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How to set up formmailphp for a split service

Posted on 2013-02-02
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Last Modified: 2013-02-07
I have a client with split Internet service - web at NewTek and MX at Earthlink?Robust Solutions. The formmail script is on a Newtek server under domain name magnolia.com. One of the mail boxes to receive the distributed form mail is name@themagnolia.com. I have tried 4 ways to configure the script;

1. Setting up an alias email account, request, on the local NewTek mail server and assigning the form mail to several addresses - most having different domains the themagnolia.com. These results in all the non-themagnolia.com email boxes successfully receiving the form mail. The name@themagnolia.com mail gets bounced and never delivered because the mail server looks locally and cannot find since it isn't there.  Partial success.

2. Basically the same set up as 1, except the smtp server is moved from the standard shared server to a gateway server. The gateway server should not look for local authentication and send all the mail including name@themagnolia.com. At least, that's my theory the results aren't in yet.

3. Within the script, assign the smtp server to an Earthlink mail server. This is still in the themagnolia.com domain space (split MX) but the real mailbox for name@themagnolia.com does exist here. Testing this approach results in the Earthlink mail server requesting user name and password to authenticate. The formmailphp script does not contain the ability to pass credentials to this (foreign) email server. So failure here.

4. Same basic setup as 1 except I deleted name@themagnolia.com from the distribution list and added a rely mailbox which I opened at gmail.  I set the gmail mailbox to automatically forward to name@themagnolia.com and auto delete the message. This was a complete success, but it loses serious style points.

My questions are: Does anyone see a better way? Can I modify any of the above to work better? Solution 2 seems the cleanest, is there a reason this wouldn't work?

Sorry about the long preamble. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Name@themagnolia.com is my client, of course, and very interested in getting form mail.
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Question by:dlearman1
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TomRScott earned 500 total points
ID: 38846324
#2 looks good on the face of it. I would test it and report the results.

For a failure seeing the bounce notice would be helpful.

The PHP code should be easy enough to modify and repost. Or do you not have access to the code?

 - Tom
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by:Ray Paseur
ID: 38847076
Not sure I understand the issue completely, but have a look at these links:
http://mxtoolbox.com/SuperTool.aspx?action=a%3anatpresch.org
http://mxtoolbox.com/SuperTool.aspx?action=mx%3anatpresch.org

The church has separate web hosting in an offsite shared server facility.  It runs its own email servers, physically located on the church property.  

When I was last working with them, internally generated email from the web host (PHP mail() command) required a little bit of special handling.  The web server would see the same domain name in the email address as the name on the hosting account, and in an abundance of "helpfulness" it would simply put the email into the local inbox instead of routing it to the internet, where the real MX records would have caused the mail to arrive at the right destination.  Once we got over that situation (which had to be revisited with each web server upgrade) we had a separate challenge on the mail server.

The mail server used a confused combination of jury-rigged spam filters.  The filters began with the assumption that any external email bearing a "from" or "reply-to" with the same name as the church email domain -- well it simply had to be fraudulent.  What else could it be?!  Once we got the sysadmin's eye on the ball we were able to get the email filters to recognize that the church web server should be assumed to be a valid sender of church email messages.  IIRC this was in the days before the church began using SPF records.
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by:TomRScott
ID: 38866681
Sorry I could not be more helpful, without seeing the existing code it is hard to offer up improvements if any were needed.

 - Tom
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