Page History: Email Frequently Asked Questions

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Page Revision: 2009/03/07 18:40

How are Email Messages Delivered by our Servers and what are the possible outcomes of sending email?

The nature of the Internet does not provide for "guaranteed message delivery". This is not an issue of our servers, as we use top notch software ( as well as have a top rate co-location ( This is a general issue of Internet Email as it is currently architected and it affects EVERYONE from small providers like us, all the way to MSN, AOL and the biggest providers. When one of OUR clients sends an email message, this is what happens: 1. The user's local software (Outlook, Eudora, or whatever software the user runs) talks to OUR server and sends the message and disconnects.

2. OUR server IMMEDIATELY then attempts to connect to the server of the RECIPIENT (using the recipient's email to figure out "where" the server is).

3. Usually, the message is delivered and the whole transaction is complete.

4. However, when things are not perfect, there are other possibilities

a. The recipient's name may be wrong in front of the domain (for instance instead of - when this happens, the receiving server simply REJECTS the message and the SENDER gets a message back indicating "bad address" or something to that effect.

b. The recipient's domain may be wrong (for instance instead of - when this happens, OUR server may NOT be able to connect to the "wrongDomain" if it does not exist. The SENDER gets a message saying "invalid domain" or something to that effect.

c. The recipient's domain may be wrong (for instance instead of - when this happens, OUR server may be able to connect to the "wrongDomain" if it exists. If the "wrongDomain" happens to have a "joe", the message will be delivered to JOE (probably not what the SENDER wanted, though). If there is no "joe" user, then you'll get the "bad address" as in the case above.

d. If the recipient name and domain are right, the RECEIVING server may STILL be unavailable for communication due to some of the below non-exhaustive reasons. In this case, OUR server will generate a "message delayed" to the SENDER and will still continue to TRY to deliver the message for a period of up to 24 hours. If at any point, the message is delivered, no further communication goes to the SENDER. However, if after the retry period is exhausted, the message is STILL not delivered, the server gives up and sends a "non delivery" to the SENDER. Please understand that this does NOT indicate an issue with our server at all… instead it indicates that OUR server was unable to communicate with the RECIPIENT’s server.

Why would OUR server not be able to communicate with the RECIPIENT’S server?

The reasons why a RECEIVING server may not be reachable (this is NOT an exhaustive list, there are MANY more reasons out of our control):

1. The receiving server may be OFF, LOCKED UP or otherwise malfunctioning. This happens to even the biggest companies. 2. The receiving server may be in an office or location that has lost it’s connectivity to the Internet OR whose routers, firewalls, proxies and other network equipment may be malfunctioning. This happens to even the biggest companies. 3. The Internet provider that connects the location where the server is may be having issues. Remember, small locations may connect to a small ISP, which in turn connects to a medium ISP, which in turn connects to a large ISP which in turn connects to the Public Internet. If ANYONE in that “connection chain” is having issues, an email server may be unreachable. 4. The Internet is like a “star” meaning that many providers connect to many other providers often times. So, EVEN IF the person you are sending to sees NO ISSUES with sending and receiving messages to others, it is possible that the connection between OUR SERVER and THEIRS is having difficulty “somewhere” along the chain.

Why would someone not be able to email me?

Of course, there are obvious reasons why someone may not be able to email you; for instance, if they just type your name or domain incorrectly. To avoid this make sure you check the following items:

1. Make sure you communicate your correct email to the person, including your name and domain spelling as well as the “.com”, “.gov”, “.org” part of your domain. Don’t forget, there are lots of new domain extensions like “.cc”, “.tv”, “.biz” and many others that are valid. The most common source of email bounce backs is definitely incorrect email addresses. 2. When speaking your email, be mindful that certain letters sound alike (especially on the phone). To avoid this, clarify which letter you mean by saying “p as in Paul”, etc. when spelling your email address. 3. Check your “Reply-to-Address” setting in your email client and make sure that you have your correct email address in that setting. 4. If someone tries to send you an attachment that our Anti-Virus believes contains a virus, you will NOT get the attachment (Our Anti-Virus is McAffee Virus Scan). You will get a notification and so will the sender. 5. If someone sends you a message larger than 5MB, you will NOT receive the message and you will receive NO notification. 5MB is VERY LARGE and not a reasonable message size. Please visit for information on using WinZip to “compress” your files for sending via email. 6. If our server believes that the SENDING server is a known source for SPAM or if the message violates any of the SPAM rules, you will NOT get the message. Check the FAQ question “How does our server check for SPAM?” 7. Check the FAQ question “What are other reasons why I may not “see” messages from someone?”

What are other reasons why I may not “see” messages from someone?

1. Make sure you do not have “Rules” that may be deleting or moving messages with certain criteria. For instance, Outlook supports “Inbox Rules” that could specify certain message should be deleted (or moved) if containing the word “apples”. You may have certain rules enabled giving you the impression that you can’t receive email from someone when in reality, you are receiving them and simply not seeing them. 2. Make sure you understand how any “SPAM FILTERS” you may have work in your computer. For instance, Outlook now supports SPAM filtering, and will move messages to a folder called “Junk E-Mail” when it thinks these messages contain SPAM. 3. Make sure you understand how your “Anti-Virus” software works. For instance, it is possible to setup Symantec Anti-Virus to automatically DELETE emails that it may think have a virus.

How does our server check for SPAM?

SPAM (or unsolicited commercial email) is a HUGE problem on the Internet, currently accounting for over 50% of all volume of traffic. SPAM is costly, difficult to manage and a lot of times the source for illegal activity, viruses and scams to defraud users. Because of that, we take a STRONG stance on combating SPAM: 1. Our clients are NOT allowed to send SPAM (violating this rule WILL cause us to suspend your services). 2. We check EVERY server that tries to connect to us against a “black list” of known spammers. If the sender’s server is found on this list, the connection is immediately dropped and NO MESSAGES are exchanged. You DO NOT get notification and your SENDER “may or may not” (depending on their email software) get notification either. a. Our “black list” is derived from 3 sources: i. – The Open Relay Database ii. – The Spam Cop Database iii. – The Spamhaus Database b. You may visit the URLs above, or direct your sender, to “check” to see if the sender is black listed. Note, you will need to know the IP address of the sending email server. 3. We check EVERY message and analyze the SENDER email address. If the sender’s domain (the part after the @) is invalid, the message is rejected and you DO NOT get notification. 4. We check EVERY message and analyze the number of recipients for the message. If the number of recipients exceeds 30, this message is likely a SPAM and it is rejected, you DO NOT get notification. To address this, make sure people that send you messages understand the use of “email merge” OR use “group emails” or “list emails”.

However, our “server side” tactics are only the first line of defense in battling this problem and you MUST also act to further combat spam. For instance, you MUST have a good Anti-Spam product installed and up-to-date in your computer. Also, email clients like Microsoft Outlook 2003 now have integrated Anti-Spam solutions that work relatively well. For more information on Anti-Spam, please visit:

I never signed up for any “lists” on the Internet. How come I am receiving SPAM?

Unfortunately, SPAMMERS (those who send SPAM) are not always scrupulous in their techniques to gather email addresses. If you’ve published your email address anywhere (like on your website, on user groups or forums) it’s only a matter of days sometimes before it will be “harvested” and used to send you unsolicited e-mail. The best technique you can use is to guard your email address like you would your home phone number. You would not give your phone number to an email, so you should NOT publish your email address on public sites (even your own).

If you are running a business on the Internet, of course you want customers to contact you. Which email should you publish? For that, DO NOT use your personal email address and instead have your provider create you a SECOND email address that is published on your site ( or, etc). Then, configure your email so that it handles that address with a bit more care. Besides, you’ll look a lot more professional this way anyhow!

What about viruses. Will my emails be checked for viruses?

Yes, our servers check every incoming message (and outgoing messages – if you send through our servers) for the presence of viruses. Still, this is ONLY your first line of defense and you should still have a good Anti-Virus product installed AND up-to-date. For more information about Anti-Virus, please visit:

Can I use my mobile device (palm, windows mobile, blackberry) to receive and send emails?

In most cases you can. We do not block access to our servers from any of the cellular carriers. However, certain carriers do impose certain restrictions (even from area to area).

We recommend the following: 1. Make sure you configure your device to use POP3 protocol. 2. Your username is your ENTIRE email address! 3. You must know your password. 4. We require sending messages to “login” to the email server (SMTP Authentication). Most email clients, even on mobile devices, support this. Just use the SAME username and password you use to receive email. 5. Use the default ports which are 110 for POP and 25 for SMTP. If you have problems sending emails on port 25, try changing your port to 32025 if your device allows it.

For more information about POP3, check:

For more information about SMTP, check:

What servers does iHealthSpot use internally?

We believe that what is good for our clients is also good for us. Our email runs on the same server infrastructure and the same software as all our clients. We have well over 200 email users total as of the writing of this document and have not had major systematic complaints or issues with email. We ourselves communicate with a great number of individuals on a daily basis. If email is down for you, or not working correctly for you, it’s most likely also down for us and also not working correctly for us. We appreciate your business and understanding and strive to answer any and all questions as quickly as we can.

What should I do if I continue to have email problems?

Please email us at so that we help you. Please forward any messages you may have received OR provide us the email address of the people trying to email you. We will do our best to understand where the problem may be.

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