Emails to AOL are being bounced back!


i’m about to submit a support ticket but i was wondering if anyone else is having this problem. i just had a client call me (who has an email account on a dreamhost hosted domain) to tell me that her emails to AOL addresses are being bounced back to her. while i was on the phone with her i noticed that an email that i had sent to someone with an AOL address was bounced back to me… seems like AOL is either blocking all emails generated from the dreamhost mail server our sites are on ( or are blocking all mail coming from dreamhost.

this is the message in the bounced email:

This is the Postfix program at host

I’m sorry to have to inform you that the message returned
below could not be delivered to one or more destinations.

For further assistance, please send mail to

If you do so, please include this problem report. You can
delete your own text from the message returned below.

The Postfix program host[] said: 554-:
(ISP:B2) 554
Reporting-MTA: dns;
Arrival-Date: Wed, 17 May 2006 08:10:38 -0700 (PDT)

Final-Recipient: rfc822;
Action: failed
Status: 5.0.0
Diagnostic-Code: X-Postfix; host[] said:
554-: (ISP:B2) 554

the link provided in the bounce email:

says this:

Error 554 ISP:B2

554 ISP:B2

The IP address on your ISP’s network has generated a high volume of mail to AOL and has exceeded our rate limit. Possible causes include a compromised or virus-infected personal computer or a non-disclosed server relaying mail within the ISP’s network.

Please contact your ISP for assistance in securing your computer or have them Contact AOL to alert us to the addition of this mail relay.

If you need additional information please Contact Us.

anyone else having mail sent to AOL address bounced back?


I’ve already submitted a ticket on this issue. DreamHost are trying to get on to AOL’s white list, apparently.

Simon Jessey | Keystone Websites
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I bet AOL will try to blackmail Dreamhost into singing up for the “premium” services to guarantee delivery of the emails.

This is why I hate AOL’s new “anti-spam” methods. It’s blackmail if they so wish too.

yerba# rm -rf /etc


And I hope DH does NOT pay any fees for e-mail delivery. The more people pay the fee, the more the practice will be set in stone- considered acceptable. Ridiculous. Might be best just to warn recipients on AOL, Hotmail, etc. that they might not get certain messages on those “services.” It’s ultimately their choice where they receive e-mail.



qfe. I’m all for making a business profitable, but AOL, Hotmail… ignored spam for so long that we know they don’t really care about how it effects people. They are now just using it as another exploit to bring in the cash. They really are exploiting this issue to be profitable. They are the ambulance chasers of the internet.


Wow, AOL is a greedy giant…

I used to work for a credit-counseling company that got black-listed for sending automatic quarterly newsletters to its clients. Don’t think they ever got it worked out…


AOL actually ask for cash to guarantee the delivery of emails to their customers? I would have thought that what ever fees the customers are paying would have covered any costs incurred.

It sounds like a blatant grab for cash to me.


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It’s unlikely that DH would consider paying a fee for purely financial reasons. How would it recover that cost?

But even if it was willing to pay, the way the program works would make it difficult for DH to participate. As I understand it, a company cannot simply pay to bypass AOL’s spam filters. It has to also become certified as a legitimate email sender and agree to certain email practices. For DH to participate, it would have to get it’s customers certified and I don’t see DH wanting to take on the headache of doing that.


Is it possible that a working SPF would help here?


#10 :wink:

Allegations they are censoring “Email tax” opponents:
Don’t know how much is true. Doubtful, however, if it’s true, they are not the first ISP to do this – Another ISP (forget who exactly) was found guilty of it once before.

chell has the best advice. Your best bet is to inform uses of Hotmail and AOL that due to issues with their email services, they may not receive emails. Or you can just deny any AOL or Hotmail address due to “issues with their system.”

yerba# rm -rf /etc


Probably not. A passing SPF check is not a good indicator of a legitimate message; it turns out a lot of spammers have valid SPF records. A failing SPF check, however, can be an indicator of spam. (As well as an indicator of a dumb spammer, of which there are many.)

SPF is more useful in limiting the damage caused by a spammer using your domain as the return address in a spam campaign.


Good Point! Just one of many reasons I would like to see Dreamhost get SPF properly implemented.


It looks like his mail was bounced because a rate limit was exceeded.

I believe the “Buy your way into the inbox” scam they’re running is just to avoid the junk folder–not bounces.

Hosts should never pay that, but I’d love to see the large spammers buy their way into AOL inboxes. The only ones that deserve to suffer from AOL’s decisions are the users that aren’t smart enough to switch to a better ISP.

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yeah but what rate limit? not mine, it was one of maybe 6 total emails i have sent to AOL addresses in the last week. this is a larger issue. AOL has put a limit on all mail coming from dreamhost… this is from support:

“It would seem that DreamHost customers are generating too high a volume of email to AOL customers. AOL throttles us after a certain point. It’s possible that this is due to spam-related issues, and we’re investigating

now, can someone PLEASE explain to me the point of having so far they have completely ignored this issue… and it’s a BIG issue.


It says from the IP, so that could be any number of people.

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#16 is for system wide outages. this is happening on just one particular mail server at this time. Although, it isn’t happening on one of the mail servers I am on at this time, but it has before.

I agree it is a high priority.

I have always felt that dreamhost should ban users from forwarding emails to aol accounts. I have a client who used to have me forward thier emails from some forms we have online to them. They were using the “this is scam mail” button due to all of the mail they get that is not from the forms and dreamhost contacted me about what they were doing. I asked my customers to start using thier real domain emails but they wanted to just keep using aol. So, I have all of the forms going to one email on my machine and check it every morning, and just send them the real ones. Which is a royal pain.

It isn’t so much dreamhosts fault as it is AOLs. If the email forwarding process could have some sort of way to show the originator’s email, along with the forwarding emailers (dh) info, it might make it easier…but that would just make AOL have to do more work…and I doubt they want to do any work at all.

just ranting…sorry…but as for the, it is only when the entire group of email servers busts…or the whole datacenter goes down…or a ddos is hitting…etc.


any estimate on when this problem will be fixed?


i’m still waiting for it to be fixed… an easy fix would be to use another IP for this particular email server…

i hope it’s fixed soon.


unfortunatly that’s not an easy fix for dreamhost. They can’t just click the settings on the modem to rester for a new IP address. It address is assinged and part of a logical order and such, it’s a lot of work to get a box a new IP.

–Matttail - personal website


that, and it’s likely a blocklist - meaning a blacklist for an IP block. So DH would have to go and purchase a new IP block to have IPs that aren’t rejected.