are my clients spamming

Posted on 2011-03-11
Last Modified: 2012-05-11
I am a web designer who offers hosting to my clients, all the accounts are on a shared server at hosygator. Recently some of my clients cannot receive my emails, and I am not spamming. Could the problem be related to  the domains on my shared account (I host about 20 domains with email addresses, and my domain is in the same account.) This is all getting so complicated, I just wanted to help out my clients and only charge them $5 a month to host their small business sites with very little traffic.
Question by:handsun123
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Author Comment

ID: 35107453
saw the typo - hostgator!
LVL 10

Expert Comment

ID: 35107605
Hi handsun123,

Unfortunately if one of your clients was spamming, then it is possible that your whole mail server could be blacklisted.

However, if it is not set-up properly (using an SPF record for instance) it could also be greylisted.

You could use a tool to see if you are on blacklists:-

Is there a particular domain that these users are on?  For instance Yahoo is quite quick to Greylist if not set-up properly....
LVL 10

Expert Comment

ID: 35107615
Might be worth talking to the IT people at places where your mail is not getting through to see why.

There are also diagnostics on the site I linked to to look at the set-up and identify problems:-

You should have an SPF record and reverse DNS configured for instance.....
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Author Comment

ID: 35107728
I had already run the first check and did the ping email and got this response, (Unknown)   was your outbound IP address.

but then I checked your second comment, on the first link the list for my domain is all "ok" with 3 timeouts,

and the spf lookup
      a            Pass      Match if IP has a DNS 'A' record in given domain
+      mx            Pass      Match if IP is one of the MX hosts for given domain name
+      include      Pass      The specified other domain is searched for an 'allow'.
~      all            SoftFail      Always matches. It goes at the end of your record.

The IT person at the business who cannot get my emails has not returned my call for over two weeks, so I am trying to take matters into my own hands because I saw a second email bounce back from another client a few days ago, first time ever: this was the message: (strange thing this had nothing to do with gmail?) (I put the XXXX in)

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: 550-Possible email abuse detected.  Please see
550 for details.

LVL 10

Expert Comment

ID: 35107946
qmail, not gmail!  This is an MTA (Mail Transport Agent) used for delivering Emails.  Nothing to do with Google!

Did you check the blacklist link I put in the first Email?

Although from looking at the link included in that response, it could just be mail that LOOKS suspicious.

I would follow the instructions included in the response to see if you can get the mail included.

If you have Gmail (or similar) yourself, it might be worth sending yourself a message and then checking the header which will have information about what happened when it was SPAM checked.

If you post the mail header here, we can have a look at it.....

Author Comment

ID: 35108175
  First of all THANK you so much for your honest and sincere help, second, I xxx'd out the first names just for security issues, probably already showing everything anyway with the numbers but what the heck, if I can clear this problem up here is the header in my gmail account (silly of me q for g!)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            
Received: by with SMTP id y4cs26688iba;
        Fri, 11 Mar 2011 04:50:44 -0800 (PST)
Received: by with SMTP id ew6mr6777558vdb.95.1299847844330;
        Fri, 11 Mar 2011 04:50:44 -0800 (PST)
Return-Path: <>
Received: from ([])
        by with SMTP id dw3si5444769vbb.9.2011.;
        Fri, 11 Mar 2011 04:50:43 -0800 (PST)
Received-SPF: pass ( domain of designates as permitted sender) client-ip=;
Authentication-Results:; spf=pass ( domain of designates as permitted sender)
Received: (qmail 26614 invoked from network); 11 Mar 2011 12:49:14 -0000
Received: from (
  by with SMTP; 11 Mar 2011 12:49:14 -0000
Received: from [] (port=51950 helo=[])
      by with esmtpsa (TLSv1:AES256-SHA:256)
      (Exim 4.69)
      (envelope-from <>)
      id 1Py1nm-00008J-8E
      for; Fri, 11 Mar 2011 06:50:42 -0600
Message-ID: <>
Date: Fri, 11 Mar 2011 07:50:39 -0500
From:xxxxxxn <>
User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 6.1; en-US; rv: Gecko/20110303 Lightning/1.0b2 Thunderbird/3.1.9
MIME-Version: 1.0
Subject: checking
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1; format=flowed
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
X-AntiAbuse: This header was added to track abuse, please include it with any abuse report
X-AntiAbuse: Primary Hostname -
X-AntiAbuse: Original Domain -
X-AntiAbuse: Originator/Caller UID/GID - [47 12] / [47 12]
X-AntiAbuse: Sender Address Domain -

LVL 10

Expert Comment

ID: 35108973
OK - I got the IP address from that header and ran it through the Blacklist checker and it shows as being on a couple of blacklists.

Here are the blacklist positives:-

If you follow those links, they should give you information about getting them removed, however, if the source of the problem is not identified / resolved, you will find that you just get blacklisted again.

I would talk to Hostgator about how to identify which domains the Spam is originating from.  I would probably start with a letter to all your clients though outlining the problem and informing them that this affects all your clients and that you are investigating the problem.  This might be enough to scare them into stopping.
LVL 10

Accepted Solution

scriven_j earned 500 total points
ID: 35109016
A bit more from the above links:-


Problem Entries, (listings will cause email problems.)
2 "Spam" entries [Latest: 09:53:08 25 Aug 2010 GMT+10].    
Spam Cannibal

Received: from
( [])
  by with ESMTP id n72DAInA032457
  for <>; Sun, 02 Aug 2009 06:10:39 -0700
Received: (qmail 31795 invoked from network); 2 Aug 2009 13:17:47 -
Received: from (
  by with SMTP; 2 Aug 2009 13:17:47 -
Received: from fotoaz by with local (Exim
      (envelope-from <>)
      id 1MXapN-0005rE-Fm
      for; Sun, 02 Aug 2009 08:10:17 -0500
X-PHP-Script: www.foto.azecard.php for
Date: Sun, 2 Aug 2009 08:10:17 -0500
From: MaryamParker <>
Message-ID: <>
X-Priority: 3
X-Mailer: PHPMailer [version 1.72]
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: multipart/alternative;
X-AntiAbuse: This header was added to track abuse, please include it
with any abuse report
X-AntiAbuse: Primary Hostname -
X-AntiAbuse: Original Domain -
X-AntiAbuse: Originator/Caller UID/GID - [32903 1405] / [47 12]
X-AntiAbuse: Sender Address Domain -

There might be something here that gives you a clue....

Author Closing Comment

ID: 35109238
Thanks again so much I will look into the complaints, I do not recognize anything in the email, but I might need to host my own domain in a separate account just to be sure my clients actions do not affect me. Oh more trouble that I would like to deal with at this point in time!
LVL 10

Expert Comment

ID: 35109577
If you don't recognise anything in those headers, I would definitely run it past Hostgator, it might be another one of their users or something they are able to help you with.  Once the problem is identified / resolved you can ask to be removed from blacklists.  I would exhaust those options before doing anything drastic as it looks like the Spam in question was quite old (9 months ago) and so it might be worth asking to be removed anyway as this is quite old and might be something historic.

Author Comment

ID: 35111061
I will call hostgator, thanks again!

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