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Exchange unable to receive email

Hi All,

We are running SBS 2003 with exchange 2003

The problem I am experiencing is as follows:

our company domain name is handled by our isp and they have set up the MX record to point to our exchange server with the failover pointing to one of their servers which we pop every 15 mins to collect any mail that has not made it through our own server (i.e. server turned off, rebooting).

As well as handling our main company domain, the isp also handle the domain of our sister company, the sister company is operationg on pop3 email on individual machines collected from our isp.

If an email is sent from the sister company (or indeed any email address handled by this isp, i have some personal domains there) the email is only collected when the pop3 box at the isp is contacted, and not collected by our own exchange server even if the email address is correct to an individual as in AD.

email sent by anyone else comes straight to our exchange server, even if it is sent to anything@ (this mail would be forwarded to the email address assigned all undilivered mail to go to mailbox keith.lees)

I am sure that this must be a simple setup issue on our exchange server but am unable to find the source of the problem.

Any ideas?

Keith.
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kalees
Asked:
kalees
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1 Solution
 
SembeeCommented:
It isn't your Exchange server at fault.
The problem is with the ISP. When the message hits the ISPs server, it is using the local information to deliver the email message to the mailbox because their server recognises the account as being local. You need to get your ISP to look at their settings to see how email is being delivered.

Based on that, I am surprised the ISP setup this facility or didn't warn you that it would happen.

Is is also something that I would not have done for a number of reasons:

1. I am not too bothered about email being undeliverable during a system reboot. The only type of email that tries once and then gives up is spam. Everyone else will try and deliver email messages for 48 hours before giving up.
In the event of a server failure, 48 hours is more than enough time to get something else in place for email delivery.

2. Most email that is coming in via the alternative connection will be spam. Spammers like to send email to higher value MX records as they have found that those often have less spam protection than the primary.

3. I don't trust ISPs mail servers. I have had too many occasions where the ISP has either swallowed the email and it has gone, or the email has got stuck on one of their servers for weeks on end (six weeks is my current record) before being delivered.

4. You cannot use any of the connection filtering tools to deal with spam. You have to accept the emails coming in from the POP3 provider rather than bouncing them back.

Simon.
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kaleesAuthor Commented:
Simon,

I hear what you are saying and will email support tomorrow with a link to this post. What would you ultimately advise, no failover? Or for the failover to be configured differently?

Many thanks for the prompt response,

Keith
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SembeeCommented:
My preference has been no fail-over. If the investment has been made in Exchange and having email delivered by SMTP, then you should keep control over your email.

If you want to provide some kind of quick fail over option for later use, then consider the dynamic DNS option.

The dynamic DNS trick is something that I have started doing in the past couple of months.
You setup a dynamic DNS account with someone like dyndns.org. Create a host and set it to be static and enter in the IP address of your current Exchange server.
Then configure a new MX record with a higher value using the new dynamic DNS address as the host.

This will give you something like this:

domain.com   MX preference = 10, mail exchanger = mail.domain.com
domain.com   MX preference = 20, mail exchanger = host.dyndns.org

A dynamic DNS address change is live on the Internet in less than 20 minutes. Therefore if the primary server goes down, you can redirect the email to another server - perhaps a server at the ISP or a server that you have control over. If it is just the internet connection that is down, change the IP status to dynamic, install a dynamic DNS client on the Exchange server and dial up to the internet. Email can then come in through the alternative connection.
You don't have to wait for the DNS changes to be replicated around the internet, because YOUR DNS is not changing - all that is changing is the IP address registered to the host (which changes very quickly).

This gets round the problem of spammers using the higher MX value to deliver their email because all the messages are actually being delivered to the same physical server. This method does cause the DNS purest to complain, but it doesn't do any harm to the internet and provides a higher level of service.

Simon.
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kaleesAuthor Commented:
Simon,

I have taken your advice and only have our exchange server set up to receive email (mx record), however, i now have the problem where the sister company mails me and i do not recieve it at all, could this be to do with setting up host records?

Keith
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SembeeCommented:
You need to get the other company to test their DNS to see if they are getting the correct results. If you have only just made the change then they may not be using the latest information.

Trying to diagnose a problem with email from the receiving end is almost impossible. This is something that they need to look at and then provide you with more symptoms rather than just saying that the email isn't going through.

Simon.
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kaleesAuthor Commented:
Many thanks simon,

The mail was being treated as local

just need to sort out a catchall for unresolved mail now.

Keith
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