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CNAME lookup failure

Posted on 2010-11-09
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Last Modified: 2012-05-10
Hi experts,

I've set up a website and e-mail account for a client on Go Daddy. The client has started getting failure notices on e-mails he's sent. He's mad and wants me to fix it. I need help understanding the error.

Here's the error:

Hi. This is the qmail-send program at xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx.
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.

<xxxxxx@xxxxx.com>:
CNAME lookup failed temporarily. (#4.4.3)
I'm not going to try again; this message has been in the queue too long.

Here are my questions. What exactly is a CNAME lookup failure? Is it the fault of the mailserver of the person my client is sending TO or is it the fault of the Go Daddy mail server I've set up for my client? If it's Go Daddy's fault, how can I encourage them to fix it?
Lastly, the failure notices are arriving to my client days after he sends the e-mail. If it's going to fail, is there a way to get Go Daddy to deliver a failure message sooner?

Any and all help appreciated!

Thanks.
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Question by:mrhparis
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Expert Comment

by:ratstud
ID: 34094511
CNAME lookup failure has to do with the DNS entry of the person your client is sending to.... meaning that the the DNS server of the person your client is sending to is probably configured incorrectly.
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ConanUK earned 500 total points
ID: 34094635
A CNAME is basically an Alias DNS record that points to another dns record.

Is your client using Webmail or has his GoDaddy account been configured in Outlook? If so, is he using the GoDaddy STMP servers?

Does it happen only on certain email addresses?

If you are using there SMTP servers I would simply forward on a copy of the email you've had to GoDaddy support so you can have something in writing for your client.

If you are not the host of the SMTP server then I would say that this is a recipient side issue if their DNS records or servers are down or misconfigured though if you can, try another SMTP host and resend through that. If you get the same error then it's a safe bet it's recipient side and therefore out of you hands!

The failure notices are from the SMTP server, the time for the failure notices is configured there and again, out of your control (unless you host the SMTP server, in which case it could be a DNS issue on your SMTP server)...

Summary: If you host the SMTP server, probably a DNS issue with it. If you do not host it, then there's probably little you can do other than notify the parties involved.
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Author Closing Comment

by:mrhparis
ID: 34095525
Thanks so much for the response.

To answer your questions, the client is using webmail, not Outlook. And it's only happening on e-mails sent to certain domains.
I contacted GoDaddy and they are sure that the issue is with the recipient. (Of course, what else would you expect them to say?) But, at least I understand the issue a bit better now. Thanks for that !
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