Question

is anybody else having issues with delivering mail to charter.net?

I am suddenly having issues getting email delivered to charter.net and rr.com, which are both part of spectrum. I don’t know if the block is based on domain or ip or maybe a block of ips. I’m asking here on the off chance that a block on DO IPs got blocked for some reason.

SMTP via Posfix on CentOS

Subscribe
Share

So my concern here has started to move toward panic. We just got blocked by the msn.com and hotmail.com. The message clearly states that a range of addresses at our ISP are being blocked rather than an issue that is specific to our email sending. When I check our logs, outbound to msn.com and hotmail.com is small, but even one password reset confirmation not getting through is enough to be a problem. We have no problems for years and now we have encountered a couple of major blocks within the last few weeks. Has anybody else noticed a significant increase in email deliverability problems recently? Does DO have something significant going on here?


Submit an answer
You can type!ref in this text area to quickly search our full set of tutorials, documentation & marketplace offerings and insert the link!

These answers are provided by our Community. If you find them useful, show some love by clicking the heart. If you run into issues leave a comment, or add your own answer to help others.

yep, that is the standard message charter is sending for too much mail from a range of addresses under the same ISP that they don’t like. Most of the other email providers at least put the word “range” into the message, but charter seems to be happy sending us on an endless chase to try to convince them that we are not sending too much mail.

There really is no way to get unblocked at Charter right now. I had one address that worked and 5 others that didn’t, but there is no way to know when more addresses might get added to the blocked range.

I believe the only way to have this fixed at DO is for DO to isolate a set of addresses for outbound email and then allow us to request them with an explanation of what email will be sent. But then DO would need a way to shutdown or punish offenders and that is more overhead on them.

So… sendgrid or aws sms or one of the other services out there. The situation is way beyond frustrating…

And the battle rages on… I consider having a private sending ip address essential to managing our sending reputation. We started with SendGrid, but the price went to $79 a month for any account that would support a private address. We moved to SparkPost, but now they are raising their prices from $29 a month (for my 50k messages and a private address) to $75 a month. We pay about $80 a month to host our application on DigitalOcean, so maying the same amount to simply send email seems ridiculous. I guess it’s time to try AWS. Would love to get some help here from DigitalOcean because putting customer in a position where they have to use an AWS service just doesn’t seem right. Couldn’t a block of addresses be set aside for outbound email and those addresses limited to longer term lease and some level of management so they are not abused and sent back to the pool?

It might be a general email deliverability problem - you can run a test with mailgenius.com and see if something is off with your technical setup and authentication.

I submitted a ticket to Digital Ocean and was essentially told it’s probably best not to run my own mail server. They won’t do anything to help. I’m less than thrilled with this response, since I’ve been running secure mailservers for the last 8 years with Rackspace, and had no problem getting bad IP’s delisted until moving to DO.

But, I’ve also not even found a way to REQUEST a delisting through charter/spectrum. There’s nothing on the message except that their server won’t talk to me. No email address, no redress instructions, nada. If anyone has successfully spoken with Spectrum, I’d like to know how.

This is just another reason no one should ever use ISP email. They pretty much universally suck. Not to mention transferring your mail is a pain if you have to switch ISP’s.

seems that we are affected by this too. Is DigitalOcean able to do anything to assist us? I’ve already reached out to charter/specturm with no response.

Same problem here with roadrunner. Emails are blocked by charter.net Only solution found: create a gmail account, add your own email address in gmail, and use the gmail smtp to send emails. The From: will be your own email (not gmail). I guess DO is not the right choice anymore.

host mx1.charter.net[68.114.188.69] said: 452 4.1.1 Too
    much mail from this address E2210 (in reply to RCPT TO command)

Final-Recipient: rfc822;redacted@charter.net
Original-Recipient: rfc822;redacted@charter.net
Action: failed
Status: 4.1.1
Remote-MTA: dns; mx1.charter.net
Diagnostic-Code: smtp; 452 4.1.1 Too much mail from this address E2210

How much is “too much mail”?

I’m pretty darn certain no one is using my server to SPAM (I would have heard of it). We do a bulk email at most once a month, and we send out probably a dozen or so sales receipts to Charter (likely much less).

Since I’m a Spectrum customer, I came up with a workaround. I created a new email RoadRunner email account for my server and set up msmtp to send mail through it. Then I set up a router in Exim that directs messages bound for our local RoadRunner domain to msmtp via a pipe, so that those messages are handed off over an authernticated connection. This process bypasses my DKIM signing and would fail SPF validation, but Charter doesn’t seem to care, and my users are getting their messages again, so I’m happy.

If I wasn’t a Charter customer, I could probably do something similar with another email provider, though in that case I’d probably have updated my anti-spam DNS settings.

I want to add a status update for others that have run into similar problems. We spent a lot of time with an executive escalation on Spectrum and in the end the problem is as a few others have explained, Spectrum has blocked ranges of IP addresses that cover much of DO’s address space and they will not unblock any of these addresses until DO “get’s their problem under control”. On the other side equation, DO cannot justify the mail coming from every address that they own, so they cannot meet Spectrum’s demands. As much as I would like to blame Spectrum for their heavy handed practices or DO for not keep the spammers out, we all know that the problem is really with the spammers and phishers that are making it so difficult for any of us to send mail.

I went back and looked at sendgrid again and am currently sending mail through an “essentials” account for $9.95 a month. I still find their price for a dedicated IP too high, at $79 a month, but the essentials account is actually working pretty well right now. They are easy to work with and they also have a free plan if you are not sending a lot of mail.

I am also looking at Amazon’s Simple Email Service (SES), but it more complicated than using sendgrid. The only advantage I see right now is that a dedicated IP address is only an extra $24 a month.

I’ve been struggling with both Spectrum and Microsoft for about a month or so now, too. I host a small site for a non-proft that I’m part of on a Droplet that I otherwise use for personal hosting. I run a few mailman lists for the organization that we use to send maybe 200 emails/week to our members, if we’re lucky. I’ve been doing this for a few years and have become quite familiar with all the mail-related acronyms: RDNS, SPF, DKIM, DMARK, and everything is in order and the server itself is not blacklisted anywhere that I can find.

With our predominant local ISP being Spectrum (formerly Time Warner), we have lots of members using their RoadRunner email accounts, which was the first ISP where I noticed issues. Unfortunately the error message Spectrum returns is simply “SMTP server unavailable,” which is completely unhelpful, especially when I can send from another (non-DO) email address with no problems whatsoever.

I am a Spectrum customer myself, so I have an email address with which to test. I’ve tried reaching out to support, but I get nowhere. Emails to various postmaster@, ubblock@, etc. addresses either bounce or go unanswered.

What cued me in to where the problem actually lies was when hotmail and outlook.com mail started bouncing. Microsoft provided a bit useful bounce error message indicating that we were blocked because of a wider block on a range of IP addresses. With some searching, I came across this form, and I got an email within less than 24 hours indicating that we were “conditionally unblocked.”

Spectrum is still an issue. I’m now thinking that I may move the non-profit’s site onto a server I have with a different host to see if that makes a difference. I don’t want to do that as the DO server has better resources, but not being able to send email to Spectrum, as much as I want to tell all of our members to switch to something better, is a real deal breaker. We have no real budget for web/email services, so going to a dedicated email provider really isn’t an option for us.