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cheap uk isp company specific for exchange email service

Posted on 2013-11-08
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Last Modified: 2013-12-03
hi i currently receive internet acccess via my virgin isp as a residential user

i know the market is changing out there with regards to price

i have an exchange 2003 server at home that i connected via 123reg/dns, which in the passed  when i sent a test email from my xp local desktop the email was then received externally and that person was able to sent a reply back successfully.

then after 1 or 2 emails they got stuck on my exchange 2003 server and later i found out they got lost in this RBL list like a blackhole.

originally i was told having an account with 123reg/dns was a way to do this, as i was only training and maybe wanted to send no more than 20 or so emails then task over or until i had completed my own personal training.

vigin apparently does not use a smarthost so i cannot use that and as i cannot afford their business email service then that does not work for me either.

question 1.  so i am trying to find out if there is a specific uk company out there that will allow me to do this at an affordable cost ?
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Question by:mikey250
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LeeDerbyshire earned 369 total points
ID: 39633056
Eclipse works well for me. I found that the large domestic suppliers only offered very low outgoing bandwidth, and the risk of occasional IP address changes. Mine costs about £24 a month. It's a long time since I checked the prices of other suppliers, though. So I could be paying over the odds, being a customer who can't be bothered looking elsewhere.
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by:mikey250
ID: 39633071
hi is eclipse a uk company ?
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by:LeeDerbyshire
LeeDerbyshire earned 369 total points
ID: 39633098
Yes. They buy capacity from BT (at least, they did when I signed up), so you may need a BT line (not necessarily currently active) to the premises. But I think you'd need this anyway, if you weren't going with one of the phone/cable tv providers.
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by:LeeDerbyshire
LeeDerbyshire earned 369 total points
ID: 39633107
By the way, I didn't get a business package from them (I assume that would be more expensive). Instead, as a developer, I find one of the domestic packages is adequate. I see they now have several offerings. I'm not sure which one mine would be called now.
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by:Simon Butler (Sembee)
Simon Butler (Sembee) earned 131 total points
ID: 39633123
My home ISP is Eclipse as well, has been for many years. Their home packages allow static IP addresses and you can set a PTR.

Depending on what you have from Virgin though, you would have to go to Fibre to get equivalent speed. Another option would be to put a dual WAN router in, so that you can send browsing over Virgin and then email over the other ISP.

Another option you could look at would be plus.net - but their basic package doesn't allow static IP addresses.

They will all require a BT phone line.

The final option would be to use a smart host service. These are called SMTP relay services. You may find that is more cost effective than bringing another ISP in.

Simon.
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Author Comment

by:mikey250
ID: 39633226
hi sembee2, im chatting to exclipse right now and they mentioned about a package for £3.99 a month, so i am wondering if this is the static ip and ptr you mention..!

ive spoken to plus.net in the passed but i could not afford what they asked and did not want a phone line.  so i came with virgin as it was cheaper and i did not have a phone line added so i was not charged for the phoneline and just charged for the broadband.  im currently paying around £19 a month with virgin, but now i wish to be able to send/recieve emails via my own personal exchange 2003 at home, but thought it would work through 123reg/dns and although it did after around 2 emails being sent externally and received, they eventually got stuck in this RBL list.
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by:LeeDerbyshire
LeeDerbyshire earned 369 total points
ID: 39633235
You will find yourself on some RBLs simply because your IP address belongs to a residential block. Being able to use your ISPs smart host will help in this respect, although I don't actually find it necessary myself, for some reason.
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Author Comment

by:mikey250
ID: 39633251
hi sembee2,

"im really not sure we can provide you with the service you require.  as i say we offer webhosting and email option 1 that would run off your pc."

or

"i cannot see any reason why this should not work for you unless you are looking to send/receive emails from mobile devices, in which case you would be better to look at hosted exchange"
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Author Comment

by:mikey250
ID: 39633293
hi lee, ok i understand your comment about (residential block) i can grasp that!

i have spoken with virgin and they do not use (smarthost) or at least provide it and due to changes in their business, only apparantely provide phone line and broadband and nothig else now.
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by:LeeDerbyshire
LeeDerbyshire earned 369 total points
ID: 39633362
Yes, I noticed you mentioned that earlier. So, since you are now interested in connecting an Exchange server to the outside world, you need something a bit more 'serious' than most ISPs basic offerings, but not the full power (and cost) of an actual business connection. I'd be surprised if the £3.99 option was suitable, but you never know. If it is, then I'll probably switch to it.
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Author Comment

by:mikey250
ID: 39633364
ive told eclipse that i think i need one of the following, which im waiting for a response:

1.  i think i need to configure the rdns feature which will also provide a public static ip address that will be allocated to my isa/external nic card, allowing me to send/receive emails to multiple external destinations

or

2.  if i wish to send emails from my xp desktop at home to go through my exchange 2003 server and then sent to a single email address then (smarthost) was the other option.

im currently waiting to find out
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by:Simon Butler (Sembee)
Simon Butler (Sembee) earned 131 total points
ID: 39633367
Virgin Media used to provide a smart host, but they then outsourced their email to Google. Google's service isn't suitable because of the way it works - it rewrites the headers to match the address that you authenticate as.

If you want to use anyone other than Virgin, you have got to have a phone line. I am not aware of any ISP in the UK other than Virgin (and some smaller players in restricted areas) who offer internet only. Therefore you are looking at £12 month, plus the cost of broadband.
To get close to what you have from Virgin, you are looking at Fibre, so that is a minimum of £30/month (£10 line rental paid a year in advance, then £20 for fibre). Plus.net are one of the cheapest ISPs going, so if you cannot afford them, then everyone else is out of the question.

Therefore the cheapest option is going to be an SMTP relaying service, which will allow you to retain what you have and send email more reliably.

Simon.
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Author Comment

by:mikey250
ID: 39633376
understood!!

just for clarity, is it true that (smarthost) only allows emails to be sent/received externally to one destionation, meaning i could not send 1 email to yahoo, or gmail or some random friend or country ?
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by:Simon Butler (Sembee)
Simon Butler (Sembee) earned 131 total points
ID: 39633395
A smart host is just a Microsoft term for SMTP relay server. You can send email to anyone via a smart host, as long as the smart host accepts the email.

For example, if you set the smart host to the SMTP server belonging to Demon internet, then as you aren't a Demon customer all you could do is send email to Demon customers, not to a Yahoo user. However if you use an SMTP relay server then you can send to anyone.

Whether they accept the email is another question altogether, but that is rarely something you can control.

Simon.
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Author Comment

by:mikey250
ID: 39633411
hi sembee2, at the moment eclipse are not sure as still waiting.  can you confirm what i need hence your previous comments.

so due to previous comments (smarthost) then seems my option then.
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by:Simon Butler (Sembee)
Simon Butler (Sembee) earned 131 total points
ID: 39633419
If you don't want a phone line, then every UK ISP other than Virgin is pretty much out of the question. End of story.

Simon.
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Author Comment

by:mikey250
ID: 39633426
yes i know you said.  so if i can get what i want i may look at (plus.net or eclipse) once i get my answer.
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by:mikey250
ID: 39633430
not sure it if will be a adsl link or not, because with virgin it is not an adsl link as it is a coaxial cable screwed into my vmdg 480 box and i like this because it gives my isa/external nic card a public ip address as my vmdg480 box is set to modem/enable and it only changes every few months it appears as i have been monitoring.
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by:LeeDerbyshire
LeeDerbyshire earned 369 total points
ID: 39633467
My Eclipse product is called Flex Home 1000, and this would do what you require, since I do it myself. This is something they don't offer anymore, but it might be worth asking what their nearest current equivalent is.

Things you'll be mostly interested in (that sometimes catch people out) are:

Fixed IP address.
Good outgoing bandwidth (in case you want to access your OWA, or send large emails quickly). Some ADSL connections have good download speed, but terrible upload speed.
No port restrictions.
SMTP relay.
Use your own router, although I'm not sure this is ever a problem with any of the major ISPs.
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Author Comment

by:mikey250
ID: 39633508
ok i will ask about (flex home 1000) ... thanks for that!!

the reason why i liked virgin is because the intermitant static ip address is actually dynamic but it does change for months at a time.  so due to running isa 2006 this was good for teaching myself how to get it up and running as far as internet access and a vpn.

now i wish to return to know how to setup exchange 2003 as im more familiar before i move onto 2007/2010 for example

you mention the below:

good outgoing bandwidth (in case you want to access your owa, or send large emails quickly).  some adsl connections have good download speed, but terrible upload speed - how do i decided which isp provides good service for this specifically  ?

no port restrictions - i understand

smtp relay - ok

use your own router, although i'm not sure this is ever a problem with any of the major isps - understood.
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by:LeeDerbyshire
LeeDerbyshire earned 369 total points
ID: 39633540
I think you'd have to ask potential ISPs about their upstream/downstream ratio. You (or at least I) only ever see download speeds advertised, and that's not much use if you're hoping to do any kind of hosting for yourself.

I used Virgin (when it was C&W) for a while because we already had a connection at home; and yes, the IP address only changes a few times a year. But like I say, trying to access anything at home from the outside world was just awful, due to the slow outgoing speed. Although it's very possible that things have moved on since then.
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Author Comment

by:mikey250
ID: 39633555
hi lee, my internet connection to me, is still slow even with virgins infrastructure upgrades.
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Author Comment

by:mikey250
ID: 39633679
i have to get a phone line first if i go with eclipse.  im now chatting to a plus.net sales adviser to check on what i need and cost to get phone line in.
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Author Comment

by:mikey250
ID: 39633747
firbre broadband is 35mbps £17.49 monthly package
 
broadband is 3mbps download & 448 kbps upload

im not even sure what my virgin is as this to me is slow also
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by:LeeDerbyshire
LeeDerbyshire earned 369 total points
ID: 39633878
448 kbps upload sounds typical, and should be fine for your purposes. You can test your current upload speed here:
http://www.broadbandspeedchecker.co.uk/
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Author Comment

by:mikey250
ID: 39633916
apparently that package of £17.49 is the basic package but if i want a static ip then it is more expensive...
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Author Comment

by:mikey250
ID: 39634005
plus.net said if i get the phone line obviously i can get the static ip address and have the reverse/dns added and will have an adsl router instead...so will this be all i need to allow my exchange to send/receive email externally with no problems this time  ?
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by:LeeDerbyshire
LeeDerbyshire earned 369 total points
ID: 39634159
You will need a router that can do NAT port mapping. They will also need to allow outgoing SMTP traffic - at least to their SMTP relay.

You will also probably need to buy a domain name and maintain a Start Of Authority for the domain you will use, and someone to host your public DNS records. Someone like ClouDNS will do your DNS for free.
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Author Comment

by:mikey250
ID: 39634200
adsl - this is provide via them - so presumably this adsl works off (nat) then configured with static public ip address

i assumed the smtp/port25 feature will be in the gui for me to open but if not i will ask so thanks for reminder, ok, as for smtp relay - ok i did not realise they will have this at their end..!

domain name - as i have a domain name with 123reg/dns i can then point an mx record to the plus.net default gateway and then presumably through the rdns, i should then be able to send/receive email.

question 1.  currently my isa 2006 external nic is configured and attached to my virgin vmdg480 router which is set to (modem/enable), which provides a static public ip address.  so can i do the same thing with this adsl router from plus.net although if im using nat/port mapping im thinking no  or what is the way as i wish to continue to use my isa 2006 firewall  ?
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by:LeeDerbyshire
LeeDerbyshire earned 369 total points
ID: 39634359
You can still use ISA if you want to (to keep your hand in, as it were), although you won't need to if you have a port mapping router. I don't know if you'll get a port mapping router from plus.net, though. Unless they already said you will? Most people won't need it, so it makes sense for them to hand out the most basic offering by default, and the most basic offering might not have it as a feature.
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Author Comment

by:mikey250
ID: 39650954
hi lee, i have been told that i should not need to move and pay out that extra cash at least for now due to the below but appear to have one last issue if advice is correct!!  not sure if you could assist!!

123reg - advised that as i was not a business customer with virgin then they would not be able to configure a (reversedns/):

but as i already purchased a domain and already have my records pointing to my virgin media default gateway via my isa 2006/external nic i only need to do 2 more things, which should allow me to send/receive emails externally with no problems, considering i only wish to send maybe 20 or less while teaching myself exchange 2003, but even then they said i should not have a problem at all but to do the below first:

1st - add an spf record via my 123reg/dns
2nd - to contact http://mxtoolbox.com/services_servermonitoring2.aspx  - & get added to the (white list)

there are 3 packages www.mxtoolbox.com offer:

free plan - i have now joined which offers a basic package
basic plan - £12.48 - currently cannot afford
pro plan - £49.94 - currently cannot afford

i then email www.mxtoolbox.com - who advised i mis-understood what they do and that the (white list) is actually on the exchange server i am trying to email to.

i did email my own yahoo account and had same issue

so now im going round in circles
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by:Simon Butler (Sembee)
Simon Butler (Sembee) earned 131 total points
ID: 39651389
Bottom line is that you cannot run an Exchange server with direct email delivery on a Virgin Media connection without the use of smart host.
MX Toolbox cannot get you whitelisted on all services, no service can do that.
Furthermore, your IP address with Virgin is dynamic (it may stay the same for months, even years, but it could change) and that is unacceptable to many sites.

Therefore you have two choices.

1. Subscribe to an email relay service to send your email through. This could also be an outsourced antispam service for inbound email as well.
2. Change your phone line to BT (or a BT wholesale customer) and ISP to someone who can give you a static IP address and allow you to change the PTR.

Simon.
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Author Comment

by:mikey250
ID: 39651452
hi,

as i cannot afford a business account currently that was why i was looking for a work around.

im aware my virgin address will change but just for the purposes of sending a few emails literally while i go through the install and setup of exchange 2003 is all it was for.

virgin - do not offer the smarthost feature

whitelisted - where can i look at a white list in exchange then or is it just a concept ?

rbl - why do i appear on www.mxtoolbox.com and can view my ip address as blocked  ?

im currently using 123reg and just asked if they provide this service (smtp relay) so i assume i would not setup an smtp relay from my home exchange 2003 server  ?

bt - cannot go with bt as have to have a phone line and cannot afford that, hence with virgin where they own their own telcoms equipment and dont have a landline and just have internet, in order to reduce cost for me.

----------------

ok ive just been reading a godaddy.com site and spoke via the phone:

http://support.godaddy.com/help/article/345/what-is-smtp-relay

they advised that if i setup (smtp relay) on my physical exchange 2003 server, then this would avoid those previous issues I had and allow me to send/receive emails specifically externally anywhere in the world and recieve a reply back, as i already have my 123reg/dns records pointing to my local isa2006/external nic at home!!
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by:LeeDerbyshire
LeeDerbyshire earned 369 total points
ID: 39652052
You don't need a business account, just something a bit better than virgin etc. Hence the recommendation for Eclipse. They certainly do RDNS.

Any whitelist you see in Exchange is for domains that you want to accept without restriction. You can't affect any other whitelists out there. Your IP is listed on public RBLs because it is part of a residential IP allocation block. That is enough for many RBLs to take a dislike, since (according to their reasoning) most spam trojan infected machines are likely to be in peoples' homes, not on corporate networks.

Having an SMTP relay at home won't help, because it will still be coming out of your residential IP address. The idea of relaying it via an ISP is that it now looks like it's coming from their IP address.

Maybe you could do it with Virgin, as long as you are prepared to have some emails get bounced, and take care of the occasional IP address change. Not something a company IT dept would be happy with, but if you're just playing with Exchange, to learn about it, then you might not worry too much.
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Author Comment

by:mikey250
ID: 39654449
hi lee, ok i have read your comments, but i think for the time being when i eventually re-install exchange 2003 i will try what i have been told just so i can rule out that it does not work via smtp relay as you suggest.

according to www.mxtoolbox.com - i asked them if they could put me on their white list if they have one, although as it turns out they do not as apparantely the actual white list is just a concept where those exchange servers that if allowed actually allow specific email to be receieved from an external place to another.  as you also state:

"any whitelist you see in Exchange is for domains that you want to accept without restriction."

that being said according to www.mxtoolbox.com they said when my email are not sent from my exchange server and i then locate my ip address being added to an rbl list, apparantely i have my understanding completley wrong.

i did mention on a previous thread:

"although virgin dynamic ip address detected via my isa2006/external changes, it changes every few months if not longer as i have been monitoring."
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by:LeeDerbyshire
LeeDerbyshire earned 369 total points
ID: 39656168
mxtoolbox just checks your domain against a lot of blacklists, I don't think they maintain one of their own, so they can't really help you in this respect. I've no idea if any of the individual blacklists have a corresponding whitelist. I'd assume not.

There are lots of blacklists out there - the idea of a blacklist being to maintain a list of suspicious looking email sources. Some of them will include you because your IP address is part of a residential allocation. Some will include you because you don't have RDNS. They all differ slightly, and some will be 'stricter' than others. You will probably find your IP address on some (maybe not all) of them.

As a mail server admin, you can configure your server to subscribe to one or more of them, if you feel that you are getting too many spam emails delivered. Of course, once you do that, you run the risk of losing a few genuine emails, too. But you can also create your own whitelist, so that you can still receive mail from servers that are on the blacklist. But note that as a sender there is nothing you can do to get yourself on any one else's whitelist, other than asking nicely, and you'd need to ask every organisation that you send email to. The whitelist you see in your Exchange is one of these. It can be used to tell your server to receive mail from servers that are on a blacklist, but it won't help you to get your mail delivered to anyone else.  All you can do is follow the rules. Go via a relay, so that it looks like your mail is not coming from a residential IP address. Configure RDNS for your domain. And don't actually send out lots of spam. If you send spam via your ISPs relay, they will get upset with you.
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Author Comment

by:mikey250
ID: 39656299
hi lee, ive just read your useful comments..!

"the whitelist you see in your exchange is one of these.  it can be used to tell your server to receive mail from servers that are on a blacklist, but it won't help you to get your mail delivered to anyone else"   - ok i will look at that when i re-install

"go via a relay, so that it looks like your mail is not coming from a residential IP address.  configure rdns for your domain. and don't actually send out lots of spam.  if you send spam via your isps relay, they will get upset with you."

- i was told to configure an 'smtp relay' on my physical exchange is this correct  ?

- as i do not have a business link my (isp) have not added me to their (rdns)

- i already have my (reverse-lookup) configured on home master dc - so i assume this is what you meant  ?

i only wish to send a couple of emails from my xp to my yahoo account & then reply back from yahoo and see it receive on my xp desktop & also attempt to send a basic (hello) email to a friends on maybe gmail or something.  just so i am confident at least i can see for myself my settings are correct, although if some companies exchange admin block external emails that are not allowed then of course my email may not received, so yes i am understanding what you are saying so far.
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by:LeeDerbyshire
LeeDerbyshire earned 369 total points
ID: 39656946
It sounds like you just wish to experiment a bit, so you should be able to get it working to some extent.

Configuring your own SMTP relay won't help you as far as RBLs go. To them, your email will look exactly the same, since the public IP address will not have changed.

Yahoo are (like most large public email facilities) pretty fussy. You'll be lucky to get them to accept your email. have a look at this:

http://help.yahoo.com/l/us/yahoo/mail/postmaster/basics/postmaster-15.html

In particular:

Yahoo is more likely to downgrade an IP’s sending reputation if:

•There is no reverse DNS entry for your IP address.
•Your mailing IP looks like a dynamically-assigned IP instead of a static mail server.

Again, configuring RDNS internally won't help. Yahoo can only see your public DNS records.
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Author Comment

by:mikey250
ID: 39657069
hi lee, thanks for those comments and that link. any suggestions on who i could send an external test email to ?
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by:LeeDerbyshire
LeeDerbyshire earned 369 total points
ID: 39657241
You can send one to me if you like?

email.at.leederbyshire.com

I use spamhaus, though, so I might not get it.
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Author Comment

by:mikey250
ID: 39658592
ok although i have not installed exchange yet but will do hopefully by the end of this week!
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by:LeeDerbyshire
ID: 39658999
Okay, good luck!
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Author Comment

by:mikey250
ID: 39693725
i will allocate points and close this thread now as not had change so install exchange yet but will do and will refer back to this advice if need be.

much appreciated.
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Author Closing Comment

by:mikey250
ID: 39693737
advice much apprecited.
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