Email issues: migration from Godaddy to Webhost.pro

This is probably only of interest to me and has nothing to do with bicycling…

Godaddy; and the way it was until late 2015

Godaddy offersforwarding as a freebie connected with domain registration. In a forward, the email isn’t stored at godaddy, just moved along. This seems to work pretty well and I’ve used if for years both for azbikelaw.org and cazbike.org domains, and have some extensive lists of forwards set up. Forwards can be nested, and can forward to multiple addresses. They end up being forwarded through the domain bounce.secureserver.net

To send emails as the domain (I mean, to allow an email client like gmail’s web interface to send out email as e.g. cazbike@cazbike.org instead of my gmail address), godaddy includes/allows a limited (250/day) number of relays (“SMTP relay”) thrown in as a freebie with hosting accounts. To send you need to authenticate. So for example, I configure gmail to be able to send email as cazbike@cazbike.org by filling in the smtp server address and my authentication information.

Finally, for receiving email, in case you don’t want to use forwarding) they offer one POP account per hosting account as a freebie; it’s also quite small (50MB), by the way.

Note that these three things are more-or-less independent of one another.

This was all working seemingly pretty well for years when I decided to move my hosting account away from Godaddy; but I left the domain registrations in place. As a result of having domains but no hosting with Godaddy, I could still forward email just fine, but could not send or receive anymore.

The new vendor I chose for hosting was Webhost.pro, I chose them without really considering the impact on email…

One thing i hadn’t considered is that webhost.pro’s TOS are, shall we say, more liberal in the types of sites they allow. Possibly as a result, they attract more fringe business/operators (read that: porno, adult sites, etc). Here’s a reverse DNS lookup of the server I was assigned to, 104.223.9.60 (strangely few, at 270 domain), and later  104.223.9.35 (over 11,000 domains!) via viewdns.info

My Webhost.pro IP has a Bad Reputation?

webhost.pro has all (maybe more) of the email capabilities as above. However, once I started using it for email, it appears that the IP to which i have been assigned by webhost.pro, 104.223.9.60, has a “bad reputation”, here are two examples of bounces which implicate the IP:

host azdot-gov.mail.protection.outlook.com [207.46.163.247]
 SMTP error from remote mail server after RCPT TO:<info@azdot.gov>:
 550 5.7.1 Service unavailable; Client host [104.223.9.60] blocked using FBLW15; To request removal from this list please forward this message to delist@messaging.microsoft.com
SMTP error from remote mail server after MAIL FROM:<azbikela@dwhsl60.dwhs.net> SIZE=3331: 421 4.7.0 [TS02] Messages from 104.223.9.60 temporarily deferred due to user complaints - 4.16.56.1; see https://help.yahoo.com/kb/postmaster/SLN3326.

In the case of the yahoo warning, there is no remedy, but it is not a hard-failure, just a deferal; yahoo eventually allows the email to go through after several tries, and a delay of as much as a couple of hours.

In the case of microsoft/outlook, I did contact and request delisting, they replied (pasted in full, below) that this IP has already been requested for delisting and what have I done to stop the spam? and so forth (which I obviously can’t answer).

I guess I know (or maybe assume) is I could avoid these problems by paying for a dedicated IP address (currently runs only $2/month), but hey, that would be like giving up. (a dedicated IP would also be good for SSL certificate purposes, but as of now, I don’t have any certificates, and don’t feel like i need them).

Here’s the microsoft delist response:

Thank you for contacting Microsoft Online Services Technical Support. This email is in reference to ticket number SRX1315645312ID, which was opened in regards to your delisting request for 104.223.9.60.

We see that the IP address in question has been submitted for delisting within the last 30 days. In order to process this new request please provide us with the following information:

1. What caused the spam-like activity from the IP address?
2. What steps have been taken to prevent the spam-like activity from occurring again?

Current Solution

Keep domain registered at Godaddy; this is a basically a no-cost solution. (I mean no incremental cost, the registration cost is more-or-less the same everywhere).

Keep the nameservers as Godaddy default; and point the A record for @ at 104.223.9.60. If for any reason the IP changes on the webhost.pro side, i will need to manually update it thru godaddy’s dns managament interface.

Keeping godaddy’s nameservers in place (or more accurately: keeping the default godaddy mx records) allows forwarding to work just fine. It would probably be more elegant to switch the nameserver’s to webhost.pro’s default and manually update the mx records via my webhost.pro cpanel.

To send mail as the domain through gmail, e.g. as cazbike@cazbike.org, there is a necessary trick: turn on google 2-step authentication. Once enabled, generate an “app password”   and specifiy smtp.gmail.com and for credential use your gmail address as the username, and the “app password” (and not your gmail password) as password.

Note that gmail up until a couple of years ago didn’t require the trick, and in fact anything already set up to use gmail’s smtp servers continue to work. I also checked my msn (now called outlook.com) email and they currently do not allow adding new addresses without accompanying smtp authentication. Yahoo mail doesn’t seem to allow it at all right now, though address i’ve already had set up in the past continue to work (and use Yahoo’s smtp servers to send).

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