A hugely significant part of your web presence and company brand is email. It is just as important as your website. It needs to be professional looking and, most importantly, when sent to a particular place, it needs to get there.
What are email blacklists?
Email blacklists are databases used by organizations to decide if the IP connecting to a certain mail server is a spammer someone known to send invalid messages. If you don’t know the IP address that you send you mail from (not necessarily your own IP address) contact your host or internet service provider.
They aim to improve mail security and most of them are community managed. If you (your mail server’s IP) are listed in any of these databases and you try to send an e-mail to a server that uses that particular database to filter spam, you will find out that you cannot send e-mails to that host.
One such system is SORBS which blacklisted my IP once. Due to the fact that SORBS is run by volunteers and requests money to remove blocks, I am not sure that many organizations use it in their spam prevention plans. Sometimes the issue that will create a blacklisting is very small, yet removing it becomes something very big.
Are you on an email blacklist?
There are several sites where you can enter the IP address that your mail is sent from to check if you are on a blacklist.
Most of the time, you can remove your IP from any blacklist by visiting their site and submitting a removal form. Such information may include proof that you have ceased any actions that got your IP blacklisted in the first place, or may not require anything but your mere interaction, to demonstrate that you are not a robot or a script. Or you can get your host to do this. However this can take about a week! What do you do in the meantime?
Get your host to route your mail through a different IP address
This will stop the problem in the short term while you negotiate the de-listing with the blacklisting company.
Use Gmail to send and receive mail from the blacklisted address
Whether or not you are on an email blacklist it’s good to have backup. I can’t think of anything better than Google Mail. Here you can store up to 7340 MB of emails!
Forward all your mail to your Gmail account
This is how I do this using cPanel. To forward email from cPanel to Gmail:
- Log in to your cPanel administration page
- Click on the top left icon “Email Accounts”
- Click on the Access Webmail globe next to the email address you want to access
- Enter password
- Then when you get to the screen where you choose RoundCube, Squirrel Mail or Horde, click the “Forwarding” or “Forwarding options” and get a copy of all the mail you receive sent to your Gmail address.
How to add a custom “From:” address in Gmail:
- Then in Gmail, click Settings > Accounts then click “Add another email address you own” and enter your other email address.
- Google will then send you an email with a confirmation code to this other email address which you should enter in the window that has popped up from Gmail.
The benefit of doing this Gmail set up is that you can reply to emails sent to any other email address (as long as you click the “Reply from the same address the message was sent to” option) and make it look like the replies are being sent from the other address rather than Gmail. Also when composing a new mail in Gmail you have the option of which email address you want the email to be sent from in the dropdown menu next to the From:
Forwarding all mail to Gmail and adding custom “From:” addresses is by no means a fool-proof or fale-safe plan for email. However it’s incredibly useful to have copies of the mail that’s sent to your inbox and the ability to reply to that mail from the Gmail interface on a browser is a great way of nullifying the painful effects of a blacklisting!