Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Hotmail rejecting forwarded email

I've been using ZoneEdit to manage the DNS for our domain gardiner.net.au with reasonable success. About the only problem I've had is every few months, I'd discover that email sent to my wife's Hotmail account (via her @gardiner.net.au address) is rejected with a message like the following:

<xxxxxxx@hotmail.com> (expanded from yyyyyyy@gardiner.net.au): 
host mx4.hotmail.com[65.54.244.232] said:
550 SC-001 Mail rejected by Windows Live Hotmail for policy reasons.
Reasons for rejection may be related to content with spam-like characteristics or IP/domain reputation problems. If you are not an email/network admin please contact your E-mail/Internet Service Provider for help. Email/network admins, please visit   http://postmaster.live.com for email delivery information and support (in reply to MAIL FROM command)

To their credit, the Live Hotmail guys are pretty quick off the mark to resolve this once you submit a request via their support page.

I think the problem is that because ZoneEdit hosts so many domains, some of those turn out to be used (or hijacked) by spammers, and so inevitably their IP ranges end up on spam black lists. ZoneEdit don't have any SPF records for their mail servers either which probably doesn't help.

So tonight I bit the bullet, and signed up with Google Apps to manage the mail for our domain. I'm hoping that pointing my MX records to Google will mean that things all look legitimate when Hotmail goes to verify that the domains match up with the SPF record.

Signing up was pretty straight forward. After verifying that I control the DNS records, I added accounts for all the people who have @gardiner.net.au email addresses, then logged in and configured their email to forward to their preferred address. There's even a 'test' email address so you can try things out before you update all the MX record information.

We'll see if this turns out to be a good idea or not.

2 comments:

Lisa said...

Would you please tell me if the switch to Google Apps has helped the hotmail situation? I'm thinking of doing the same thing. Thanks.

David said...

Hi Lisa,

so far, so good.

Time will tell, as it would often be a few months before we had problems before, but I think also the amount of spam I'm receiving has dropped dramatically too.

-dave