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Problem receiving emails from AOL

Posted on 2011-09-15
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Last Modified: 2012-05-12
I have this issue with a user who uses AOL to email me, I do not have this issue with any other person. When they email us they get the following rejection email:


Deferred: Connection timed out with mail.xxx.com.
Message could not be delivered for 3 hours
Message will be deleted from queue

The exchange server was never offline for 3 hours

Any ideas?
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Question by:htabbach
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Expert Comment

by:scriven_j
ID: 36548374
Timeouts like this are usually a sign of some antispam product that is delaying receipt.

Particularly see problems like this with Yahoo and AOL accounts.

What antispam solution is there between you and the person (both on Exchange and on your mailhost?)
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Author Comment

by:htabbach
ID: 36551793
I do not know what they use on their end but we use GFIMailEssential
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Expert Comment

by:scriven_j
ID: 36552368
Ideally you want a copy of the deferred message so you can look at the header (post it here if you can) so you can figure out which mail server is actually causing the delay.

With delays, it is actually the sender that really needs to do the troubleshooting (i.e. report it to AOL) but there is some checking you can do your end.

For instance you can turn on SMTP logging on Exchange and GFI and use that to trace the messages.

You can also use SMTPDIAG to help you troubleshoot mailflow issues.

http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?id=11393

You can also turn on Exchange mailflow logging and use that and GFI logs / switchboard.

None of this will help if the delay is outside your organisation though, but if it is hitting GFI and then getting delayed there, you want to know about it.

A quick fix might be to whitelist the address which should take GFI out of the equation.

I would also use this site to check your mail configuration has no problems (reverse DNS missing etc) as this may make AOL view your mail server as suspicious which could cause delay errors, although you would normally expect to see delays the other way if this was the case.

Still better to have everything configured properly!

http://www.mxtoolbox.com/diagnostic.aspx

If you learn anything more about the problem, then let us know as this might shed some light on the situation.
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Author Comment

by:htabbach
ID: 36563990
Thanks for the reply, my wife has an AOL account and she can email me fine so I don't think we have an issue with AOL. Reverse DNS is setup correctly.
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Expert Comment

by:scriven_j
ID: 36565621
Did you try the whitelist suggestion?  Your wife is probably already whitelisted (manually or automatically) as I presume you send her messages quite frequently.
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Author Comment

by:htabbach
ID: 36568452
I completely disabled our spam filter system and he still had problems over the weekend sending us email, some went through, some did not with the same error message.
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Author Comment

by:htabbach
ID: 36568478
By the way, my wife never emails my work, this was the first or maybe second time she emails e from her AOL account to test.
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Expert Comment

by:scriven_j
ID: 36572938
Do you have a firewall?  Cisco Pix configuration can cause these symptoms:-

http://www.experts-exchange.com/Software/Server_Software/Email_Servers/Exchange/Q_26177300.html
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Expert Comment

by:scriven_j
ID: 36572957
(link also referrs to Sonicwall firewall)
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Author Comment

by:htabbach
ID: 36575626
Thank you for the link, I cannot find the SMTP fixup setting in my SonicWall
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Expert Comment

by:scriven_j
ID: 36577624
I think it is called SMTP Inspection.  Give me the model number and I'll try and find more detail.
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Author Comment

by:htabbach
ID: 36581275
Thank you, the model is: NSA 2400
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Accepted Solution

by:
scriven_j earned 500 total points
ID: 36581836
As outlined in this document:-

http://www.sonicwall.com/downloads/SonicWALL_NSA_2400_Getting_Started_Guide.pdf

From page 45:-

Go to Security Services, Gateway Anti-Virus.

In Enable Inbound Inspection, remove SMTP

From page 48:-

Go to Security Services, Anti-Spyware.

In Enable Inbound Inspection, remove SMTP

Save configuration.  Test.

** WARNING - DO NOT DO THIS IF YOU HAVE NO OTHER VIRUS DETECTION SOLUTION - THIS IS ONLY TO FIX THE CURRENT PROBLEM AS OUTLINED ABOVE AND I DO NOT RECOMMEND YOU DOING THIS IF IT IS THE ONLY LAYER OF PROTECTION FOR INBOUND EMAIL. ""

I suspect that this is probably in addition to your "normal" protection though and in that case, it's fine to turn it off (at the very least to test if that stops the above problem).
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Author Comment

by:htabbach
ID: 36582507
This may not be the cause for this issue, Gateway AV and Anti-Spam are not licensed on my firewall.
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Expert Comment

by:scriven_j
ID: 36587093
Are they definitely turned off though?
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