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Knowledgebase
Why can I receive email, but not send any?
Posted on 20 December 2003 08:48 AM
There are two reasons this may be happening.

1. Authentication Failed You do need to authenticate before you can relay mail. This means you will need to use either SMTP Authentication (if your mail client supports it) or POP before SMTP (where you simply check your mail before sending). For guidelines on configuring your mail client to use SMTP-Auth, you may wish to refer to the following tutorial: Quick Guide for Setting Up SMTP-Auth.

You may also try checking your email prior to sending out email. If you are not using SMTP-Auth you must have checked your email within the 15 minutes prior to sending email so that the server can authenticate you as a valid user.

2. ISP is Blocking Port 25 If your ISP is blocking port 25, this will prevent you from using the standard SMTP port to send email via your FutureQuest® account. Some ISPs do this so that you are forced to use their email servers when sending email, as an attempt to prevent spam. Some ISPs that have been known to block port 25 are Comcast, Earthlink, and AT&T. A quick test and possible workaround is to try changing the SMTP port setting in your email software to use port 1025 or 587, then try to send again. (See "What Can I Do?".) A more detailed test follows.


Testing the Port 25 Connection

For those of you who suspect your ISP may be blocking or intercepting your access to port 25, directions for using the default Mac and Windows operating system telnet/terminal clients to confirm this are provided below. You may use a different telnet client or terminal application if you wish. The important thing is to make sure that the port is set to 25 and the remote host is your domain or IP address. Once you have established a telnet connection on port 25, the rest of the directions should be the same on any platform.

Mac
Open the Terminal application. You will find the Terminal in the Utilities folder inside of your Applications folder. At the command prompt (flashing cursor), type:

telnet example.com 25

Hit enter and then see the section below for directions on interpreting your results.

(Linux users will use the same command above in their chosen terminal emulator.)

Windows Vista
Click on the Start Orb, then type telnet in the Start Search box and hit Enter. (Note: You'll need to enable telnet in Vista first if you have not already done so. To enable, click the Start Orb, then Control Panel, Turn Windows Features on or off, confirm your permission to continue, wait for the list of services, click the checkbox beside Telnet Client, then click Ok. Note that this will require a restart.)

Type the following commands, replacing "example.com" with your actual domain name.

    Microsoft Telnet> set localecho
    Microsoft Telnet> set term ansi
    Microsoft Telnet> open example.com 25

Hit enter and then see the section below for directions on interpreting your results.

Windows XP
Click on Start, then Run. Type telnet and click OK. Type the following commands, replacing "example.com" with your actual domain name.

    Microsoft Telnet> set localecho
    Microsoft Telnet> set TERM ANSI
    Microsoft Telnet> open example.com 25

Hit enter and then see the section below for directions on interpreting your results.

Windows 2000
Click on Start, then Run. Type telnet and click OK. Type the following commands, replacing "example.com" with your actual domain name.

    Microsoft Telnet> set LOCAL_ECHO
    Microsoft Telnet> set TERM ANSI
    Microsoft Telnet> open example.com 25

Hit enter and then see the section below for directions on interpreting your results.


Interpreting the Test Results

If you have made a successful telnet connection to port 25, you should now see something similar to one of the following statements (depending on whether your site has a dedicated or shared IP address):

    220 example.com mailfront ESMTP
or
    220 xnn.futurequest.net mailfront ESMTP

If you do see one of the above statements, then port 25 is most likely NOT blocked by your ISP. At this point, you may optionally try to send a test email message. See the next section for instructions on sending a test email.

If you see any other prompt (such as login:), you are probably using the wrong port. Double-check your settings, to verify that you are using port 25.

If you cannot connect, your ISP is most likely blocking this port. Usually when this is the case you will get a timeout error after a while or your telnet program will simply appear to hang. Sometimes you may be told that the connection was refused. In either case, contact your ISP and see if they will unblock port 25 for you - some ISPs will do this upon request. For more suggestions on how to deal with this problem, see the section titled "What Can I Do?" near the end of this tutorial.

If you are not seeing either FutureQuest.net or your domain in the message, or if you see something like 13548.proxy.aol.com, your ISP may be intercepting connections on this port. This is similar to blocking the port, but instead of refusing the connection, your ISPs servers will jump in and act as your SMTP server.

Using this method, your ISP can monitor all of your outgoing mail, without you even knowing that this is happening. Their servers essentially pretend to be your SMTP server, transparently intercepting (and possibly logging) your mail connections. If this is the case, you might want to contact your ISP and see if they can remove this "feature", making sure to have this tutorial as well as your telnet session handy for reference. You might instead simply want to find an ISP that does not interfere with your ability to use your own mail server.

If everything is normal and you are seeing FutureQuest.net or your domain within the response, you may proceed to the next step and send yourself a test email message.

For more suggestions on how to deal with this problem, see the section entitled "What Can I Do?", near the end of this tutorial.


Sending a Test Email Message

This is an optional step, which discusses how to send a test email through a port 25 telnet connection. You can only proceed with this section if you have established a successful telnet connection on port 25. Of course, if you have done that, then you know that it is possible to connect to port 25.

What we are going to do in the steps below is exactly what your email program does when you send an email.

At this point, it is important to know that pressing the backspace key does not do what it appears to do on the screen - it will not send the backspace and, although the command you have typed may look correct to you, it will not be sent properly. Any typing errors can possibly invalidate the test message, so type carefully!

Also, make sure to press the "Enter" key after each command.

If at any step in this process you see this response:

    502 Not implemented.
this is the same as saying "bash: command not found", or "Bad command or filename". In other words, a typo. If you receive this, simply retype the command, being sure to type it exactly as told in this tutorial and without using the backspace key.

Type in "ehlo dude" without the quotes. You should receive response similar to the following:

    250-example.com (or xnn.futurequest.net)
    250-AUTH LOGIN PLAIN
    250-PIPELINING
    250 8BITMIME

Now type the following, where anyone@example.com is replaced with the email address you want to send FROM (it can be any email address). Please note, the email address has to be enclosed in angled brackets:

    mail <anyone@example.com>

You should get the following response:

    250 Sender accepted.

Now type the following, replacing test@example.com with an email address on your domain. (Due to authentication measures used by the FutureQuest® mail servers, it MUST be an email address at your domain, unless you have checked your POP mail account within the last 15 minutes). Please note, the email address has to be enclosed in angled brackets:

    rcpt <test@example.com>

You should get a "250 Recipient accepted" response. Now type:

    data

After doing so, you should see "354 End your message with a period" and you can now type in a message to send - this will be the email sent to the address specified above. It is important to have a blank line after the "Subject" field and before the message body begins.

Make sure to end the mail with a period by itself on a line, pressing "Enter" afterwards.
You should now see:

    250

You may type "quit" (without the quotes) and hit Enter, and you should see:

221 Good bye.

Now check your mail at the address you specified above. This is exactly how your email client program communicates with the mail server.

If you are able to send mail using this method, but are unable to send using your mail program, the problem is most likely with your mail client. You can double check that you're using the correct settings by clicking on the email account in the CNC Email Manager.

More details on email set up are provided in the following tutorial:
What information do I need to configure my email program?


What can I do?
All FutureQuest® outgoing mail servers listen on port 25 as well as ports 1025 and 587. You may repeat the above tests using ports 1025 and 587 instead of port 25, to verify that you are able to connect to port 1025 or 587.

If your port 25 access is blocked, but you are able to connect on port 1025 or 587, you may wish to change the port setting for SMTP in your email program. Most email programs allow you to specify the SMTP, or Outgoing Server port. Changing this setting to 1025 or 587 instead of 25 will in most cases allow you to send email through the FutureQuest® mail servers. Or, if your email software supports it, use the secure option of port 465 (SMTP over SSL/SMTPS).

FutureQuest® cannot provide direct support for making configurations changes within your email client. If you need assistance configuring your email client, either contact the support staff for your email client, or you may ask other Site Owners in the Community Forums for assistance. There may be other Site Owners using the same email client who would be able to make suggestions.