Please don't stop Catch-all


#1

I use email Catch-all forwarding on many of my domains everyday, please don’t stop them.

If you do so, please allow us a few weeks before stopping this service to get this elsewhere.

Thanks.


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#2

Does your catch-all forward to a regular DreamHost email address? If so they are not going to stop those.
If your catch-all forwards to non-DreamHost addresses would it be possible for you to set up alias addresses and then forward those to your non-DreamHost addresses? Then you could switch off your catch-alls if you wanted to.


Norm

Opinions are my own views and are not the views of DreamHost.
Any advice offered by me should be acted upon only at your own risk.


#3

i agree. i either need more time to change all of my email addresses on my various sites, blog, etc, or this needs to be reconsidered.

this is a major problem. i cant believe that aol’s insane activity is causing this kind of reaction by dreamhost.

i spend most of my time at work, and i dont have access to POP email, so i’ve set up my gmail account to handle 3 different domain emails as well as a gmail account. now i need to get to more than one email site to check my email, my notifiers are useless, geh.

cant we just stop forwarding spam from dreamhost? is this a problem with dreamhost’s spam filter? why is it forwarding spam? does aol need to change the way it blacklists ip addresses on spam? do we give a s*** about aol, who is starting to charge for email anyway?

i’m really angry about this, obviously. i’m mad at spam, mad at aol, but i’d rather not be mad at dreamhost, even tho i completely understand that this isnt dreamhost’s fault. this still really sucks. i mean, it REALLY sucks.


#4

DITTO

I use catch-all to avoid spam. Setting up specific email addresses I want to use, any other sent to my domain is bounced using a catch all address.

This has eliminated almost all spam to my domains.

Bill Blank


#5

Yeah. I’m not very happy about this either.

I think my e-mail configuration unwittingly contained a loophole around DreamHost’s plans, but rather than continue to exploit it, I have modified my setup to comply with DreamHost’s wishes. My catch-all mail stays on DreamHost and (yech) SquirrelMail now.

Still, I think this is a poorly-thought-out “solution.” The problem they’re trying to address is not going to be eliminated by this decision. It can only be eliminated by eliminating all spam everywhere, and that’s not going to happen until the day someone invents a viable alternative to the current Internet e-mail system.


#6

"i cant believe that aol’s insane activity is causing this kind of reaction by dreamhost. "

this ISN’T just AOL, it’s also Comcast, GoDaddy and especially SpamCop

if changing this helps the 200+ thousand dreamhost customers use their email then i am all for disabling catch-alls to an outside address.

“cant we just stop forwarding spam from dreamhost? is this a problem with dreamhost’s spam filter? why is it forwarding spam?”

no you can’t just stop forwarding spam from dreamhost, fowarded mail is not filtered. if you set up and alias to forward mail how is dreamhost supposed to know what is spam and what isn’t - if there was a system that could do that there would no longer be any spam.


#7

I use my own Spamassassin install, not Dreamhost’s so I could be mistaken here, but I think forwarding takes place before filtering filtering by Spamassassin. I have one address set up to forward to a gmail account as well as remaining on the server for me to download, and I’m pretty sure I’ve seen spam turn up at that gmail account that was caught by spamassassin.

But also the spam filter isn’t mandatory (and I’d sure as hell leave any web host that forced me to use a particular spam filter instead of letting me run my own!) so even if I’m wrong about that, the spam filtering doesn’t apply to everyone.


#8

I use catch-all to avoid spam. Setting up specific email addresses I want to use, any other sent to my domain is bounced using a catch all address. This has eliminated almost all spam to my domains.

This doesn’t make any sense. A catch-all address, by definition, accepts all mail sent to your domain. This is the exact opposite of what you would do if you want mail to invalid addresses to bounce, which is the normal behavior.

The problem they’re trying to address is not going to be eliminated by this decision.

Actually, it will probably help quite a bit.

Catch-all addresses result in a huge amount of spam, enough that DH finds it problematic to filter (which is why you can’t enable filtering on domains with a catch-all address). Now imagine that all this spam is being forwarded to AOL, who has a policy of blocking the last hop mail server in reported spam. The result is a pile of spam going to some AOL user, who then reports it to AOL by clicking their “this is spam” button. The last mail server the mail went through is the DH server that forwarded it all, so that server is then blocked. Reducing the amount of spam forwarded from DH servers to other ISPs will reduce the likelihood of DH servers being blocked.


If you want useful replies, ask smart questions.


#9

so then, the problem is with aol, comcast, etc., and the way they blacklist emails identified as spam. only, instead of solving that problem, we are simply disabling a major feature of web email.

this is like the terrorists winning. :-/

i’m being dramatic, i know. but having to start using squirrelmail for my domain emails, when i have everything tagged and sorted and saved and directed to my gmail account, makes dreamhost suddenly drastically less desirable than it used to be. and considering i’m still paying what i was paying 5 years ago for this hosting, i guess i have to examine my hosting options.


#10

having to start using squirrelmail for my domain emails, when i have everything tagged and sorted and saved and directed to my gmail account, makes dreamhost suddenly drastically less desirable than it used to be.

You can still forward mail off-network, just not mail collected by a catch-all address. Set up individual forwarding addresses and get rid of the catch-all and you won’t have a problem.


If you want useful replies, ask smart questions.


#11

Don’t use catch all.

I am a bit confused, why are so many people using catch-all, what is the point, unless they give out a different email everytime someone asks and don’t bother to set up an alias?


#12

ok, so i can still forward all my domain email addys to my gmail acct automatically?

if theres one thing i hate, it’s jumping to conclusions, especially when i do it. i might need to ask smarter questions.

this just means that i cant continue to use "anyname@mydomain.com" as an email addy that forwards to a real doman email, that then gets forwarded out?

seriously, i apologize for my misuse and misunderstanding of terms. i did email support first, and i thought they confirmed what i was thinking on this.


#13

No. The problem is with spammers. Although the major ISPs and spam services have rather draconian measures, they are simply trying to protect their users.

Let me give you an example. I register domains with the email address of domains@jessey.net. About one out of every thousand emails I get through that address is legitimate, and the rest are spam. If I set that address to forward to AOL, my AOL address would get several hundred items of spam each week (from just that one address).

Now consider what would happen if I also forwarded all my email from my webmaster/postmaster/whatever addresses, from all my domains, to that same AOL account (which is what happens with a catch-all). My AOL account would receive almost all of my spam (something in the order of 500 items per day across all of the domains I manage). Now multiply that by thousands of DreamHost customers. It is no wonder that AOL has a hissy fit.

That is why forwarding the catch-all to any ISP is a bad idea. Learn to handle your own spam, folks!


Simon Jessey | Keystone Websites
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#14

Well it has worked for years. I only get email to the specific email addresses I have set up. All else bounces which I have tested.

Bill


#15

That is another problem with having a catch-all. When email is sent to a catch-all and is bounced then the receiving server has to use resources in creating, looking up and sending bounce mail.

If you had no catch-all set up then the calling server would be rejected by the DreamHost server at the connecting stage. The sending server has the problem of what to do with the spam since it has received a fatal error message from the receiving server it cannot store it for later sending so it has to reject it back to the sender. So the sending server has to fork out the resources not the relieved recipient. Sometimes this has a real knock-on effect depending on the client used by the sender (aka Mr Spammer) who can be rejected whilst online trying to send his/her spam.

When you send those bounces back then normally the sending address is going to be bogus or has been set to forward elsewhere. If AOL/YAHOO et al have been chosen to forward these bounces to then the AOL/YAHOO software will drill down the message/bounce and will blacklist every IP shown.

I can understand a need for a catch-all if it is a legacy address which would expect numerous legal emails and where it would be time consuming to set up the alias list.

In principle I am against catch-alls but if you asked me if I had one I would have to stick my hand up and say yes. But I am lazy and just have not gotten around to doing the aliases yet. :slight_smile:

But I do use the delete without bounce option rather than just banging it back and using resources. I think that must be akin to re-cyling your newspapers. :stuck_out_tongue:


Norm

Opinions are my own views and not the views of DreamHost. :open_mouth:
Any advice offered by me should be acted upon at your own risk.


#16

Maybe dreamhost can add another service to email. A way to create all of your aliases in one fell swoop to forward to your main email account. so you could just list them like you do in adding htaccess

but, maybe they should wait until they get all the other kinks worked out.

I personally just create the aliases, as they really don’t take that long to create.


#17

You can sort of do that already with the bulk email creation option. I just need something that will poke about the email stored on various computers and printed documents to see what weird and wonderfu aliases I have been using. You can guarantee that if I miss one out it will be a vital one.


Norm

Opinions are my own views and not the views of DreamHost. :open_mouth:
Any advice offered by me should be acted upon at your own risk.


#18

This policy change was not considered lightly.

Ultimately, we had to consider the rather large number of people who were heavily inconvenienced by the blocks that have been put in place against us - not to mention the unfair ‘spammer friendly’ reputation we risk obtaining even though we’re anything but (we eat actual spammers for breakfast here at DreamHost - they stay crunchy with milk).

We recognize that forwarding of catch-alls to outside services is of utility for some customers, but the inconvenience caused by them going away is significantly less than that caused by (say) not having your email delivered at all because AOL, Comcast, etc. have blocked you. Slightly lessened mail flexibility is better than no mail functionality.

Really, the Internet is a vastly different place than it was when we first implemented catch-all forwarding. Spam makes up the majority of email traffic by this point, and many of the big name providers have set up (with varying degrees of well-implementedness - I’m looking at you, AOL!) strict blocking policies. We have to take that into account.

We tried subscribing to AOL’s feedback loop, warning regular offenders and selectively disabling the worst of them, but even that was of limited use. We even had some people rather loudly yell at us for daring to tell them not to report spam “that DreamHost sent to them” (AOL users…).

So, after a few years of this and some gnashing of teeth, we finally came to the conclusion that we had to go to the next step.

FYI: I actually quite like catch-alls myself, and use them for anti-spam purposes (I give out tagged addresses, to track and block offenders). I don’t forward that mail to outside providers, however, and never really understood the impetus for such a feature for most cases.

  • Jeff @ DreamHost
  • DH Discussion Forum Admin

#19

It takes time to setup an alias, and if I’m registering at a website, it’s nice to be able to make up an address on the spot. (I think DH has improved things such that creating an alias doesn’t take as long as it used to, but it still requires manual configuration.)

I used to have a catch-all on my primary domain, but a few months ago I turned that off because of a couple of small attacks. Instead, I created a subdomain and turned the catch-all on for that.


#20

I think you’re missing the point of why someone said it didn’t make sense. Of course the way you have it set up works – but if you deleted the catch-alls, it would work equally well. Basically, what you’ve done is created catch-alls to do exactly what would already happen if you hadn’t created them – make nonexistent addresses bounce. They would bounce anyway, even without your catch-alls, because that’s what undefined addresses do.

Clearer now?

Lynna

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