Manual VPS - PHP mail() and PEAR smtp taking a long time, sending three emails

I was running a website on a shared hosting account.  Part of this website involved sending a lot of messages via PHP mail().  Unfortunately, all shared hosting providers I could find had a cap on how many emails could be sent per hour.

So, I decided to get a VPS.  I am cheap, so I thought I would get an unmanaged one with cpanel.  Everything is fine and dandy, I have everything up and running.  The only problem I have, is that every message sent by php mail takes about 30 seconds to send.  Not only that, but it sends it three times.  The same thing happens when I send via the PEAR SMTP package.  Takes about 30 seconds, and sends three times.

It could be a DNS issue, I had no idea how to set it up, so I guessed:
A-type: @ smsalertsonline.com 174.36.99.28
A-type: www.smsalertsonline.com 174.36.99.28
MX entry: @ smsalertsonline.com - Mailer-server: smsalertsonline.com

Any ideas?  Any other info you need?
rom109Asked:
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pete-mcpeteyConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Your asking 3 different questions. Please open a new thread for cPanel DNS Resolvers and for Mail Queuing. I don't believe these 3 problems are related.
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rom109Author Commented:
In case it is helpful, I am running a Linux, CentOS box with Cpanel:
/etc/hosts:
127.0.0.1 localhost.localdomain localhost server1.smsalertsonline.com
# Auto-generated hostname. Please do not remove this comment.
174.36.99.28 server1.smsalertsonline.com web  server1 smsalertsonline.com

/etc/resolv.conf:
nameserver 4.2.2.1
nameserver 4.2.2.2
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pete-mcpeteyCommented:
You will want to determine if this is an issue with the mail server (exim) or with PHP/Apache.
Can you start by sending a unique message, and then displaying the mail logs? For example, if you put "foo@bar.com" as the recipient, you can run this SSH command to find the relevant logs. Thanks.

after submitting the form, grep for the email address you used:
# cat /var/log/maillog | grep "foo@bar.com"
(please let us know what results you receive).
# cat /var/log/exim_mainlog | grep "foo@bar.com"

Let us know the results of the logs (if there are 3 entries, most likely this is PHP submitting the form 3 times).
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pete-mcpeteyCommented:
Also, what email client are you using? For example, there was a problem with Outlook duplicating the message. If you use the webmail to check the mail, does that also show triplicate messages?

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/885870
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rom109Author Commented:
Pete, you were right, the triplicate messages were just an outlook bug that has since been fixed.  But the long wait on sendmail is still a problem.

When I use php mail() to send a message to "foo@bar.com", /var/log/maillog has no mention of foo@bar.com, and exim_mainlog just says "2011-02-16 12:27:41 1Ppm5r-0008IF-7Q ** foo@bar.com R=fail_remote_domains: The mail server could not deliver mail to foo@bar.com.  The account or domain may not exist, they may be blacklisted, or missing the proper dns entries."

And it took 27 seconds to send.  Could I just have a slow server?  Is that a normal wait time?
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rom109Author Commented:
I noticed also that I keep changing /etc/resolv.conf to my nameservers, but they keep changing back to 4.2.2.1 and 4.2.2.2.  Could this slow things down?  How can I  get it to stay as my nameservers?
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rom109Author Commented:
Also when I SMTP to a different server (that sends fine on its own) it still takes about 30 seconds.  So perhaps the problem isn't sendmail, but an email setting somewhere?
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