce list emails are being sent and aren’t being bounced back. Well, I know that. But the questions are: where are they? And why aren’t my subscribers getting them? And it seems that those question are doomed to remain unanswered.
If you know how to read full email headers to determine the originating IP, take one of your emails that you received via the list and check using a tool such as: http://www.mxtoolbox.com/blacklists.aspx
I had a comcast get bounced back to me today so i filed a support ticket.
I got a quick repsonse - looks like DH is trying in earnest to take care of this…
2 emails from them actually here they are…
First I want to explain the contact form email delays. There was an
issue earlier today on the mail relay server that handles all mail from
your webserver. The problem was resolved, but email backlogs take much
longer to clear out than they do to pile up, so the delays are ongoing
while the backlog of delayed mail is processed and delivered. You can
follow the status of this situation in our status blog: http://www.dreamhoststatus.com/2012/05/22/delay-in-sending-email-from-web-servers/
Now, about Comcast. Unfortunately, the bounced email you sent in was
caused by a “mail block”; Comcast’s mail servers are blocking all emails
sent from an IP address used by one of our mail servers. We do care
about this immensely, and have a Mail Block team that works on these
issues constantly. Our Mail Blocks Team is in discussion with Comcast
with regard to this, and we are hopeful we can prevail upon them to
remove the block soon. What you can do to help is send in those bounced
emails by opening a new support ticket in the DreamHost panel and sending
in the full text of the bounced email that was sent to you, just like you
did here. Our Mail Block team will use that information in their efforts
to have the mail block removed. I am going to leave this ticket open and
give it to our Mail Block team.
If you have any other questions or issues, please let us know, we’re
always happy to help!
This is just a notification that your message has been moved to our mail blocks queue. This queue is information that our abuse staff uses to determine who is blocking us, why we are being blocked, and at around what time period we are being blocked. Your ticket will be used for information purposes only in helping us get the block removed. You may not receive a response, but you will be instrumental in helping us get this issue resolved faster. Thank you for your mail block report.
There’s no need for a new thread about the same issue, and it’s good to see that others are having problems too with email delays.
I’ve been having problems for several weeks with incoming emails being delayed by around 6-9 hours from a wide variety of domains. In the original ticket I submitted a few weeks ago, I included the full header from one delayed email for demonstration, and the response was that it was a Yahoo issue. When I replied that this was not isolated to Yahoo accounts, the response was to blame it on DH having inadequate equipment for providing a proper mail service.
I submitted another ticket earlier today, after a flurry of delayed emails arrived 7 hours late, and I’m yet to receive a response.
These are work-related email accounts for a short-term project, so delayed emails are causing some major problems. Just a shame that Dreamhost doesn’t feel that way too!