Need some help describing a problem with some web developers

Client's website,, has a "contact us" form for visitors to get more information.  They also host their own email in a SBS server, mx 10  This same server is also the authoritative server for their sister website,  DNS/nameserver is hosted at a GOdaddy, but the actual website is at Fast Domain.  (long story)

When the's web form is configured to go to, the email never arrives.  When the form is configured to go to, the mail comes in fine.  So I know it is not a spam filter or even web site code problem.

I am trying to convince the web dev, that he needs to disable local delivery or have the website log into an SMTP service in order to get the email form working as it should. I am thinking the website is trying to deliver email to itself and never bothers to do a public lookup in the MX record, and this is reflected as there are no entries in the Exchange logs of IP of the website ever trying to get to the server, pass or fail.

Do you guys have any specific sites that describe this problem so I can do more than just say, "this is why I think it is the web guys problem".  I do believe it is a LAMP stack website if that helps.

Similar in concept or perhaps other tricks as described here
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Imtiaz HashamConnect With a Mentor Technical Director / IT ConsultantCommented:
Dear Tsaico,

If the web dev doesn't want to use your SMTP Server, he must be using another one.

The best way to deal with Devs who don't listen to SysAdmins is ask them what is their SMTP Server and mark the IP address in your allowed list!

Some Devs think they know how SMTP traffic works and I let them, but get my work done and guess what, I never use them again!

Alternatively, give him SMTP details of a "good" SMTP server that will not get blocked by your server and ask him to use that :)
Imtiaz HashamConnect With a Mentor Technical Director / IT ConsultantCommented:
ok, this is what you ask your web dev to do:

Use the local SMTP Server to send email and use Windows Authentication and provide him with authentication credentials on the SBS server.

If you have any issues, come back to me and i shall assist :)
Dave BaldwinConnect With a Mentor Fixer of ProblemsCommented:
"So I know it is not a spam filter or even web site code problem."

No you don't know that because you don't know what it takes to make it work yet.  Seems like every web server I have worked with has it's own 'rules' for what email is allowed.  And there is no reason to think that the spam filtering on the receiving end is identical either.

What language is being used on the web server?  Can you successfully send a 'normal' email to both of those email addresses?  And receive a reply back?
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tsaicoAuthor Commented:
From the web server perspective, there is no local email server.  The server that is hosting the website is located with a separate facility.  I offered to allow him to authenticate against the SBS server as a traditional SMTP user, but his comment was "It will take too long to re-code" the site.

Perhaps, but I I have no email issues from the SBS perspective, and we can get the web form to work, just not with same domain to same domain email.  I do not have dropped emails, and can freely email to and from it (under either domain).  As long as the webserver does not email an address that is from the same domain, it works fine per my examples.  Because it did work fine when the same web server sent an email to the same email server, just using the 2nd domain this exchange server is hosting, I was able to capture the email logs, see that the sending IP got whitelisted,verbose logs, etc.  

So while I do agree that many web servers have different quirks, I know it is web server and how it is handled a lookup for the MX record.  So I think perhaps I didn't explain the situation to you correctly. -> != delivered -> =  delivered

Keep in mind, it is the same web server and the same SBS involved here, the issue I am having is that the web server looks to itself as the email server when it is not.  So the email never gets routed to the exchange server listed in the public MX record, rather the webserver thinks it is hosting the email too and tries to deliver locally.
Dave BaldwinConnect With a Mentor Fixer of ProblemsCommented:
You just said the same thing over and over without answering my questions.  People hire me to create forms that are emailed from the web server thru a SMTP server.  I usually use PHP although the last one was done in Classic ASP.

You say above that there is no 'local mail server' on the web server.  Then how is email being sent?  It has to go to a SMTP server somewhere.  The code that is being used has to connect to a SMTP server somewhere to send email.  You may be having a problem with that SMTP server but I can guarantee you that the web server itself doesn't look to itself as anything regarding email.

As for "It will take too long to re-code", tell him you could hire someone else to re-do it in less time than that.
Scott Fell, EE MVEConnect With a Mentor Developer & EE ModeratorCommented:
It sounds like you have the answer.  I would treat it as a remote smtp server with authentication.  If that is not possible because he is not willing to change, I'm not sure what else to suggest.  

It's easy to say I would do it differently but we have no idea what is fully involved.  I know for myself I keep my send function very short and in one spot where I can call it from any page.  I will have 2 include files, the send function and a template and on the page that collects data I include those two files and fire away.  From site to site, I only need to change the smtp info on one file and the template set up in the other.

I think the next step is to get the actual method and code that is being used instead of guessing.  Otherwise, I think your offer of sending against the server directly is the answer.
tsaicoAuthor Commented:
Ok, found what I wanted, or more specifically what was going on and how to describe it, since his response was "it always just works, it must be your spam filter" and that he has never in his x number of years ever heard of any problem with PHP sending where the webserver was at fault, it is always at the email server side.

In any case, I sent him

and suddenly the website to same domain email started working...
Dave BaldwinFixer of ProblemsCommented:
I'm glad you were able to 'encourage' him to fix it.  Thanks for the points.
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