The e-mail system was unable to deliver the message... but only on certain addresses.

Posted on 2007-03-29
Last Modified: 2008-04-15
A user is complaining that she cannot send email to a few people.  I have noticed that the two email addresses we are having problems sending to are using Juno and Netzero. (not sure if that makes a difference)

We host our own Exchange 2003 server on our network, and can send and receive email to and from various accounts.  (both internal and external)

There are only a few people having this issue, and we have tried sending email to this user from various internal addresses on the same Exchange server, and from a gmail account.  Only the email sent from gmail was received by the address that is causing us trouble.

The complete error message is:

"The following recipient(s) could not be reached:

      ***** on 3/28/2007 2:54 PM
            The e-mail system was unable to deliver the message, but did not report a specific reason.  Check the address and try again.  If it still fails, contact your system administrator.
            < ****.*****.org #4.0.0 X-Spam-Firewall; connect to[]:    server refused mail service>"

Exchange 2003 running on Windows Server 2003 SP2 Standard
Question by:OneSeventeen
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LVL 104

Expert Comment

ID: 18818604
The server is refusing your message.
Put your domain in to and see if it flags any errors.


Author Comment

ID: 18819322
the two mail issues are:

1: Fail: Connect to mail servers
"mail servers      ERROR: I could not complete a connection to one or more of your mailservers: The mailserver terminated the connection before the transaction was complete (state 1). This is not RFC compliant, and therefore either due to an error, or it may be the result of a non-RFC-compliant mailserver or non-RFC-compliant anti-spam program."


2: Warn: SPF Record
"Your domain does not have an SPF record. This means that spammers can easily send out E-mail that looks like it came from your domain, which can make your domain look bad (if the recipient thinks you really sent it), and can cost you money (when people complain to you, rather than the spammer). You may want to add an SPF record ASAP, as 01 Oct 2004 was the target date for domains to have SPF records in place (Hotmail, for example, started checking SPF records on 01 Oct 2004)."

Could either of these be the culprit?
LVL 104

Expert Comment

ID: 18820157
SPF record not too bothered about.

The first error is classic firewall interference. You also have two MX records - the one that is working doesn't look like it is an Exchange server answering. Does your email come in through a different server?

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Author Comment

ID: 18853019
The email all comes in through a spam firewall first.
LVL 104

Accepted Solution

Sembee earned 500 total points
ID: 18856418
In that case you need to look at the firewall configuration. If the firewall is misbehaving with inbound connections then you will be unable to email certain ISPs and other large email sites because it will fail their antispam techniques.


Author Comment

ID: 19298453
Apparently it is intentional to have the spam firewall be the only mail server that responds to requests.  The problem was with the spam firewall.  (We just resolved the issue 2 days ago)

Our spam firewall blocks mail servers that send large quantities of mail in a short period of time... including our internal one.  When a department decided to send out a mass email to the outside world our spam firewall marked us as spam and blocked us from sending mail.  We have whitelisted our sever and will be monitoring it for abuse.

Thanks for the troubleshooting tips though.

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