mail not reaching recipient

Posted on 2010-11-08
Last Modified: 2012-06-22
Hello all,

We have web page sending e-mail to registered users,
From time to time mail is not reaching recipients, and there is no returning mail.
Usually is happens on "yahoo" kind addresses. We already contacted yahoo, but they say they don't block anything.

Anyway I guess there is some kind of black-list / spam block. Information regards user activation data - no spam;)

Now does anyone knows some practices on how to send such emails?
We are using HTML format with activation link.

I've also heard that sending mail 2'nd time may help? any advises?
Question by:kheim2008
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LVL 97

Expert Comment

ID: 34090557
There are various reasons why user do not receive emails.  The email may be going to Junk folder.  Yahoo has a pretty strong spam filtering system. It depends on how strong the recipient set it on his account.

Server could be temporarily down when you send the message. You may need to send the message again.
LVL 40

Expert Comment

ID: 34090904
Also do you send the mail to a local mail server that then transmits it, or do you try to deliver directly from php or likewise cgi environement.
LVL 40

Expert Comment

ID: 34090909
The latter may loose mail more easily that the firstone does..
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Author Comment

ID: 34090919
"Also do you send the mail to a local mail server that then transmits it,  or do you try to deliver directly from php or likewise cgi  environement."

We do use relay
LVL 40

Accepted Solution

noci earned 375 total points
ID: 34090991
In that case I would blame the yahoo spam filter.
You could try to verify your mail logs for those mails to see if yahoo did accept them.

To work around the issue is more complex i'm afraid. Maybox non HTML mails are easier to send then HTML mails? There's a myriad ways how spam fighting is done, if there was only one way to do it, spammers would work around that too.

Author Comment

ID: 34091113
Ok, thanks, what about the following case:

We are receiving failure response from yahoo server: error 554 (no such mailbox)
Then we try to send email manually from our mail box (no relay) and email is delivered

Author Comment

ID: 34091117
exact error is:
  Remote host said: 554 delivery error: dd This user doesn't have a account  
LVL 11

Expert Comment

ID: 34091136
syntax error in address ? cut & paste failure response here

Author Comment

ID: 34091222
It looks like this:

Hi. This is the qmail-send program at
I'm afraid I wasn't able to deliver your message to the following addresses.
This is a permanent error; I've given up. Sorry it didn't work out.

<>: failed after I sent the message.
Remote host said: 554 delivery error: dd This user doesn't have a account ( [-5] -

--- Below this line is a copy of the message.

Return-Path: <>
Return-Path: <>
Received: from [] (HELO  by [] with SMTP (IdeaSmtpServer v0.70)  id 5fc8d1874b2c0eb2; Mon, 8 Nov 2010 23:08:31 +0100
Received: from mail pickup service by with Microsoft SMTPSVC;
     Mon, 8 Nov 2010 23:08:00 +0100
MIME-Version: 1.0
From: "My Web page support" <>
Date: 8 Nov 2010 23:07:59 +0100
Subject: =?utf-8?B?TWVjaCBIZXJvOiBBY2NvdW50IGFjdGl2YXRpb24=?=
Content-Type: text/html; charset=utf-8
Content-Transfer-Encoding: base64
Message-ID: <>
X-OriginalArrivalTime: 08 Nov 2010 22:08:00.0081 (UTC) FILETIME=[67EDBC10:01CB7F91]

LVL 40

Assisted Solution

noci earned 375 total points
ID: 34092393
It's this little fragment: failed after I sent the message

The data transfer has been done... All SMTP transfers are paterned like:

MAIL FROM: <sender info>
RCPT TO: <recepient info>
... (as many as needed ... )
message content...

(with status reply in between).
So if an address is disagreeable then that can be noticed with the RCPT TO: (mostly it is checked there..., according to the RFC's
this is THE way to verify if an address is agreeable, by not sending a message at this stage) YMMV because spammers forced a lot
of RFC rules out of order.
The occurrence of the error after the message transfer might imply that the contents isn't liked by the receiving server.
AFAICT from the snippet, at least the mandatory fields like From, To, Date & subject are available.
The FROM & TO do agree with the one in the SMTP protocol (MAIL & RCPT commands above?)
Have you tried feeding your mail to spamassassin to see what score it gets?
Have you tried sending NON-HTML mail without utf-8 subject, but just plain ascii stuff?

LVL 11

Assisted Solution

yarwell earned 125 total points
ID: 34119062
an example yahoo bounce message that may help :-

Received: by with SMTP id w10mr2770023wbt.19; Fri, 12 Nov 2010
 01:26:11 -0800 (PST)
From: Mail Delivery Subsystem <>
Subject: Delivery Status Notification (Failure)
Message-ID: <>
Date: Fri, 12 Nov 2010 09:26:11 +0000
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1
Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable

Delivery to the following recipient failed permanently:

Technical details of permanent failure:=20
Google tried to deliver your message, but it was rejected by the recipient =
domain. We recommend contacting the other email provider for further inform=
ation about the cause of this error. The error that the other server return=
ed was: 554 554 delivery error: dd This user doesn't have a accou=
nt ( [0] - (sta=
te 18).

----- Original message -----

MIME-Version: 1.0
Received: by with SMTP id w10mr2088763wbt.19.1289553969477;
 Fri, 12 Nov 2010 01:26:09 -0800 (PST)
Received: by with HTTP; Fri, 12 Nov 2010 01:26:09 -0800 (PST=
Date: Fri, 12 Nov 2010 09:26:09 +0000
Message-ID: <
Subject: test massage
From: me
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=3DISO-8859-1
LVL 40

Assisted Solution

noci earned 375 total points
ID: 34125372
Ok searching for some more info, which gave me the following info:

For instance, Yahoo often returns the following if the
recipient email address does not exist on the Yahoo
systems : “554 delivery error: This user doesn't have a account”. Another typical Yahoo SMTP Error
554 reply is : “554 delivery error: Sorry your message to
<Email-Address> cannot be delivered. This account has
been disabled or discontinued”.

So this is yahoo's method of telling you that the account doesn't exist.
it's a bit late, but allas a fact of life.
The official 554 message, "Transaction Failed" is a generic one meaning this server cannot handle this message for whatever reason. Better errors do exist in the case of a missing /bad address though.

Author Comment

ID: 34168347
thank you all for the answers, we have implemented DKIM signing - we will see how it goes now ...

Author Closing Comment

ID: 34174653
it did not solve all of the issues

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