Tagdns

Undelivered mail without a bounce

A few weeks ago I wrote a blog post focusing on one small part of bounce handling. Today I want to talk about delivery failures that aren’t bounces. This is really the biggest issue for companies who have written their own bulk sending servers. Modern bulk MTA appliances and ESPs correctly handle these types of bounces. However, when you’re troubleshooting it’s important to know...

SPF and TXT records and Go

A few days ago Laura noticed a bug in one of our in-house tools – it was sometimes marking an email as SPF Neutral when it should have been a valid SPF pass. I got around to debugging it today and traced it back to a bug in the Go standard library. A DNS TXT record seems pretty simple. You lookup a hostname, you get some strings back. Those strings can be used for all sorts of things, but...

DNS Flag Day

There are quite a lot of broken DNS servers out there. I’m sure that’s no surprise to you, but some of them might be yours. And you might not notice that until your domains stop working early next year. DNS is quite an old protocol, and when it was originally specified there wasn’t really a good way to extend the protocol to add new features. That was fixed about 19 years ago...

TLS certificates and CAA records

Transport Layer Security (TLS) is what gives you the little padlock in your browser bar. Some people still call it SSL, but TLS has been around for 18 years –  it’s time to move on. TLS provides two things. One is encryption of traffic as it goes across the wire, the other is a cryptographic proof that you’re talking to the domain you think you’re talking to. The second...

Are they using DKIM?

It’s easy to tell if a domain is using SPF – look up the TXT record for the domain and see if any of them begin with “v=spf1”. If one does, they’re using SPF. If none do, they’re not. (If more than one does? They’re publishing invalid SPF.) AOL are publishing SPF. Geocities aren’t. For DKIM it’s harder, as a DKIM key isn’t published at a...

Relaying Denied

I’ve got multiple clients right now looking for insights about bounce handling. This means I’m doing a lot of thought work about bounces and what they mean and how they match up and how different ISPs manage delivery and how different ESPs manage delivery and how it all fits together. One thing I’ve been trying to do is contextualize bounces based on what the reason is. Despite...

December 2016: The Month in Email

Happy New Year! We’re looking forward to some interesting new projects this year, both for our clients and for Word to the Wise. Stay tuned! December was a slow month for blogging, with everything going on. But we’re back on the horse now and ready to blog for 2017. List and subscription management continue to be hot topics, especially in the wake of the listbombing attacks earlier this...

Is your website up? Are you sure?

“What would you do for 25% more sales?” It’s panicked gift-buying season, and I got mail this morning from Boutique Academia, part of their final push before Christmas. They’re hoping for some Christmas sales in the next three days. They do make some lovely jewelry – ask Laura about her necklace some time – so I clicked on their mail. That’s not good. I...

DNSBLs, wildcards and domain expiration

Last week the megarbl.net domain name expired. Normally this would have no affect on anyone, but their domain registrar put in a wildcard DNS entry. Because of how DNSBLs work, this had the effect of causing every IP to be listed on the blocklist. The domain is now active and the listings due to the DNS wildcard are removed. How does a domain expiration lead to a DNSBL listing the whole internet...

HE.net DNS problems

Hurricane Electric had a significant outage of their authoritative DNS servers this morning, causing them to return valid responses with no results for all(?) queries. This will have caused delivery problems for any mail going to domains using HE.net DNS – which will include some of their colocation customers, as well as users of their free services – but also will have caused reverse...

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