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SMTP Virtual Server Emails Going to Spam

Hi, I was wondering if there is something you guys can help me out with. I have an SMTP Virtual Server setup through IIS on Window Server 2008 hosted with Hostway that our php uses to send email out through. It is working fine, however, the problem is the the emails sent out through most of the time seem to get marked as spam/junk on the receiving end. However if the same email is used to send out through Hostway hosted exchange server the email does not get marked as spam. I am wondering if it has something to do with the PTR records that hostway set up for me or maybe the domain DNS settings. I have read that the spam problem could be caused by IP inconsistencies across DNS and PTR records.

Right now the main domain I am concerned with is www.grouptravelvideos.com

Also, I have checked http://www.spamhaus.org/lookup/ for both the domain and server IP.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!
Thanks, Cole Archer


PTR record: 170.87.216.in-addr.arpa. poiting to each domain.

www.grouptravelvideos.com DNS Settings:
A (Host)       
@ Points to 216.87.170.134


CNAME (Alias)       
autodiscover Points to @
www Points to @


MX (Mail Exchanger)       
@ Points to createavideo.com.s5a1.psmtp.com


TXT (Text)       
@ "v=spf1 a -all"
@ "v=spf1 ptr -all"
@ v=spf1 mx ip4:168.215.206.155 mx:mail.createavideo.com ?all
Avatar of Paul Howard
Paul Howard

Hi photovision

Its more of an outbound thing, what IP does your virtual server send mail out on?

This IP will need to have a matching PTR to the HELO greeting this server gives out.

So if the public translated address is say 168.215.206.155 and your HELO for the virtual server is smtp.grouptravelvideos.com then setup a PTR record so that it reflects this, remember to create a coresponding A record for that host first.

This will help in reducing the SPAM classification of the inbound email

Kind Regards

Paul
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ASKER

Our A record point s to 216.87.170.134.

I had also reached out to our server host and they responded with this:

I did find that the PTR record for grouptravelvideos.com was no longer listed in our DNS server. We've re-submitted it to the database and it's already in effect. This should hopefully clear up issues with mail not being delivered properly. If the issue continues, please keep a copy of the returned mail (along w/ error message) for further diagnosis. Please also see the output below and advise if you need further details. Thanks in advance.

sdig grouptravelvideos.com
grouptravelvideos.com.      38      IN      A      216.87.170.134

sdig -x 216.87.170.134    
134.170.87.216.in-addr.arpa. 299 IN      PTR      grouptravelvideos.com.


Does is seem like that is going to fix the problem? I'm a bit confused because it also has this IP in it 134.170.87.216.

Thanks,
Cole
Actually haveing a PTR record will help but they should be able to change this for you to the FQDN that you supply as long as the A record exists first.

Is everything all on one server with one IP ?

Paul
Yes, all domains are on the same server with IP 216.87.170.134. We use a separate hosted exchange service for our incoming mail. What FQDN would I need to give them?

-Cole
Use a host name of smtp.yourdomin.tld its your choice or mx1. etc just has to match the HELO statement that the server gives out.

Paul
How am I supposed to set the HELO statement that the server gives out?
Under the settings in IIS6 do you have access to the server?

Paul
Yes
If i go to SMTP server properties, I see FQDN as wtf4586.tam.us.siteprotect.com
Off my head if you right click server > properties > delivery > advanced > FQDN

Make this entry the same as what you make the rDNS entry, telnet into the IP on port 25 to check the response.

Get all the other bits in place before you make the change and record your changes so you can go back, in case.

Paul
Do I need to change FQDN or can I just ask Hostway to set PTR record to FQDN that's already in place (wtf4586.tam.us.siteprotect.com )?

Do I need to change my DNS A record from Server IP (216.87.170.134)?

Thanks,
Cole
wtf4586.tam.us.siteprotect.com as far as i can tell an non-existant domain, so probably best to set this as you wish, set an A record for something on your domain or a domain that you own, i.e. "mx1.grouptravelvideos.com" then ask Hostway to change the PTR record so that it points to your server IP 216.87.170.134

your not changing any A records your adding a new one then Hostway can use that for the PTR reference as currently its just "grouptravelvideos.com"

Cheers

Paul
Once this has been set then the recieving server will be greeted with "mx1.grouptravelvideos.com" as the HELO SMTP response and when it checks to see if the PTR records match they will.

You need to choose the FQDN though mine are just examples, you may have A records for these already pointing elsewhere so check in your DNS first.

Paul
Ok, the server sends emails out for multiple websites  grouptravelvideos.com, createavideo.com, thepowerofmemories.com, photovision.com, thememorybank.com. But all are under the company name photovision.

So I could....
1 - Set A record @ pointing to mx1.photovision.com (for all domains)
2 - Set FQDN on virtual smtp server to mx1.photovision.com
3 - Ask Hostway to change the PTR record so that it points to web server IP 216.87.170.134

Does that sound right?

Thanks,
Cole
Here's a screen shot of all the dns settings i have. So all I need to do is add A record Host=@ and Points to=mx1.photovision.com and then the other 2 things listed above. Just want to make sure I completely understand before I change anything.

Thanks,
Cole
gtv-dns.jpg
GoDaddy right ?

Use quick add to add an A record for mx1.photovision.com you need to login to that DNS management for that domain and add it there, don't touch the @ record or add one.
 
Then speak to the hosting provider to get the PTR record changed from grouptravelvideos.com
to mx1.photovision.com

Then change the FQDN on the SMTP server and test it via telnet.

Paul
For new A record, what should be the value for host? I thought it was supposed to be @?
your A record will be mx1

as your creating mx1.photovision.com

Paul
Does this look right?
Capture.PNG
No remove that quick.
The A records are added in the top most entry use quick add from there.

Paul
and that DNS zone is grouptravelvideos.com not photovision.com
I just need to know what I put for Host and what I put for points to.....

Did you see this comment from earlier which explains why I was using photovision?

Ok, the server sends emails out for multiple websites  grouptravelvideos.com, createavideo.com, thepowerofmemories.com, photovision.com, thememorybank.com. But all are under the company name photovision.

So I could....
1 - Set A record @ pointing to mx1.photovision.com (for all domains)
2 - Set FQDN on virtual smtp server to mx1.photovision.com
3 - Ask Hostway to change the PTR record so that it points to web server IP 216.87.170.134

Does that sound right?

Thanks,
Cole
That sounds right.

your not editing the DNS zone photvision.com your editing grouptravelvideos.com im reading that from your screenshot top left ?

item 1 your setting "An" A record not setting a record @ just trying to clarify the type of DNS entry your adding :)

so you need to go into the control panel for photovision.com and add an A record type.

Paul
So I just need to add it for photovision.com even though I send out email address from all the domains?

Clearly there is something I'm just not getting....it's been a long week....please see attached
Capture.PNG
ASKER CERTIFIED SOLUTION
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Paul Howard

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That does make sense! Thank you for explaining it :)

Hostway responded with:
The requested PTR records have been updated and are all reversing to 216.87.170.134. Please see below for output.

sdig 134.170.87.216.in-addr.arpa @ns1.candidhosting.com any
134.170.87.216.in-addr.arpa. 299 IN      PTR      createavideo.com.
134.170.87.216.in-addr.arpa. 299 IN      PTR      grouptravelvideos.com.
134.170.87.216.in-addr.arpa. 299 IN      PTR      photovision.com.
134.170.87.216.in-addr.arpa. 299 IN      PTR      thememorybank.com.
134.170.87.216.in-addr.arpa. 299 IN      PTR      thepowerofmemories.com.


Going to add record, then change FQDN on server, then reboot and cross my fingers....
You have requested them to add all the domains to the IP for PTR records it will only return one which will be createavideo.com

You should have asked them to make it mx1.photvision.com only

it should just be this

134.170.87.216.in-addr.arpa. 299 IN      PTR      mx1.photvision.com.

I think you have misunderstood this somewhere.

you wont need a reboot of the server

Paul
Crap! Ok, thanks. I just asked them to make the change. I'm glad i told you what their response was. Already rebooted, probably needed it anyway, it's been awhile.....

Once I get response from that the PTR is good, I'll mark conversation as solved.

I hope this fixes the spam problem. Hopefully, we'll get more responses to system emails and that will give us a good indication that it worked.

Thank you for all your help:)
No problem, it may not completely fix the spam issue, but this is best practice SMTP setup,

post when you add that "A" record of "mx1" to the domain and when they change the PTR record.

Paul
I've already changed A record for photovision.com. The hostway guys are on EST so they may be gone for the night as it's after 6 here. I'll post back mon. Thanks, have a great weekend :)
Sure and you too

23:16 here ;)

Ill have a look tomorrow, it will take some time to propagate

Paul
The A record and PTR record look fine to me, if the server HELO is now done you should be good to go.

Paul
Results.png
Hostway's response.....

Ok, it's all done. Please see below for the same output in 2 different mannerisms:

sdig 134.170.87.216.in-addr.arpa @ns1.candidhosting.com any
134.170.87.216.in-addr.arpa. 299 IN      PTR      mx1.photovision.com.

sdig -x 216.87.170.134 @ns1.candidhosting.com        
134.170.87.216.in-addr.arpa. 299 IN      PTR      mx1.photovision.com.
Good looks fine :)

Paul