TOT BT Broadband and External email accounts

Hi All,
Sorry i've been a bit quiet, I have been listening.
My wife is being driven round the bend by BT Broadband toyal yahoos or whatever they are called this month who every so often change someting (like the name of their outgoing mail server! Without giving any warning to their customers, or even to their outsourced Indian sub- continent support droids.
The cynic in me would say that this policy will make them millions from calls to their support lines!
Anyways, I have managed to get outgoing mail going a couple of weeks ago by making sure Eudora was using the BT Internet account to login to the smtp server, and i've fixed it again today by spending half an hour in a maze of twisty little passages all different which is bt yahoo's website and "verifying" my wifes connectfree account. I did ring Connectfree's support at one point, but was very disappointed to find that instead of the very knowledgeable northern lad i'd gotten last time, I got someone in the punjab who answered the phone as Tiscali tech support :+((
Anyways, the question!
At one point the BT support droid said "well in that case, Connectfree will have to provide you with your own smtp server" Which got me to thinging (OK, three questions)
1. Would running our own smtp server on one of our XP workstations protect us from any further stupidity on the part of BT.
2. Would it just work with BT's network without any configuration on their part, or would it open up another can of worms WRT getting it verified or whatever.
3. Would I have to get Connectfree or any other organisation to reconfigure anything?
4. How difficult is it to set up an SMTP server?
5. If it's worth going ahead does anyone here have any recommendations for a particular product (pref free, definately to run on XP (yes, I know i'd be better off building a lunix box, but the management won't allow any more boxes in the house (no, not even in the loft or the shed))).
OK, 5 questions :+))
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snipped-for-privacy@o2.co.uk wrote:

You can buy email services from someone else.
Many web hosting companies provide them with their hosting accounts but check if an SMTP server is part of the deal. For example 1&1 have it, 123-reg don't.
http://www.authsmtp.com offers a paid for service (I've used it - it's OK). Google also offers a free SMTP server.
Setting up your own SMTP server means that you be forever wondering whether your domain has been blacklisted when outgoing mail hasn't been received by the persons you are sending to. Having it on a IP connection called 'BT broadband' is not going to help in that respect - that service is a known dwelling of zombie trojan infected spam spewing 'family PCs'.
--
Adrian C

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Adrian C wrote:

Much the best idea. I can send via NTL, oops, Virgin Media or my own hosted service. I can get mail from either (or google mail). I can access my mail using a web interface on any of these services from anywhere. So, if I have an internet connection I can see my mail.
--
Rod

Hypothyroidism is a seriously debilitating condition with an insidious
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In article < snipped-for-privacy@m73g2000hsh.googlegroup

Simple answer is that you do NOT have to have BT as your service provider for your broadband service. Although the service runs over BT wires other ISP's can provide the service.
I'd recommend Ellipse.co.uk as a good all rounder good service and a call centre based in the UK ! Exeter actually, and part of Kingston telecoms group the "other" phone provider.
You can also get your own domain and get your e-mail from that like
www.myname.me.uk or similar saves a lot of buggering around.
Setting up your own mail server is fraught with another can of worms. Just change your ISP for a start, and then setup your own domain though me.eclipse.co.uk works very well and say good riddance to the present shower!.
Or if your areas cabled up then look at Virgin media, broadband is one thing they do quite well:)
and just go and do it:))
--
Tony Sayer



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I think you mean Eclipse. I've used them in the past but migrated because they were not able to offer link bundling. I found their customer service respectable if one has a business account but not with a consumer account - respponse times on the phone could be > 30 mins (I will accept 5 absolute max) and by email/tracking anything up to a week (I will accept same day).
Nonetheless I think that they are one of the least bad providers in a poor market.

Eclipse does allow incoming SMTP connections if one wants it, and will offer static addressing. AFAIK, Virgin does not offer static addressing or allow incoming SMTP.
Both allow accesses to third party mail servers however.
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Indeed;)..
Not it might seem a problem for the OP..

Well we've used both and haven't noticed any difference, 'tho e-mail support is graded by you when you make the call anyway as urgent and not urgent etc. They did go through a bad period quite sometime ago but have been fine since, streets ahead of BT..
However I haven't had to use support much at all as theirs been sod all to complain about:)

Indeed. I've been involved in a project recently where BT were involved
Incompetence squared .. nay cubed!:(..

No but is that really a consideration for the O/P he just wants a reliable mail service we use both VM where cabled and Eclipse and both are fine:))

--
Tony Sayer



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Mmm. I agree.

Also true. It's just that on the very odd occasion when support is needed, it tends to be a serious and urgent issue and then response time is important.

Indeed.
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I have been with them for 7-8 years but looking round at ADSL now since VM will be intercepting your browsing and passing the information on to a third party (Phorm - with connections to Russia and China). And - they are currently hitting people in the Preston area with a speed reduction (from 11am to midnight) to 1/4 after 20 minutes use - to be deployed nationwide soon(?).
Geo
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That's become less of a probability of late
Phorm are getting all kinds of shit thrown at them atm

I thought it was dropping connection speed by 1/3 if you go over 1Gif between 4pm and midnight
--
geoff

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Don't think that will make any difference. Most residential ISPs are chosen only on price. Competition in the residential sector has pushed the price down below the cost of providing the service (and this is on top of many of the ISPs now having a leagacy of decrepid infrastructure which despirately all needs replacing, for which they have no money). They are basically now mostly competing to be the worst^H^H^H^H^Hcheapest. ISPs have to find other sources of income to finance the basic service, and this is one of the avenues.
There will remain ISPs who decide to charge the customer the full cost of the service in exchange for not using Phorm and other measures to make up the funds, but given most users choose only on price and don't understand or don't object to Phorm, I think you can expect it to be more common that additional funding for the basic services will be recovered from somewhere in order to quote lowest prices to the masses.
If you want a service which gives you full speed all the time and doesn't filter/shape and sell your inside leg measurement to the chinese and has a call centre which speaks english, you must expect to pay for it. I do.
--
Andrew Gabriel
[email address is not usable -- followup in the newsgroup]
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Thats hardly a tech or performance problem is it?. And it might not yet happen..

And your source for that is?.
They seem to be offering ever faster speeds for the same or little more money we're to be getting 10 Meg services before long..
Unlike the ADSL variant where you have to live in the bloody exchange for that to happen;!..

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Tony Sayer



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On 2008-04-12 10:46:06 +0100, snipped-for-privacy@o2.co.uk said:

Setting up your own SMTP server is ultimately the way of having complete control of your mail services, but goes hand in hand with having your own domain name as well.
However, there are some caveats.
- The ISP must allow incoming connections on TCP port 25 from any address on the internet. They may block all incoming port 25 connections to prevent you from running your own server because they want to control traffic or to lock you into the use of their service.
- They should allow outgoing TCP port 25 connections to any internet address as well. That way, your SMTP server can delivr mail directly to the SMTP servers of your addressees without going through the ISP's server and potentially introducing unnecessary delays. It is possible to set up your SMTP server to use theirs as an outgoing relay.
- If you are running some kind of router with NAT, you would need to arrange either a DMZ address or a port mapping on the router such that an incoming TCP/25 connection gets mapped to the machine running your server. The implication of that, if you are going to run the SMTP server on your workstation is that you are opening it up to DOS and other attacks on port 25. If the server software that you choose has some vulnerabilities, it may be possible for an attacker to screw up your mail or launch an attack in some othe way compromising your machine. Windows is not a particularly secure platform for running network service applications, which is why many companies running Exchange do so behind a front end Unix SMTP server rather than exposing Exchange to the internet. XP workstation has the potential to allow more vulnerabilities because as a nominal client side platform it is not really intended to run services in any substantial way. In effect you are trusting Microsoft (bad idea with anyhting involving networking) and the quality of any SMTP server software.
- Your ISP may well be doing dynamic IP addressing. This is fairly typical for budget connections. SMTP mail services require that if you are running your own mail domain and server that you advertise the address of your SMTP server in a DNS server for your domain. (search for MX record). The original intent in the designs was that the address should remain static for a long time. An ISP using dynamic addressing may change it at any time although the better ones don't unless you drop your connection. To get around this, there are services such as DynDNS which will allow your computer or router to update a DNS server if your IP address changes. This works reasonably well except that it may take time for the changes to propagate to SMTP servers wishing to send you mail. That can result in delays after addresses change.
Provided that this connectivity is permitted by the ISP, you can run your own server together with your own domain name. In effect, that makes you independent of the ISP or mail and givs you easy portability to other ISPs. A change of ISP wold only require address changes on your side.
There certainly are SMTP servers around for XP workstation, which for small use would probably be OK. I would select by reading reviews. Linux is better as you say.
An alternative hosting approach would be to run virtual machines. If you have a substantial enough machine, you could run VMware and put a Linux virtual machine on Windows, or much better, host Windows as a VM on Linux. This has a side advantage that you can recover your Wndows environment very quickly when it inevitably breaks.
Having said all of this, a simpler solution to the whole issue may be to find a mail and DNS hosting service separate from your ISP, register a domain with it and use that for incoming and outgoing mail. Use of this would depend on whether your ISP allows outgoing port 25 connections to servers outside their world and POP or IMAP connections similarly. If they don't, then it's time to find another ISP.
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Andy Hall wrote:

For some years now I've used 'Virtual Names' (http://www.virtualnames.co.uk /) run by UK Servers Ltd. With their 'advanced forwarding account' you get up to 10 POP3 mailboxes, with good configurable spam filtering, webmail access and an SMTP relay for 10(+VAT) per year. Domains and DNS hosting (& DNS zone control panel) are also very cheap. Despite the low cost it's a first class service, reliable and fast. Highly recommended - and I've no connection with them except as a satisfied customer.

Although many mail providers, including the above, accept SMTP connections on port 225 to get round that problem.
--
Andy

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On Sat, 12 Apr 2008 02:46:06 -0700, cpvh wrote:

If you run your own SMTP server, apart from getting the software and setting it up (and there are loads of products out there including 'sendmail' itself)
(1) I am assuming that you have problems both picking up and sending mail, as you use the same SMTP server. Therefore you want to both receive and send mail via your own SMTP server.
(2) Therefore you will have to register your own domain name (e.g. mydomain.forme.net) and arrange for Domain Name Service (DNS) records to point to your IP address so that other SMTP servers know where to send the emails destined for you. Most won't accept emails from a server without an IP addrress which can be checked via DNS). This also means you need a fixed IP address (or have to register with a dynamic DNS service which will update DNS each time you get a different IP address).
(3) Once you have got your domain name and you have your SMTP server up and running any reasonable ISP should check your SMTP server to ensure that it is not an open relay (i.e. allows other people to use your SMTP server to relay email including SPAM) before opening port 25 (SMTP) for incoming traffic to your IP address.
So, although it is 'doable' you will have quite a bit of communication with people in support roles before it is all sorted.
Alternatively (as suggested elsewhere) just get a Gmail address - you can configure Gmail to allow you to pick up your email via POP3 and send your email to the Gmail server via secure SMTP (although I note that I am using my ISPs' SMTP server for my Gmail accounts). Alternatively Gmail supports IMAP4 which again should allow you to send and receive email via the Gmail servers and totally ignore your ISPs' servers.
HTH
Dave R
P.S. you could always load VMWare onto your PC and the pre-configured Ubuntu image, then run your Linux SMTP server within XP. Requires a certain amount of memory and 'grunt' to work well, though.
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A real learning opportunity there ;-)

Which with a budget consumer ISP is going to be challenging if they allow it at all..

I have found Gmail to be reasonable, but not always reliable - e.g. substantial delays in mail arrival sometimes. I wouldn't trust it as my main mail service, or for that matter Yahoo or any of the others of that ilk. A paid mail hosting service like 1&1 seems to be rather better.

Other way up works better.
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On Sat, 12 Apr 2008 02:46:06 -0700 (PDT), snipped-for-privacy@o2.co.uk wrote:

As others have said, get your own domain name and a seperate email provider. I use Heart Internet (http://www.heartinternet.co.uk/index.shtml ) good prices, great support (including telephone) and they provide POP access, a web client (if you're away from home) and their own smtp server for outgoing email. They also do good web hosting packages if your interested. David
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snipped-for-privacy@o2.co.uk wrote:

Not really.

Kind of

Again kind of

a doddle

No preferences on XP I use postfix on Linux.
The problem is that many spammers set up SMTP servers and use them to spam, so many organisations are getting clever in their email setup. One check is dialup address pools (normally including DHCP addresses and another is RDNS lookup.
What these mean is that when you send email, your server tries to connect to the receiving server. That server looks at your IP address, and if from a DHCP pool, it rejects the connection. Then when you start talking SMTP you identify yourself. The receiving server looks up the DNS entry for your IP address, and compares it with the name you claim to be. If they don't match, bye.
So, to be successful you need to be in a fixed IP range (or at least not a blacklisted range) and have RDNS lookups correct.
Or you could look at someone like gradwell who will let you set up an account on their SMTP servers.
--
Paul Matthews
snipped-for-privacy@cattytown.me.uk
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if you use your ISP's email package then when you move to another ISP you will lose your email account, and confuse all your contacts, so use googlemail instead www.gmail.com or something else free and independent of yr isp before you're trapped
--

[george]

~



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On 2008-04-13 00:28:51 +0100, "George \(dicegeorge\)"

In principle, having email addresses separate to the ISP is a good idea for portability reasons.
Using Google mail, Yahoo mail, Hotmail, ... is less of a good idea because many mail recipients and other email services have SPAM filters to drop mail from anybody at these domain addresses. Some Ecommerce sites will not accept orders from users using these mail domains.
The correct solution to assure email address portability is to register one's own domain name and to use an email hosting service.
Google etc. email accounts are useful for the different purpose of having disposable email addresses.
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On Sun, 13 Apr 2008 08:52:56 +0100, Andy Hall wrote:

On the subject of portable email addresses - I still have some of my BT Internet/ Talk21 email addresses even though I am currently on another carrier (I knew NTL before she was a Virgin...).
I kept some originally by having a dial in PAYG account which I used once every 6 months; they then did a deal where you pay 1.50 a month to keep your email addresses alive. This was at the time they closed down Talk21 as a competitor to Hotmail. This seems like a good idea; I wonder if other ISPs offer anything similar?
Strangely, I still have a working email account at '123isp' which I used years back because they could bond two ISDN sessions together to get a 128K link, something that BT didn't offer at the time. I quit them when Broadband became available at my local exchange but they never seem to have cancelled my email account. I suspect a lot of small ISPs may be a little flaky on cancelling email and web access when customers migrate.
Still, this is drifting off topic for an OT post.....
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