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Autoresponder and/or Message Send Limits

Discussion in 'E-mail Discussions' started by Daniel S. Gurrola II, Sep 9, 2016.

  1. Daniel S. Gurrola II

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    I am VERY familiar with cPanel, but this is the first time I have actually ran into this specific event and after hours of searching (my GoogleFu feels very weak and impotent!) I have not been able to get an answer without cracking open /usr/local/cpanel/bin/autorespond which I would really rather NOT do.

    In this particular case I want to look at this not as a root admin, but the customer of a hosting service. Meaning, all configuration and work must be completed by the domain owner through their cPanel access.

    An autoresponder is setup to respond as a confirmation to the sender that what was sent was received.

    If a sender sends more than 6 messages in rapid succession, all messages are received (I have been testing with 12) and any messages beyond the first 6 received are flat out autoresponder blind and nothing is sent. Reviewing Email Trace (cPanel 56.0 build 24) shows everything you would expect to see, but nothing at all indicating that nothing will happen with the remaining autoresponder messages expected.

    Autoresponder interval is set to 0 which means per documentation that "If you set the interval to 0, the system sends an autoresponse to each email." and I do not see any warnings, caveats, or exceptions, but clearly there are.

    I am hoping someone can point me to some more technical documentation which explains email sending limits that are not configurable or optional.

    If by chance there is another, better, safer, way to do this I am all ears, but even so, this should be something cPanel admins and users have knowledge of.

    Just to make sure I am clear (sorry, but I was unable to edit) I am hoping to better understand:

    Any not configurable sending limits not just autoresponders.

    Wait time required before next autoresponder message will be sent after hitting this apparently hard coded limit.

    Time delay to give to senders to use between sending messages to avoid this issue. This may not be possible on their side, but this would be good to know anyway.​
     
    #1 Daniel S. Gurrola II, Sep 9, 2016
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 12, 2016
  2. ruzbehraja

    ruzbehraja Well-Known Member

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    To summarize: All messages being sent to you are received successfully, but only the first 6 emails are sent an Auto-Response.

    There are numerous SMTP settings in the Exim Advanced Configuration. Eg:

    smtp_accept_max:
    This option specifies the maximum number of simultaneous incoming SMTP calls that Exim will accept. It applies only to the listening daemon; there is no control (in Exim) when incoming SMTP is being handled by inetd. If the value is set to zero, no limit is applied. However, it is required to be non-zero if either smtp_accept_max_per_host orsmtp_accept_queue is set. See also smtp_accept_reserve and smtp_load_reserve.

    A new SMTP connection is immediately rejected if the smtp_accept_max limit has been reached. If not, Exim first checkssmtp_accept_max_per_host. If that limit has not been reached for the client host, smtp_accept_reserve andsmtp_load_reserve are then checked before accepting the connection.

    What does this actually mean? Can you post a sample? Do you see that the Auto-Response messages have been sent?

    Email trace has an option to see queued and failed messages too.
     
  3. Daniel S. Gurrola II

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    Thank you for your reply. Appreciate the time. Let me try again...

    This is important because for this specific instance I am a user with access to the account and website(s) on the account.

    This is reproducible, but I do not have access to another cPanel installation at any level at this time. Typically not a problem, but for the next month, not so.

    Actions That Cause the Undesired Event

    from@send.com sends more than 6 separate and intentionally separate messages in rapid succession to to@receive.com. In this case the mailer is a customer's automated invoicing system is sending the mail.
    Expected Behavior

    All messages sent to to@receive.com are received.

    All received messages will be responded to by autoresponder. Autoreponder is configured for to@receive.com with an interval of 0.

    Spam Assassin is not enabled, Spam Experts is being used instead. Spam Experts logging will show all message activity as successful. Whatever the number of messages are received for to@receive.com, all are shown accepted and delivered.

    Outgoing SPAM inspection is not enabled.

    cPanel Email Trace logging shows every Spam Expert accepted message intended for to@received.com as delivered to mailbox.
    Unexpected/Undesired Behavior

    Only first 6 messages in any group of messages from one sender to one recipient are responded to via Autoresponder which is configured to respond to all messages (interval = 0).​

    So far so good - I don't think I can break this down any simpler. I'm not sure where my communication introduced confusion, but I am really hoping this helps clear up the situation being experienced and what is happening.



    Now we move from "customer" to as "administrator" as I can get - remember, I do not have root access.

    I spent the better part of yesterday testing different intervals before I gave up baby sitting the send button and did it via delayed delivery in Outlook.

    I was sending in groups of 12 messages with specific intervals between sends - two intervals here: interval between each sent message and interval between each group of messages. In all, including inadvertent sends outside of my testing windows I sent 117 test messages.

    Testing since my original post showed me that as long as my groups of 12 were sent with a gap of >30 mins to <45 mins I would not encounter additional autoresponder issues beyond what I was trying to determine.

    Spam Experts shows 117 messages received (sender and recipient removed) - In the data below the blue messages received autoresponder responses.

    12 messages sent 30 seconds apart from each other
    9/11/2016 02:00 Test 001 - 18:00:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/11/2016 02:00 Test 002 - 18:00:30 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/11/2016 02:01 Test 003 - 18:01:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/11/2016 02:01 Test 004 - 18:01:30 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/11/2016 02:02 Test 005 - 18:02:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/11/2016 02:02 Test 006 - 18:02:30 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered

    9/11/2016 02:03 Test 007 - 18:03:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/11/2016 02:03 Test 008 - 18:03:30 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/11/2016 02:04 Test 009 - 18:04:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/11/2016 02:04 Test 010 - 18:04:30 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/11/2016 02:05 Test 011 - 18:05:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/11/2016 02:05 Test 012 - 18:05:30 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered


    ...54 minutes, 30 seconds...

    12 messages sent 60 seconds apart from each other
    9/11/2016 03:00 Test 013 - 19:00:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/11/2016 03:01 Test 014 - 19:01:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/11/2016 03:02 Test 015 - 19:02:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/11/2016 03:03 Test 016 - 19:03:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/11/2016 03:04 Test 017 - 19:04:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/11/2016 03:05 Test 018 - 19:05:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered

    9/11/2016 03:06 Test 019 - 19:06:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/11/2016 03:07 Test 020 - 19:07:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/11/2016 03:08 Test 021 - 19:08:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/11/2016 03:09 Test 022 - 19:09:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/11/2016 03:10 Test 023 - 19:10:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/11/2016 03:11 Test 024 - 19:11:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered


    ...49 minutes, 30 seconds...


    12 messages sent 2 minutes apart from each other - red times are where delayed delivery did not transpire as directed for whatever reason, but were close (inspected raw headers for time)
    9/11/2016 04:00 Test 025 - 20:00:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/11/2016 04:02 Test 026 - 20:02:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/11/2016 04:04 Test 027 - 20:04:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/11/2016 04:05 Test 028 - 20:06:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered

    9/11/2016 04:08 Test 029 - 20:08:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/11/2016 04:10 Test 030 - 20:10:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered

    9/11/2016 04:12 Test 031 - 20:12:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/11/2016 04:14 Test 032 - 20:14:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/11/2016 04:16 Test 033 - 20:16:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/11/2016 04:18 Test 034 - 20:18:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/11/2016 04:20 Test 035 - 20:20:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/11/2016 04:22 Test 036 - 20:22:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered


    ...45 minutes exactly...

    12 messages sent 3 minutes apart from each other
    9/11/2016 05:07 Test 037 - 21:07:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/11/2016 05:10 Test 038 - 21:10:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/11/2016 05:13 Test 039 - 21:13:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/11/2016 05:16 Test 040 - 21:16:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/11/2016 05:19 Test 041 - 21:19:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/11/2016 05:22 Test 042 - 21:22:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered

    9/11/2016 05:25 Test 043 - 21:25:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/11/2016 05:28 Test 044 - 21:28:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/11/2016 05:31 Test 045 - 21:31:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/11/2016 05:34 Test 046 - 21:34:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/11/2016 05:37 Test 047 - 21:37:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/11/2016 05:40 Test 048 - 21:40:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered


    ...30 minutes exactly...

    12 messages sent 4 minutes apart from each other
    9/11/2016 06:10 Test 050 - 22:10:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/11/2016 06:14 Test 051 - 22:14:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/11/2016 06:22 Test 053 - 22:22:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/11/2016 06:26 Test 054 - 22:26:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    not getting autoresponders as expected...stopped.


    ...32 minutes exactly...


    12 messages sent 4 minutes apart from each other
    9/11/2016 06:58 Test 055 - 22:58:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/11/2016 07:02 Test 056 - 23:02:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/11/2016 07:06 Test 057 - 23:06:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/11/2016 07:10 Test 058 - 23:10:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/11/2016 07:14 Test 059 - 23:14:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/11/2016 07:18 Test 060 - 23:18:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered

    9/11/2016 07:22 Test 061 - 23:22:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/11/2016 07:26 Test 062 - 23:26:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/11/2016 07:30 Test 063 - 23:30:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/11/2016 07:34 Test 064 - 23:34:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/11/2016 07:38 Test 065 - 23:38:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/11/2016 07:42 Test 065 - 23:42:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/11/2016 07:46 Test 066 - 23:46:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered


    ...8 hours, 31 minutes...

    12 messages sent 5 minutes apart from each other - on exception was 8 min and then 5 minute interval continued and 1 additional was sent to account for the one additionally delayed message
    9/11/2016 23:15 Test 067 - 15:15:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/11/2016 23:20 Test 068 - 15:20:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/11/2016 23:25 Test 069 - 15:25:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/11/2016 23:30 Test 070 - 15:30:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/11/2016 23:35 Test 071 - 15:35:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/11/2016 23:43 Test 072 - 15:43:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered

    9/11/2016 23:48 Test 073 - 15:48:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/11/2016 23:53 Test 074 - 15:53:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/11/2016 23:58 Test 075 - 15:58:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/12/2016 00:03 Test 076 - 16:03:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/12/2016 00:08 Test 077 - 16:08:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/12/2016 00:13 Test 076 - 16:13:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/12/2016 00:18 Test 077 - 16:18:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered


    5 minute intervals appear to work, but what if the time between incidents was in that >35-45 minute range?

    ...3 hours, 7 minutes... not intentional

    9/12/2016 03:25 Test 078 - 19:25:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/12/2016 03:27 Test 082 - 19:45:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/12/2016 03:51 Test 104 - 01:04:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered

    Initial scripted delayed send not working - at all! go back to regular method. Basically wait and start again.

    ...1 hour, 9 minutes...

    12 messages sent 5 minutes apart from each other

    9/12/2016 05:00 Test 079 - 21:00:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/12/2016 05:05 Test 080 - 21:05:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/12/2016 05:10 Test 081 - 21:10:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/12/2016 05:16 Test 082 - 21:15:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/12/2016 05:21 Test 083 - 21:20:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/12/2016 05:25 Test 084 - 21:25:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/12/2016 05:30 Test 085 - 21:30:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered

    9/12/2016 05:35 Test 086 - 21:35:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/12/2016 05:40 Test 087 - 21:40:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/12/2016 05:45 Test 088 - 21:45:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/12/2016 05:50 Test 089 - 21:50:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/12/2016 05:55 Test 090 - 21:55:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered

    7 of 12 autoresponders received, better than 6, but not as good as 12 that were had after the +8 hour gap.


    ...40 minutes exactly...

    12 messages sent 4 minutes apart from each other
    9/12/2016 06:35 Test 091 - 22:35:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/12/2016 06:39 Test 092 - 22:39:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/12/2016 06:43 Test 093 - 22:43:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/12/2016 06:48 Test 094 - 22:47:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/12/2016 06:52 Test 095 - 22:51:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/12/2016 06:55 Test 096 - 22:55:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered

    9/12/2016 07:00 Test 097 - 22:59:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/12/2016 07:03 Test 098 - 23:03:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/12/2016 07:08 Test 099 - 23:07:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/12/2016 07:15 Test 101 - 23:15:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/12/2016 07:16 Test 100 - 23:11:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/12/2016 07:19 Test 102 - 23:19:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered


    A long wait >= 1 hour may allow shorter intervals, unfortunately these tests did not fire off exactly as planned.

    ...4 hours, 41 minutes...

    12 messages sent 5 minutes apart from each other
    9/12/2016 12:00 Test 103 - 04:00:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/12/2016 12:05 Test 104 - 04:05:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/12/2016 12:10 Test 105 - 04:10:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/12/2016 12:15 Test 106 - 04:15:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/12/2016 12:21 Test 107 - 04:20:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/12/2016 12:25 Test 108 - 04:25:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/12/2016 12:30 Test 109 - 04:30:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/12/2016 12:36 Test 110 - 04:35:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/12/2016 12:41 Test 111 - 04:40:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/12/2016 12:45 Test 112 - 04:45:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/12/2016 12:50 Test 113 - 04:50:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered
    9/12/2016 12:55 Test 114 - 04:55:00 Accepted, Whitelisted sender delivered


    Again the 5 minute gap appears to be a winner, but it was after another long rest so that is inconclusive for me at this time.​

    This logging data is not exactly easy to get from cPanel. Email trace settings were set to: show successes, show deferred, show failures, and show in-progress with max results by type set to unlimited. Email Trace shows last message activity for my target with autoresponder issue as (I did not include surrounding email trace information - it was irrelevant to the issue being for other addresses altogether):

    Code:
    Sender Sent Time Recipient Delivered To Out Time Size Result
    sender1@from.com 9/12/2016 22:15:22 to@receive.com to@receive.com 9/12/2016 22:15:22 308.89 KB Accepted
    sender1@from.com 9/12/2016 22:15:22 to@receive.com .../home/cpanelaccount/.autorespond 9/12/2016 22:15:22 308.89 KB Accepted
    to@receive.com 9/12/2016 22:15:22 sender1@from.com sender1@from.com 9/12/2016 22:15:22 769 bytes Accepted
    
    sender2@from.com 9/12/2016 22:08:22 to@receive.com to@receive.com 9/12/2016 22:08:22 107.04 KB Accepted
    sender2@from.com 9/12/2016 22:08:22 to@receive.com .../home/cpanelaccount/.autorespond 9/12/2016 22:08:22 107.04 KB Accepted
    to@receive.com 9/12/2016 22:08:22 sender2@from.com sender2@from.com 9/12/2016 22:08:22 809 bytes Accepted
    
    sender3@from.com 9/12/2016 20:09:20 to@receive.com to@receive.com 9/12/2016 20:09:20 9.34 KB Accepted
    sender3@from.com 9/12/2016 20:09:20 to@receive.com .../home/cpanelaccount/.autorespond 9/12/2016 20:09:20 9.34 KB Accepted
    missing auto responder send
    
    sender4@from.com 9/12/2016 18:32:18 to@receive.com to@receive.com 9/12/2016 18:32:18 9.32 KB Accepted
    sender4@from.com 9/12/2016 18:32:18 to@receive.com .../home/cpanelaccount/.autorespond 9/12/2016 18:32:18 9.32 KB Accepted
    missing auto responder send
    
    sender5@from.com 9/12/2016 18:08:18 to@receive.com to@receive.com 9/12/2016 18:08:18 3.99 KB Accepted
    sender5@from.com 9/12/2016 18:08:18 to@receive.com .../home/cpanelaccount/.autorespond 9/12/2016 18:08:18 3.99 KB Accepted
    to@receive.com 9/12/2016 18:08:18 sender5@from.com sender5@from.com 9/12/2016 18:08:18 735 bytes Accepted 
    The example is just like those above where the autoresponder send is missing - so no, I do not see the Auto-Response messages as being sent. It's as if it was never supposed to happen, no error, no warning, no indication of any issue whatsoever.

    I'm going to do two new sets of 12 messages sent 4 mins apart from each other first, then wait 1 hour and do 5 minute intervals. I'll post back results later. Email trace data for all of my previous tests is not showing up, which makes NO SENSE at all, but I guess that's a new issue altogether I suppose.
     
    #3 Daniel S. Gurrola II, Sep 13, 2016
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 19, 2016
  4. ruzbehraja

    ruzbehraja Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like you should open a cPanel Support Ticket and let them investigate it.
     
  5. cPanelMichael

    cPanelMichael Forums Analyst
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    Hello,

    I'd recommend reaching out to whomever has root access to this system for some additional investigation. For instance, the output in /var/log/exim_mainlog when this happens might provide some useful information, as it's possible the outgoing email is rate limited.

    Thank you.
     
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