AOL/Compuserve Returning Emails

Jeff75

Well-Known Member
Apr 11, 2003
555
0
166
Several of my clients have complained the past two days about AOL returning their emails. I haven't made any changes to the server and the last time I upgraded cPanel was about 4 days ago, to the latest STABLE version.

I tried searching the forums and Google and couldn't find anything about this error. Does anybody have any idea what this means and how to fix it? I need to fix it ASAP.

[email protected]
SMTP error from remote mailer after end of data:
host mailin-01.mx.aol.com [64.12.138.152]: 500 SYNTAX ERROR, COMMAND UNRECOGNIZED
The emails have been sent through Outlook, Outlook Express, and SquirrelMail.
 

Jeff75

Well-Known Member
Apr 11, 2003
555
0
166
I just tried sending two test emails (one in plain text and another in HTML) to see if AOL was just rejecting HTML formatted mail. Both of the emails were returned.

I wonder if this is something where AOL is blocking any email from cPanel and/or Exim after reading bailey's post above. If anybody else has access to an AOL account, please try sending an email from your cPanel server and see if it gets returned. My data center wrote their postmaster about it yesterday and AOL still hasn't responded.
 

X-Istencedotcom

Well-Known Member
Apr 14, 2003
223
0
166
AOL is blocking a lot of things it shouldnt be blocking, and its mail server is screwed up.

I called up about it, and they said they couldnt do anything.

Trust AOL to do such a thing.
 

anton

Member
Oct 24, 2001
16
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301
We have only one server that is doing the same thing. We checked and the IP is not blocked.
 

nyjimbo

Well-Known Member
Jan 25, 2003
1,133
1
168
New York
We had all our IP's blocked until the reverse dns was fixed. Now suddenly we are seeing this same COMMAND UNRECOGNIZED error from any server, with or without cpanel. It doesnt seem to be ALL emails to AOL, just some and cant figure out what it is doing.
 

geekhosting

Well-Known Member
Apr 7, 2003
46
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156
well, i did some panning around and found a number to AOL postmaster support. They ran some "tests" to see if they were blocking my server and determined that they weren't and created a ticket. Well after 24 hours of nothing i finally get this email which might help others.

Also, they have a toll free number to open tickets with them
1-888-212-5537


I am contacting you regarding the ticket you opened with AOL concerning a mail delivery issue.

Please go to our web site and run some tests listed under the troubleshooting section. The web site is at http://postmaster.aol.com.

Another possibility to consider is we may block transactions from IPs that reverse to residential IPs (depending on agreements we have made with other ISPs). If your IP resolves back to dial.xx-xx-xx-xx.adelphia.net or hostx.hosting.com.XX.XX.XX.in-addr.arpa (these are just examples not the rule) you could be blocked for this reason. If you have checked all these things and still unable to deliver, It is possible that you are sending some type of newsletter or mass mailing that has some common characteristics, please do the following:

Send us a copy of the message that you are sending to [email protected] and PLEASE INCLUDE YOUR TICKET NUMBER AND "SYNTAX 500" IN THE SUBJECT LINE.

When we receive your email containing an example of what your sending, I will then check out some of the characteristics in the mail and see if there is anything that might be triggering our filters to not allow your mail through.

Thank you for your cooperation and patience...
--

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dan Rittenhouse
Postmaster/Data Analyst
AOL AntiSpam Operations
 
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Jeff75

Well-Known Member
Apr 11, 2003
555
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166
I just went through the steps at http://postmaster.aol.com./trouble.html and when I was on Step 6, I received this error:

this is a test
500 SYNTAX ERROR, COMMAND UNRECOGNIZED
.
500 SYNTAX ERROR, COMMAND UNRECOGNIZED

instead of:

250 OK

like in the screen capture of their example.
 

geekhosting

Well-Known Member
Apr 7, 2003
46
0
156
Call them up and get them on it. What could it hurt?

1-888-212-5537

When i called, the hold time was about 15 min but they are friendly and will do what they can to help

i would think that if they get a few thousand compalints they would be mroe willing to do something about it.
 

Jeff75

Well-Known Member
Apr 11, 2003
555
0
166
I've been on hold with them the past 10 minutes...hopefully they will pick up soon.
 

geekhosting

Well-Known Member
Apr 7, 2003
46
0
156
did you have any luck on this one yet? or did they just tell you they would open a trouble ticket?
 

Jeff75

Well-Known Member
Apr 11, 2003
555
0
166
They said they thought the problem was because reverse DNS wasn't enabled for the main IP address of the server. I tried sending a test email after it was enabled and the problem is still occuring.

I tried running the tests on another server in the same network which is also running FreeBSD but doesn't use cPanel/Exim and runs Qmail instead. The tests checked out OK, including the one that failed for the cPanel server:

this is a test.
.
250 OK

I wonder if something changed in the last cPanel update with how the mail is sent out with Exim and is causing problems with AOL's system.

I'm currently on the phone with AOL and will post an update if I'm able to resolve the problem.
 
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geekhosting

Well-Known Member
Apr 7, 2003
46
0
156
well i am not sure if it is a cpanel issue or AOL's problems, but i am leaning towards the AOL side of things. here is why

First attempt. Everything went ok
Sent email to client @ aol email address
returned:rolleyes:

Connected second time
here is the result
[email protected] [~]# telnet mailin-01.mx.aol.com 25
Trying 64.12.137.184...
Connected to mailin-01.mx.aol.com.
Escape character is '^]'.
220-rly-xj02.mx.aol.com ESMTP mail_relay_in-xj2.9; Wed, 22 Oct 2003 15:39:27 -0400
220-America Online (AOL) and its affiliated companies do not
220- authorize the use of its proprietary computers and computer
220- networks to accept, transmit, or distribute unsolicited bulk
220- e-mail sent from the internet. Effective immediately: AOL
220- may no longer accept connections from IP addresses which
220 have no reverse-DNS (PTR record) assigned.
HELO geek-hosting.net
250 rly-xj02.mx.aol.com OK
MAIL FROM:<[email protected]>
250 OK
RCPT TO:<[email protected]>
250 OK
DATA
354 START MAIL INPUT, END WITH "." ON A LINE BY ITSELF
testing manual telnet connection
.
500 SYNTAX ERROR, COMMAND UNRECOGNIZED
quit
Connection closed by foreign host.

Third time, much of the same but instead of getting a 500 erro i got
554 TRANSACTION FAILED



Who knows
 

geekhosting

Well-Known Member
Apr 7, 2003
46
0
156
well in this instance it is not rDNS either. I conducted the test as i was instructed to, sent the information to him and i get this response
test came through... i'm having trouble remembering if i was supposed to do anything on this....
isn't that just NICE
:(
 

anton

Member
Oct 24, 2001
16
0
301
We had the same problem. Now it is solved. It was the reverse DNS for the server's IP. Even though it would show correct in most tests. So please check your reverse DNS again
 

geekhosting

Well-Known Member
Apr 7, 2003
46
0
156
i can tell you with all certainty that this issue (on my machines atleast) is not caused by a reverse DNS entry. The reason i know this is that my rdns record has been in place for almost 9 months without problem and the DC can find no error in the records. I have been communicating with this guy at AOL for much of the day and for a lack of better words, he is stumped. Some email goes through, most bounces back... who knows. He has escalated my ticet to someone higher.... Oh the joy.
 

asuservice

Well-Known Member
Oct 24, 2001
83
0
306
AOL Woes

Hi All,
I'm not having this specific issue but thought I would give a heads up on dealing with AOL.

When first contacting AOL they ALWAYS tell you it's the reverse DNS ... it's not ... I have 23 boxes that were blocked and rDNS was installed and working on all. The folks at my data center had MANY more and the same was true.

Seems they just have a checklist they read from while giving the impression they are looking at your specific situation ... I don't think they do.

We fought them for two weeks cheking into every bull**** reason they could come up with.

FINALLY, we got the issue escalated to someone I feel was a REAL tech/admin and the issue was fixed. Total time involved 4-5 weeks

Sadly, I don't know if there's a way to bypass those entry level techs. As I'm sure you're aware most companies have combined Level 1 Tech Support and Customer Service. It's a coin toss as to whether you're actually talking to someone with any technical knowledge at all. IMHO this is the case with AOL.

Hopefully this info will help with the frustration you're experiencing. You have my deepest sympathies!

<Start IMHO Section ... aka Food for Thought> :D

I believe issues with contacting folks on AOL, Compuserve, Juno and most (if not all) free email providers is going to continue to get worse and worse. For a LONG time AOL issues have seemed to come up over and over and over.

I took a poll from my clients and we have decided to block AOL contact all together. We have collectively banned AOL users from signing up to newsletters/ezine ... some of us have even tweaked the boxes to entirely block mail to and from AOL all together.

I can hear the rants now ... "I'm Going To Lose Money" ... I doubt it.

When you consider the time dealing with the headaches you probably will find you MIGHT be loosing a couple bucks a month.

Here is a mailing I sent to my clients when the issues with AOL escalated ... I hope you find the links as informative as I did ...

<snip>
In my travels trying to gather as much info as possible to fight back with
AOL I have had a eye opening experience.

Many of you probably have heard my opinion of the usage of subscribers
from any free email provider, Juno and AOL. I was totally shocked at some of the
info I found. I knew the situation was going from worse to intolerable but look at these
links for more indepth info from a wide variety of sources.

As the Email Bounces, Again: A Study of False Positives ...
http://www.list-tips.com

Australia's Largest ISP, Bigpond, users blocked by AOL, Compuserve:
http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2003/04/24/1050777346690.html

How Long has this been going on? Check the date on this list post:
http://www.greatcircle.com/list-managers/mhonarc/list-managers.199911/msg00035.html

More Recent Issue bring down a mail server:
http://beta.ezboard.com/fezboardimportantannouncements.showMessage?topicID=424.topic

The First sentence of the last paragraph made me ROFLMAO ...
http://ezine-tips.com/articles/management/20020221.shtml

Just a posters two cents worth:
http://www.plaidworks.com/chuqui/blog/000184.html

Mailman ... one of the (if not THE) largest list management scripts
Check the last sentence of this post for the developers opinion:
http://mail.python.org/pipermail/mailman-developers/2003-April/014990.html

Last ... But Not Least ... Someone who has taken action from the
same school of thought I have:
http://emailuniverse.com/epub/2003/07/msg00002.html

PLEASE ... don't misunderstand me! Even tho' I have a VERY low
opinion of the free email services, AOL and Juno I DO understand
why you want those folks on your list. However, if you did a study
like the person posting in that last link do you think your ROI would
be far off from his?

<end snip>

In closing let me apologize for going OT on this post ... as you can probably tell this topic is a REAL sore spot for me.

I hope you find this info helpful ... feel free to share the info as you like.
 
C

crowfield99

Guest
Oh man we are getting the same problems also, has anyone got around this yet? the reverse DNS has been working for months on my server so its not that...
 

geekhosting

Well-Known Member
Apr 7, 2003
46
0
156
well, apparently after my hounding they have finally fixed one machine and they will not tell me what happend. I still have 18 to go, so it is going to be a really long month.

You will need to contact them on the issue and they should be able to get it resolved fairly quickly once they escalate your ticket( best of luck )
 

akoss

Member
Oct 6, 2003
10
0
151
Yup, looks like there may be a small change in my situation too... I've gone from SYNTAX ERROR to:

SMTP error from remote mailer after end of data:
host mailin-04.mx.aol.com [205.188.156.154]: 554 TRANSACTION FAILED

:confused:
 
C

crowfield99

Guest
Sending mail through the SSL Ports seems to be working. But if its not secure it ain't going through.. This for sure has to be an AOL Issue? Contacted the post master but no reply