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lusciousmango

Frustrating Email problems

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I've been with TCH for a few years now, and about every couple of months, my email just stops. I file trouble tickets and they're generally resolved within a day, but none of the mail that arrived during the "blackout" ever gets sent to me -- even after the problem is solved.

 

I don't know if it's a server specific issue, but I do know I've never been contacted by TCH to say "hey, we see your pattern here and we want to work to fix it." I've expressed concern when filing the trouble tickets that this *is* a pattern, too. But after the reported problem is solved, it doesn't seem that the overarching issue gets handled, because it keeps happening.

 

I understand that having a single portal of contact helps to keep their costs down, but sometimes I really wish I were able to call and get a live person.

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sorry to hear that, have you tried instead of submitting these tickets as they happen asked the help desk or told them that it happens in this way every few months, if you state there is a pattern or it happens a lot, they may have log files to have a look through.

 

i don't know this for 100% and its assuming mostly, one of the TCH staff on this forum (red in colour) should be to help on the issue.

 

hope it is resolved soon

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Hi lusciousmango,

 

Please PM me the ticket numbers for the last couple of tickets, and I'll take a look at the issue for you.

 

Alternatively IM me on tchguruandy

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I am experiencing email problems right now- can't send, and haven't received email since last night sometime. I had to use external email through yahoo to even post this, and to post to the help desk. TCH says that they have fixed the problem, but they have not.

This has been a major hassle and I just need it fixed. I need to know that TCH is going to be available if this were to happen in the future. I understand that things go down and break, but I need to know how and when this will be fixed. This delay is pretty frustrating and unacceptable to me.

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Welcome to the forums sgnelsonusy :)

You can go back in the help desk and reopen your ticket

and explain you are still having troubles.

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sgnelsonusy and I are pretty frustrated with this situation. Email being down is one thing, but our email is being BLACK HOLED. Senders are not getting bounces and outbound says it worked when it doesn't.

 

I opened ticket RVG-63315 at 2:11 Pacific today.

 

I have also experienced some strangeness on my portal site that's making me think it is related to mySQL DB corruption. Could this be related to the server move? Were we moved? How would our DB have been moved live?

 

I'm seriously thinking about changing providers.

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Welcome to the forums.

 

I'm sorry your only help is going to be the help desk. The forum is moderated by volunteers. The techs do not frequent the forums.

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I have the same recurring email problems. I've also been with TCH for several years, and currently have three websites hosted on TCH. The same email delivery problems crop up, particularly in the past 6 months. I agree, it does get frustrating.

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Welcome to the forums sgnelsonusy and Zentish :)

 

sgnelsonusy,Zentish, haejin - the only way to solve these problems is via the help desk.

 

A key issue with lusciousmango was the frequency at which they were popping their account. If you are checking your email more frequently than every few minutes it can cause these problems, which is why we recommend you only check every 5 mins. Without details of your account (such as login details, which you can't provide here) I can not tell if you have similar problems.

 

If you have issues, please open a help desk ticket, explain in as much detail as possible, and we can then take a look at it for you.

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It looks like Alex from support fixed our problem yesterday, well, at least after I complained a second time.

 

Wednesday night late sometime - the problem started

12:11pm Thursday I reported the problem in a ticket.

12:45pm Alex reported that they had fixed the problem

I tested and the problem was not fixed.

12:54pm I updated the ticket with the fact that the problem was not fixed and supplied him with my email auth credentials (which I'm still a little weirded out over)

16:03pm Alex responded again that the issue was fixed.

I tested and it was indeed fixed, but I was only getting new email, so I responded again with a question about where my old inbound and outbound email had gone.

16:36 Alex responded that exim had been forced to deliver it's queued email and I should be getting my email.

I see a lot of spam and my tests showed up for the period we experienced problems, so it appears that we're back at full service.

 

So the outcome seems to be positive at this point, but I'm still left pretty frustrated. Would it have ever been fixed if we hadn't complained? Twice? Would our old email have ever shown up if we hadn't complained a third time?

 

Black holed email is about one of the worst things you can do to a customer. I'd rather see bounces and errors any day. We had no clue that something was wrong at first until we realized that no new email was showing up 12-18 hours after the problem cropped up.

 

The only scenario I can imagine that would cause black holed email is some sort of server/service maintenance that went badly or a botched configuration update. If the former was to blame, then TCH has a problem with testing their changes, if the latter was to blame then TCH's update processes are not robust enough. Again, I hope I share this sentiment with others: I'd rather that mail transport fail catastrophically than have it silently disappear.

 

The above statement about issues being caused by clients checking email more often than every 5 minutes seems jarring to me as well. I've not heard of this before and can only think of scenarios where network attached storage (NAS) is used for the email store and file lock contention issues between the mail transport agent (MTA) and the mail deliver agent (MDA) might cause problems. I also know for a fact that using NAS for MTA and MDA services is not recommended for just this reason.

 

I know that TCH is a basic bargain service, but I don't feel that we have ask TCH for enything above basic services. I'm not continuously asking for help with trivial issues, or even expecting help with my PHP coding or mySQL database problems. I used to run a small ISP and have been an IT professional for large (and small) businesses in an Internet services support role for about 12 years. There are basic expectations that customers, and even other Internet businesses have, when dealing with an ISP. Mail, DNS, routing, and to an extent - web server configuration are all services that an ISP needs to have down cold. They need to be solid services or you can't get ahead because everything else is built on top of them.

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Black holed email is about one of the worst things you can do to a customer.

I agree completely. I was browsing the forum to check out email complaints as I am thinking of going with TCH for all my clients, but want to make sure email is bulletproof.

 

Any update on this. How are you (and others) thinking about TCH email at this point?

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I am happy the way email works here. I've had my business account here for almost 4 years now. With the amount of spam the servers deal with on a day-to-day basis if they started bouncing every email message I don't think I'd ever receive any email because of the server being bogged down sending all the bounced messages.

 

I have several other domains but I answered from a business customer standpoint.

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Although email problems like these are extremely frustrating, I thought I should throw in a couple of observations.

 

I have been with TCH for 4 years and only once had an email problem, it was because of some weird routing I was doing combined with a server crash, and it was fixed within 10 minutes of me telling them there was a problem.

 

If we don't tell them there's a problem then they can't fix it. They could probably write email pingers to sit and monitor email functionality on each server but I'd rather my emails get through without bandwidth/cpu wasters and report it to them when there is a problem. Yes it's painful until you realize there is an issue, but if it took me 2 days to realize it then how can I expect them to know it quicker - mine is just one of a BUNCH of servers. As far as complaining twice, Alex's test showed it was working and your confirmation of it remaining as a problem prompted immediate response. About the third complaint for old email - it was probably queued anyway and he basically stalled you until the server cleared itself as it would have without your ticket - but this is merely speculation on my part.

 

Email bounces and errors usually take quite some time even in an ideal Internet situation. You know the situation of "Your email has been undeliverable for 24 hours - we will keep trying for 48 more hours." It's not fast in any situation.

 

While your scenarios are indeed possibilities, there are others. My email issue had things black holed because of a dns entry problem that was the result of coincidental timing of a change I requested and a server crash/restore. I don't blame TCH for it at all - it's just something that happened. With all the "hands" involved in making email work across the Internet I think it's a bit unfair to assume ineptitude on TCH's part. I do share your sentiment about not wanting silent failures of email, but do not share you blame of TCH for it.

 

The every five minute thing has been discussed in the forums and I have read suggestions from TCH that it not be set to less than 5 minutes, although I do not remember where it was. You are again assuming they have a NAS, MTA, MDA. It seems your experiences have limited your scope on how things can be set up and are causing you to leap to conclusions that TCH is doing what is suggested not to do. Perhaps, and this is also speculation, they have it throttled on purpose to prevent spammers or others from abusing the system. Remember, when a forum mod suggests something it is not a tech speaking - they are sometimes only guessing, but their guesses are usually pretty good.

 

While there are basic expectations that customers have, these expectations are sometimes unreasonable and sometimes impossible depending on the situations. I can expect my coffee from McDonalds to be 103 degrees, but if there's a power outage it may not come out that way. As a former ISP I'm sure you can appreciate the fact that "stuff happens" and I hope you can also appreciate the percentage of good service they have provided over the years and not let the recent situation taint your overall view of TCH. I can say with certainty that TCH will do everything possible to give you better service that you even expect.

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Thanks for the info - that is helpful.

 

The only email problem I have ever had with TCH email is an email client it occasionally asking for username and password. Sometimes it seems to like this as a username:

 

user@domain.com

 

and sometimes it likes this:

 

user+domain.com

 

And sometimes neither worked. I believe this is usually when using Mail on a Mac.

 

But its an intermittent and not huge problem.

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