Email from Droplet goes to Spam on Gmail and Outlook

February 24, 2015 3.1k views


After a lot of sweat and swearing, I got my droplet to be a LAMP server and email server. Email with postfix and dovecot.

SPF in place, DKIM in place, rDNS ok. postmaster email ok. All checked, working.

IP address of droplet is clean, no major DNSBL listings at all, only two at and, doesn't seem serious to me. I think I have removed the Chile one.

Tried various email testers to see if things are spammy, email scores are 100% clean, SPF and DKIM validate 100%

All looks perfect.

Yahoo mail does not complain, email gets delivered, but and Gmail send the emails to spam (if they are not in the contact list)

The only "thing" is the McAfee "threat intelligence"

It shows my droplet IP address as very red "High Risk", just as many other Digital Ocean IP addresses.

(tried my current shared hosting IP with McAfee, clean and green)

Maybe Gmail and Microsoft get their info from McAfee?

It makes my plan to do my own hosting via a Digital Ocean droplet go down the drain, if Digital Ocean cannot provide "clean" IP addresses, or IP's that just go in the inbox of Gmail and Outlook/Hotmail.... But it was a nice experiment :(

Or, are there any solutions??? (using Google hosted mail is not a solution for me, I want to unGoogle)

1 comment
  • After doing some more research, I found that the ip address I got from DigitalOcean in Singapore is the culprit. All neighboring IP addresses are also marked as high risk by McAfee.

    Checked other IP address ranges from DigitalOcean, in other countries, and they seem to be clean, mostly. Time to pack my bags, and move to another DigitalOcean location, and test again I guess......

1 Answer

Well, can answer my own question....

Moved to an "area" in DO where McAfee, see link above, didn't show any reds, and voila, my emails get delivered as they should.

It's time DO cleans up here and there. Singapore is quite "infected", and even the new ams3 shows a lot of red, my brother just made a droplet there.

If you need to send email that has to reach its recipients, check for McAfee reds. If red, most likely Google and Microsoft will reject the email, even if you have SPF, DKIM and the lot.

My problem is solved, I can send email, hope it stays that way.....

  • Good to know. This happened to me, and I've already had set SPF/TXT record.
    The problem was that PTR records didn't match. I set PTR record by changing Droplet's name to my server's domain name.
    Did you know that? It isn't very straight foward in its control panel.

  • Yes, I did...

    The thing is that even if your mail setup is 100% and passes all tests, you are out of luck (for a large part) if your IP address is in a "contaminated" range of IP addresses. There is nothing you can do. If your droplet needs to send email that needs to arrive to everyone, you need to find an droplet in a "clean" IP address range, and hope it stays that way.

  • Which location you moved to ?

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