(Email Turmoil Explained)
It is amazing how complicated email really is, and this week has served as another lesson.
For whatever reason (Gremlins?), the email settings that are suggested by cPanel stopped working correctly this last weekend (see bottom image). If you look up the settings for your email programs through cPanel, it will tell you to use ‘mail.yourdomainname.com’ for the incoming and outgoing (SMTP) server names. We have now found out these settings are wrong (liars).
If you faced this issue, your email program probably timed out while trying to connect to the server. The technical problem is that these settings were no longer resolving to an IP address. In human terms, this means that your email program couldn’t connect to our server out there on the world wide web.
To complicate things further, when the accounts with these incorrect settings kept trying to connect, it caused another part of our server to freak out. The official diagnosis was that the cPHulkd failed to bind to its port. I don’t have a human definition for that, but it made our webmail give off an error as if the mailbox were corrupted.
Like they were suggestions from our parents when we were teenagers, we are going to ignore cPanel’s instructions for email settings. From now on, account setup in email programs will use ‘mail.cortezweb.com’ for the incoming and outgoing (SMTP) server names. There are three advantages for switching to this setting.
- It will reliably find our server (resolve to an IP address)
- It adds an extra layer of security to mail interactions
- It won’t break our webmail
The webmail issue was resolved by restarting cPHulkd. Additionally, we added a monitoring service that should restart cPHulkd automatically if the problem comes up in the future.
Please let us know if you have any further questions by using our contact form or submitting a support ticket through our client area. We apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate everyone’s patience while we battled these issues.