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ivj 05-17-2006 11:35 PM

All my outgoing emails suddenly bounce as spam!
This is really strange. I've never had problems with my email server before (and I'm sure this isn't my email server's fault either).

Basically, most messages that i send out from my domain (, or most of them bounce back (from servers that have spam filters), saying that this message is spam (some servers say that my IP is spam). The only thing I can guess is that somehow I got added to a blacklist or something, which’s used by most spam blockers out there. I don’t know much about anti-spamming technology, but that’s the only thing I can guess.

I’ve NEVER sent spam to anyone, my mail server is NOT an open relay, doesn’t have any open proxies (I consider myself a decent linux admin and know all my open ports), so the only thing I can think of is that someone added me to those blacklists by hand…

Now come to think about it, last week I reported a spam to some company named (or something like that) – their user was sending me spam from their servers, without even spoofing the username. Maybe they told the spammer that I reported them, and the spammer added me to the blacklist as a retaliation?

Can someone suggest anything? By the way, here’s an example of a bounce with file “undelivered message headers.txt”:

Received: from ( [])

by (Spam Firewall) with SMTP id 74FD41F78

for <>; Wed, 17 May 2006 19:17:22 -0700 (PDT)

Received: from ([])

by (JAMES SMTP Server 2.2.0) with SMTP ID 492

for <>;

Wed, 17 May 2006 19:21:51 -0700 (PDT)

From: "Ivan Jouikov" <>

To: <>

Subject: We recieved a biometrics appoint

Date: Wed, 17 May 2006 19:15:57 -0700

Message-ID: <012f01c67a21$0075d6f0$1000a8c0@ivan>

MIME-Version: 1.0

Content-Type: multipart/mixed;


X-Mailer: Microsoft Office Outlook 11

X-MimeOLE: Produced By Microsoft MimeOLE V6.00.2900.2869

Thread-Index: AcZ6IP/OllESMTXoTJinb67T4w7meQ==

gilead 05-18-2006 12:00 AM

It's getting more common for dynamic IP address ranges from ISPs to be banned by mail servers. Also, some ISPs won't even let you connect out to port 25.

For me, the solution to both was setting up sendmail to use my ISP's SMTP server as a "smart host". All mail sent from my server goes out through my ISP's SMTP server so the black hole lists don't bounce my mails.

It might be that your ISP is doing something like this, or your ISP's IP addresses have been added to one of those lists.

ivj 05-18-2006 12:14 AM

Well it doesn't look like it's my ISP's, looks like it's just my unique IP. How did you setup that smart host thing?

gilead 05-18-2006 01:04 AM

I use m4 to generate the file, so I just added the following line to and used the script supplied with sendmail to re-generate the .cf file:

I'm told you can manually modify the file to include the following line with the same effect:

ivj 05-18-2006 11:52 AM

Hmm ok, sendmail was the worst piece of software I have ever seen.

Anyway, does anybody have any more suggestions as to how to deal with my problem?

dive 05-18-2006 02:22 PM

There are two settings in for defining a relay:


Try using both of those and see if there's any difference

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