Business Spam Filtering (MX-Defender)
Frequently Asked Questions
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What Is MX-Defender
MX-Defender is the brand name of OnlyMyEmail's Business Spam Filtering service.
The name is derived from the fact that our service is enabled when you change the MX (mail exchanger) records for your domain to direct all all incoming email to our mail servers. This allows us to be the first line defense against Spam, "Dictionary" and "Directory Harvesting" attacks for your domain.
In other words, MX-Defender "defends" the servers that are pointed to by your DNS MX records.
Somebody says they sent me a message but I didn't get it. What should I do now?
Don't panic, with the proper information it's usually pretty easy to find a missing message.
The most common causes of missing mail are as follows The message never made it to our servers and may even still be waiting for outbound delivery on the sending server. The message made it to us and was marked as spam. We delivered the message but it was marked as spam by either your server, or your mail client software.
The first place to look is in your deleted items (spam), although it's rare we do occasionally make a mistake and flag legitimate mail as spam.
OK, so you've checked your deleted items, and it's not there. Not a problem, what we need to do now is confirm that the message has left the sender's server. Email is in many ways like snail mail. You're mail program is like you're local postal carrier, it's responsible for getting the message from your computer to the server. Think of the server like it's the local post office in your town, it's responsible for getting your message to the local post office (server) of the recipient. Occasionally things can go wrong at the senders server, so we start our search there. Have the sender, or senders admin as appropriate check the logs of their server. They'll probably need some details to locate the correct logs, things like the sender's address, recipient's address, subject, and approximate time. Their logs should show 1 of 3 possible outcomes.
One, the message is still on their queue and has not been delivered. In this case there should be further logs indicating why it has not been delivered. Possible reasons are, network issues, server issues, etc. All of these cases would not be logged on our servers, so this is why you start on the sender's end.
Two, the message was rejected by our servers, our rejection messages are pretty straight forward, and the sender's Admin should be able to use the information provided to correct the issue. A rejection in this manner normally produces a bounce message to the sender informing them of the issue.
Three, the message was delivered to our server successfully. If this is the case the we'll need to research the disposition of the message in our logs. If the sender can provide a copy of their logs it makes things easier for us. If they cannot, then we can usually find the logs if we're provided with the senders address, recipients address, subject, approximate time, and sending server's IP address.
If the message was delivered to our servers and wasn't flagged as spam, but you still can't find it, then open a ticket with our support department. Be sure to provide us with as much information as possible. Sender's logs if you have them. Sending address, recipient address, subject, date, and time if you don't. We'll take it from here and reply shortly with whatever we find.
Are there domains OnlyMyEmail can't filter?
Technically speaking, as long as you are the registered owner of the domain and can modify DNS MX records to point to our mail servers then we can filter your mail. However, to be effective our mail servers must be listed exclusively in the DNS MX records for your domain. This is not an issue for most "Dedicated" or "Virtual Dedicated" hosting plans and is obviously not a problem if you run your own email servers.
However, many hosts that specialize in "economy-priced" shared hosting plans provide very limited technical capability. The inbound email servers at these types of operations often do not actually know what domains they are hosting. In these cases, if the host's mail server doesn't "see itself" listed in the MX records it will incorrectly assume that it is not hosting your email and will then reject your inbound emails after we've filtered them. Examples of hosts with this type of simplistic management include the "shared hosting" plans at SBC Global, XO and NoMonthlyFees.com, among others.
You can tell whether this will be a potential issue by reviewing your own MX records. If you find your domain listed then you can be confident that we can filter and deliver your email. On the other hand, if your MX records only reference your host's domains, then you should contact your host to verify whether or not their system will support outside MX filtering services.
Even if your host lacks much sophistication, there are still several solutions for working around their limitations:
You can host your email with our Business Email Hosting Service so that we both filter and host your email. This is independent of web site hosting, which we do not offer.
The better hosts (Pair.com being an example) can configure their servers to accept email for your domain, even when their servers are not listed in the DNS MX records. A simple request to your host's Support department is all that should be required.
You may need to upgrade to a "Dedicated" or "Virtual Dedicated" plan with your host before they'll allow you to manage your own MX records.
You could have the host register DNS "A" records for "yourdomain.yourhost.tld"
Replace your existing MX entries with the new server name above, and
Create a "CNAME" records for the above that point to our mail filtering systems .
Alternatively, you could simply leave one of the host's email servers listed in the DNS MX but also:
Assign the host's mail-server the "highest numeric value" preference number allowed, and
Have the host restrict the mail-server (if they're capable) so that it will only accept messages for your domain when the connection is from our outbound servers.
Whether we host your email or you apply the above work-around solutions, as long as your host will accept your mail, then OnlyMyEmail can provide you with award-winning, world-class spam filtering.
Keep in mind, however, that hosts with mail-servers that rely on the DNS system to tell them who their clients are will very often lack the technical competence to understand and/or implement changes to their own email servers. Others may intentionally prevent you from using outside email filtering solutions in order to sell you add-on filtering they offer themselves.
What type of servers and software can we use?
All of OnlyMyEmail's filtering systems run exclusively on our servers. Because of this, there are no compatibility issues with any known email server or client software programs.
What is OnlyMyEmail's Outbound Mail-Server IP Range?
We send email from the following IP Range:
- 184.108.40.206 - 220.127.116.11
- In CIDR: 18.104.22.168/27
What email protocols are supported?
This answer only applies to those filtering clients that have also chosen to use our Email Hosting.
OnlyMyEmail supports all standard protocols and methods for sending and retrieving email and can be used with the email software or hardware of your choice.
For receiving email the most common protocol is POP3 and our mail servers can be reached at mail.onlymyemail.com.
Using this protocol any computer/tablet/phone can download messages from our servers. If you use multiple devices you might want to configure your system to "leave mail on server" for a few days in order to allow each device time to download each message. For more on this subject, see: Email Basics
A more advanced option for keeping multiple devices in synch with one another is the IMAP protocol which also uses: mail.onlymyemail.com.
IMAP allows all of your computers/devices to access your mailbox on our servers. Actions performed on one device will be synchronized with the others. This includes sending or deleting messages, saving drafts, and moving emails with your folders. Unlike POP3, the IMAP protocol does not automatically delete downloaded messages from our server. As a result, if you don't manually delete old messages then you can quickly exceed your disk storage quota on our servers.
In addition to the selection of protocol, you can also choose among various security levels as well. In most cases your software will automatically configure to use the right settings, but in case you need to manually set these options, or just want to know that they are available, we support:
- TLS over the standard ports (110 for POP3, and 143 for IMAP)
- SSL over alternate ports (995 for POP3 S, and 993 for IMAP S)
- Unencrypted communications over standard ports
When it comes to sending mail, clients should use also use mail.onlymyemail.com and we support:
- SMTP with TLS over ports 25 (standard port)
- Port 587 (mail submission)
- SSL+SMTP over port 465
- Unencrypted connections on ports 25, and 587
In all cases we require that you enable "SMTP Authentication" within your email hardware or software device.
If you're on the go, and have access to a public computer, or some other computer you don't want to configure with your credentials you can use our webmail service at webmail.onlymyemail.com. Just be sure to log-out when you're done so the next person who uses that computer can't access your email.
Can OnlyMyEmail host my email accounts?
Yes, you can consolidate your email hosting and spam filtering with OnlyMyEmail.
We do not provide web hosting but using our email hosting service in conjunction with our filtering service means that you do not need to reconfigure your email accounts if you decide to change web hosting providers.
Get started with OnlyMyEmail hosting
Are there any storage limits or filtering quotas?
Because we deliver your filtered email to your existing mail servers, your messages are not stored on our system. As a result, there is no "disk quota" or any other limits on the amount of email passing through our filters for your account.
What happens to our email if our servers are down?
In the event that your email servers (or your host) cannot be reached for any reason, OnlyMyEmail will continue to accept and filter your email, and will hold your email for delivery until your systems can be reached. There is no action required on your part to enable this feature; the spooling and subsequent delivery will occur automatically.
Senders will not receive bounce notifications, so they will never know that your servers were unavailable. Additionally, you may provide us with the names & addresses of any other servers where you would like your messages delivered when your primary systems cannot accept mail.
How do end-users allow or block specific addresses?
In addition to the "global" allow and block lists that the administrator can maintain, the system also remembers sender preferences on a "per-user" basis.
Individual sender preferences are developed based on the emails each end-user chooses to either "Resend" or "Report as Spam" and thus require no manual administration.
How much delay does the filtering add?
After the first week or two of use (during which the system is learning and adapting to your domain's unique mix of email) OnlyMyEmail's Spam Filtering for Businesses service will create an average latency of between 12 to 20 seconds. If you are experiencing delays greater than this, then visit the Problems & Solutions menu within the Support site for troubleshooting advice.
How do we retrieve messages OnlyMyEmail has removed?
Email that is deleted as Spam (or any other category you've chosen to block) is placed in a deleted mail folder and held on our servers for 14 days.
Administrators can review these messages through the "View Deleted Email" menu in the Support site. You can (and really should) enable the automatic sending of daily "SpamReports" to each of your email addresses so that your end-users may receive these reports directly.
Your end-users can also generate SpamReports in real-time by submitting their email address through the "On-Demand" page at: https://www.onlymyemail.com/spamreport/.
Regardless of which method is being used the "Subject:" of each message displayed is a hyper-link that can be used to open a copy of the original. Included in the display of this copy is a "Resend" button which will re-deliver the original email to original destination address.
Once the resend is confirmed, users will be presented with the option of specifying whether future emails from that sender should be delivered.
This functionality means that while you may review and resend emails for any user, each user may also review the deleted email for just their address. More importantly, when an end-user specifies that certain senders should be allowed to deliver email to them in the future, this will not directly affect other users within your account.
Do we have to filter all Accounts and Aliases?
With our Spam Filtering for Businesses service, you create two separate lists of addresses for each of your domains.
- Filtered - The list of your addresses that you want us to filter.
- Not Filtered - Addresses for which you want us to accept mail, and to then deliver to your servers without passing through our content filtering.
You can manage both lists from the Email Accounts menu within the Support site. The two lists combined must total all of your valid and deliverable addresses, whether they resolve to unique mailboxes or are aliases and/or forwarders.
Note, the distribution of addresses between the two lists does not affect your billing, which is based on the total number of addresses for which we must carry traffic.
Additionally, because our Directory Harvest, Dictionary Attack and Zombie Machine defenses operate at the SMTP level, all addresses (whether content filtered or not) will benefit by a substantial reduction in spam.
What are the Daily Spam Report emails?
When enabled, our system creates and delivers a Daily Spam Report email for each email address.
The report provides a summary list of all the emails that we blocked for that email address the previous day.
The owner of the address can then use the links in the report to view and, if needed, retrieve any emails listed in the report.
How do we report spam that still reaches our end-users?
There are two options for reporting spam email that has penetrated through our filters.
The preferred option is to simply enable the "Spam Submission" option from within the Preferences menu for your account. This will authorize us to insert a "spam reporting" hyper-link into your inbound messages enabling end-users to "point and click" for reporting spam.
This feature not only provides real-time feedback to our filtering systems, but it also relieves your IT staff from the burden of having to manage spam submission complaints.
- Alternatively, you may always make spam submissions to us via email, as long as you include the entire Internet Delivery Headers along with the offending email.
Can we forward external addresses to our domain?
Only if it's a non-filtered email address, otherwise no; Forwarding an external email account into an address that is protected by OnlyMyEmail will almost always result in
severely reduced filtering accuracy and an increased rate of false-positives.
There is even the chance that the auto-forwarding server could become blocked by our firewall, resulting in all messages
(spam and otherwise) being refused by our server and returned to the original sender as undeliverable.
This diminished accuracy occurs because, in these cases, it is always the relaying server that connects to our SMTP
servers. The result of this is that our filters will only collect SMTP data from the forwarding server instead of being
able to make filtering decisions based on a connection from the original sending server.
The end result (especially in the case of spam being auto forwarded) is that the relaying/forwarding server can
ultimately can be inaccurately determined to be the spamming server.
Importantly, this does not only effect the person who has forwarded their email. Instead, the data collection and
filtering decisions impact all mail sent by the relaying server (whether forwarded or not) and for every recipient within our system.
For these reasons, we prohibit users from forwarding external email addresses into accounts that are filtered and protected
by our system. We will not filter such forwarded messages, and may refuse to accept them as well.
If you need email forwarded, and control the forwarding and recipient domain, then you can:
- Have the admin of the forwarding domain create a transport or router within their MTA to bypass a
DNS MX record lookup for your receiving domain, and instead just connect and deliver forwarded mail
directly to your mailserver (thus bypassing our filters), or
- Add the original destination domain to our filtering system so that we can receive emails from the
actual sender, instead of being relayed/forwarded.
If you do not own or control the domains in question, then:
- Have email forwarded into another account that is not part of our filtering system, or
- Remove forwarding entirely and instead configure your email client software to pick up
messaged directly from the receiving mail server.
How does OnlyMyEmail protect our email privacy?
We understand that the privacy and security of your email is of the highest importance to our clients and there are a number of features and security practices in place to protect the privacy of your correspondence.
The only emails we retain on our systems are those that are Spam or viruses and other categories you have specifically chosen to block. Otherwise, we simply filter your inbound email and then deliver the legitimate messages to your existing email servers.
Filtered emails kept on our servers are only held so that you may resend any emails that we should not have blocked, and these are purged after 14 days (336 hours).
All of our mail servers use TLS during SMTP communications.
The internal servers that analyze email (and that store your Spam) are not accessible from the Internet or exposed to external access in any way.
All emails we receive are decomposed into objects that cannot be readily viewed as email, but only interpreted through database access, and none of our databases servers are exposed to the Internet.
We do not have access to any of your outbound emails, as we only filter inbound messages.
As for the potential of an OnlyMyEmail employee reviewing your messages, we're only as secure as the people we hire. That said, even if an employee were interested, motivated and technically proficient it would still be nearly impossible to review your mail.
Realize that currently less than 5% of our inbound email traffic is deliverable (meaning the rest is spam, directory harvest and dictionary attacks) so finding any legitimate mail as it passes through our systems would be exceptionally difficult. This is especially true as there is no one fixed path or one specific server that would have to be accessed as many servers operate in parallel.
Picking out one specific domain or address from the 5% of legitimate traffic while it flows across multiple servers in real-time would likely exceed the capabilities of anyone inside or outside of our network.
Combined with the database model of managing our decomposed email objects, the chance of anyone inside or outside of our systems accessing your email is improbable, to say the very least.
However, if you are not comfortable with our standard policies and reputation, we do offer data-encryption service that will encrypt all of your communications (including spam) though every part of our system. The surcharge for this option is rather significant as it is based on a per message cost (including spam) of $0.0075 cents.
Do we still need anti-virus software on our systems?
While OnlyMyEmail will prevent viruses from reaching your servers through email, there are still several other vectors for infection including: web sites, instant messaging, Wi-Fi and LAN connections and/or intrusion through open ports.
This being the case, you should consider OnlyMyEmail's services as a first-step in virus protection, and not a replacement for running anti-virus applications on your network.
Does OnlyMyEmail provide email auto-responders?
Unfortunately, "auto-responders" are responsible for a great deal of unwanted email on the Internet. Spammers seldom use their real address when sending email and when they send to an account that will "auto-respond" this reply ends up being sent to an innocent bystander whose address was "spoofed" as the sender of the spam message.
It's not unheard of for such a person to receive tens of thousands of "auto-replies" to emails they never sent. Because of the great inconvenience this creates for people victimized in this manner, OnlyMyEmail does not provide any auto-response services to it's clients, nor do we use them ourselves.
Are there VAR or Reseller opportunities?
Yes. If your firm is involved in technology sales or consulting, then please visit the VAR Opportunities page for more information.
Other FAQ Sections:
MX-Defender for business/corporate/enterprise
Technical Email Issues
Understanding Email Basics
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