Email Catch-All Option To Be Disabled For All Domains

As mentioned in our Email FAQ, we have phased out the email catch-all option for email accounts. A catch-all is a way to process email sent to all addresses that do not exist for a domain and it is configured to forward these messages that it catches to another email address, internal or external.

Catch-all addresses are a big problem for web hosts because they are guaranteed to attract spammers. This can lead to a huge increase of spam due to dictionary attacks and bounces from virus spam. This often leads to our servers being blocked by ISP’s (AOL, Yahoo, etc.), because to them it appears that the spam is being sent from our servers. In addition to that, catch-alls can overload our mail servers, causing performance problems.

Starting on January 15th, 2008 we will be turning off any remaining catch-alls for all domains that we host. If you are currently using a catch-all to receive email sent to non-existent addresses, you will need to create these emails accounts using the control panel.

To check to see if you have a catch-all configured for your domain you just need to log into the Plesk control panel, select the domain you want to check, select Mail under services and then go to preferences. If the “Reject” option is selected you are NOT using a catch-all, but if “Forward to address” is selected, then you do have a catch-all configured for the domain and you will need to turn it off and setup individual email accounts for the addresses you use.

For more info on catch-alls, please see our Email FAQ.

Earthlink blacklists Laughing Squid

We have been notified by some of our customers today that they are unable to receive email sent from Laughing Squid servers to Earthlink email addresses. We have found that all of Laughing Squid’s hosting servers have been blocked by Earthlink without any legitimate reason. We are working to have this matter resolved.

If you have a domain email address (email@yourdomain.com) that redirects to an Earthlink or Mindspring address, the message will bounce back to sender.

Since this is something that is beyond our control, we encourage you to help expedite this by contacting Earthlink directly. This is not the first time that Earthlink has, without warning, blocked Laughing Squid.

You can check back on this post for any updated information we receive regarding this matter.

UPDATE: 4/3/2007 9:15AM PST – It has been 24 hours and Earthlink has still not responded to us regarding this matter. We continue to encourage Earthlink customers to contact their support directly.

UPDATE: 4/3/2007 11:32AM PST – We were finally able to reach some upper level contacts at Earthlink and hopefully they will be removing the block soon.

UPDATE: 4/3/2007 1:42PM PST – Earthlink has informed us that the block will be lifted within the next few hours. At that point email sent to Earthlink and Mindspring should be functioning normally again.

UPDATE: 4/3/2007 4:50PM PST – Some tests we have just sent from Laughing Squid were accepted by Earthlink. It appears that the blacklist has been lifted.

Calling all catch-alls!

This is just a reminder that email catch-alls can dramatically increase the amount of spam that you receive. As such, we strongly recommend not using them. In some cases, they will actually prevent you from receiving legitimate email as well. This happens when the catch-all account redirects to another email provider such as aol.com, yahoo.com, earthlink.com, verizon.net, etc. The problem with using a remote account as a redirect is that one of the spam filtering techniques these providers use involves rate-limiting by source IP. By setting up a catch-all, you effectively turn email that would be coming from many different IPs into many emails coming from one IP — the IP of the forwarding server. This influx of email from a single IP is likely to trigger the spam blocks of these providers and cause all mail, both spam and legitimate, to be blocked for a certain period of time.

For our hosting customers, we have specific information on how to disable your catchall in our FAQ and we highly recommend it!