mail server c ommunication problem

Posted on 2006-11-17
Last Modified: 2010-03-18
We are using a windows 2003 server with around 8 XP workstations. We are not using exchange server, and the outlook 2000 clients collect mail directly from our mail server. The problem we have is that the mail server seems to keep disappearing.

The outlook client reports an error, and when we then try and ping the mail server, it just times out. When the connection is working OK, we can ping the mail server OK.

Has anyone got any ideas as to why this should be happening?

Our broadband connection is OK, ie we can access the internet OK. Our website and mail server are hosted by a different company to the ISP, ie our website is not hosted by the ISP who we connect to the Internet through. They tell me that we have a shared IP address for our website, so when we enter the assigned IP address, we do not get our website, only generic web page for their company.

I have tried to collect mail, using a connection away from our site, and this seems to work OK.

In addition, we cannot use the www. prefix with our own domain name, as it produces the dreaded "page cannot be displayed" web page. If we enter without it, it works fine. This only happens with our domain name, no other sites have a problem.

I mention this as I thought the 2 may be related.

Any help you can give would be appreciated.
Question by:nigelbeatson
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Author Comment

ID: 17967308
In addition, I have just been checking this out from home, using a totally different connection, and again I cannot ping, but responds just fine. I thought it could be a local DNS issue, but does this show that it is a problem with our external host server?
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Expert Comment

by:Keith Alabaster
ID: 17967623

put in and look at the full report. At the bottom it will report on the state of your mailserver(s)


Author Comment

ID: 17968224
I have done as you suggested and got a "server failure" when we entered our mail server address. I presume this means what it says and the server is not recognised or available.

Any ideas on the www prefix when entering our domain name into a browser? As the server is the same location as the mail server, do you think the problems are linked?

When I enter our domain name into the dnsreport slot, we get several erors. Some ar OK but several are red and describe an error.

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Expert Comment

by:Keith Alabaster
ID: 17968273
On the screen I sent you to put in the entry on the left hand side and just put in the domain name  ie exclude the www or ,ail part in the front. Is this the option you chose?

Do you host your own dns or is this done by your ISP?
go to and do an nslookup for, does it return the IP address (probably will be equal to the ip address you get for when you ping it.
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Expert Comment

by:Keith Alabaster
ID: 17968279
Do you want to tell me your domain?
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Expert Comment

ID: 17968683
When you ping, do you get timeouts or a "host cannot be located" error?  If the name resolves to an IP address but your pings time out, make sure the IP address that was resolved is the correct one.  If you get "host not found," then it sounds like the DNS server that's authoritative for doesn't have a host record for "www" in that domain's forward lookup zone.

Author Comment

ID: 17969755
The domain name in question is and our mail server is

We do host our own dns on a windows 2003 server, however I am currently working from home, and get the same kind of problems here.

I have run several of the reports suggested and several errors are listed. One said that www.dolphin-sheffield is actually

When we run the dns lookup, we get an IP address, but when we enter this in a browser, we get a generic web page from our website host. They inform me that we have a shared IP address.

When I first wrote, I could ping our mail server and our domain name (minus the www part), as I write now, neither are available. We get the "Host not found" error.

Things are so unstable, do you think it is our website host who is the root cause here. I know they have had problems with their name servers, and they tell me the IP address for our site has also been changed.

Author Comment

ID: 17970739
That should read "One said that is actually"
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Accepted Solution

Keith Alabaster earned 500 total points
ID: 17970945
OK. The MX record (for mail) points to your IP ( but you do not have an A (host) record for www so it goes to your domain by default when it looks up the part of the name.

Yes, you need to speak to the web site host/ISP. If they have made changes of this nature it can take up to seven days for the new info to propagate around the Internet so that everyone is aware of it and picks up the new information.

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Expert Comment

by:Keith Alabaster
ID: 17980263
Thanks :)

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