NinerNet Communications™
System Status

Server and System Status

NC027: Upgrade update

24 July 2016 00:08:15 +0000

We’re going to continue holding back the upgrade of NC027 for another two hours and re-evaluate at that time. Our apologies for the delays.

NC027: Server upgrade postponed

23 July 2016 23:17:27 +0000

Due to the possibility of significant delays, we are postponing the upgrade of NC027 scheduled for this time for another hour. We’ll reassess the situation at that time and re-evaluate. Updates will be posted here.

Thanks for your patience.

NC027 and NC031: Server upgrades

13 July 2016 22:02:41 +0000

The above two servers — the primary mail (NC027) and web (NC031) servers — will undergo hardware upgrades during our regular weekend maintenance windows this weekend and next:

* 16 July, 23:00 UTC: NC031, duration approximately 2 hours
* 23 July, 23:00 UTC: NC027, duration approximately 7 hours

Please click on the above dates and times to use the World Time Server website to convert to your local time zone. The above durations are only estimates. Down time will be slightly less, as some of the work can be done while the servers are still up, and there’s always the possibility that the work will finish more quickly. However, please plan for the servers to be down for the entire durations stated above.

Incoming email during the maintenance of server NC027 on the weekend of 23 July will be held on the sending servers and delivered once the server is back online. No email will be lost.

During the maintenance this status website will be available, and we will post updates when the maintenance starts and ends, as well as during if necessary.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us to let us know. Thanks for your patience and understanding as we work to improve our service to you.

NC027: Hotmail delivery update 4

20 April 2016 01:48:58 +0000

As of this moment, the NC027 IP address is no longer blocked by Microsoft on their Hotmail / Outlook.com / Windows Live service. Additionally, test messages we’ve sent have been delivered to the in box of the test account. We have removed the workaround.

NC027: Hotmail delivery update 3

19 April 2016 10:04:35 +0000

As I was hitting the “publish” button on the last update, another email came in from Microsoft that contradicted the email we had received just 68 minutes earlier. The latest email states, “Our investigation has determined that the [NC027 IP address does] not qualify for mitigation.”

We will continue to jump through Microsoft’s hoops, but in the meantime the workaround is still in place.

NC027: Hotmail delivery update 2

19 April 2016 09:47:19 +0000

After literally begging for a review of the situation and making three submissions to Microsoft, they have finally granted the IP address of server NC027 a “conditional mitigation”. This means that they have removed the block on this mail server’s IP address, but will put it back the second they see any reason to do so. Because they say that it will take 24-48 hours for this to propagate throughout their system we will leave the workaround in place for at least that long.

Two things have become clear from this and the Yahoo situation:

  • Dealing with megalithic entities like the all-powerful, large, free webmail providers — Yahoo, Hotmail, Gmail and their ilk — and their drone-like employees who are only allowed to copy and paste canned responses, is supremely frustrating.
  • We have a growing problem on our hands as a result of their huge footprint and their lack of concern for the many other companies like NinerNet on the Internet.

On the latter point, as stated in our first post on this issue with Hotmail, if you’re running a mailing list by blind-copying (or, even worse, simply cc’ing!) any more than about a dozen email addresses (of close friends or family or colleagues), we suspect that this may be the cause of the recent problems. Within the next 30 days — and hopefully much sooner than that — we will be implementing limits on the number of email addresses that can be cc’d or bcc’d in a single message. If you’re doing this, please contact us as soon as possible for options to ensure that your mailing list can continue to operate. It would be better to contact us as now in order to avoid disruptions to your mailing lists later.

Thank-you for your patience.

NC027: Hotmail delivery update

19 April 2016 01:39:45 +0000

We are still waiting for a response form Microsoft on this issue. In the meantime we have implemented a workaround that we developed during the Yahoo situation that will get email through to Hotmail and their domains, but there is a high likelihood that email to Hotmail domains will end up in the recipients’ “junk” or “spam” folders.

We will post further updates here as they become available.

NC027: Delivery issues to Hotmail and Outlook.com

18 April 2016 20:48:35 +0000

We have become aware that server NC027 has again been placed in the private block list of a major email provider. About three weeks ago Yahoo blocked this mail server for no good reason — and refused to reveal the nature and source of the alleged complaints that they received — and now Hotmail/Outlook.com has done the same. This means that all email to various Hotmail domains (including outlook.com) is being bounced immediately. Here is what the bounce message looks like for the hypothetical email address example@hotmail.com:

<example@hotmail.com>: host mx1.hotmail.com[207.46.8.167] said: 550 SC-001
    (BAY004-MC5F27) Unfortunately, messages from 212.71.255.195 weren't sent.
    Please contact your Internet service provider since part of their network
    is on our block list. You can also refer your provider to
    http://mail.live.com/mail/troubleshooting.aspx#errors. (in reply to MAIL
    FROM command)

This mail server’s IP address is — as usual — NOT in the major block lists / blacklists, all of which can be checked using a website like MXToolBox. This service checks 105 known blacklists, and we are listed in exactly 0 (zero) of them.

I will echo the advice that we posted during the Yahoo problem: If you’re forwarding email from your domain to a Hotmail account, we strongly suggest that you stop doing that. If you’re doing that or using personal, free accounts for business use on Hotmail or other free email providers, we also strongly suggest you stop doing that. If you need help achieving — with your own domain and the hosting services you’re already paying for — what you’re currently doing with free email accounts with third-party providers, talk to us and we’ll help you do it a better way.

Additionally, if you’re running a mailing list by blind-copying (or, even worse, simply cc’ing!) any more than about a dozen email addresses (of close friends or family), we suspect that this may be the cause of the recent problems. Within the next 30 days we will be implementing limits on the number of email addresses that can be cc’d or bcc’d in a single message. If you’re doing this, please contact us for options to ensure that your mailing list can continue to operate.

We are attempting to resolve this issue with Microsoft and will post updates here. Thanks for your patience.

Yahoo delivery working

31 March 2016 07:29:23 +0000

Currently email to Yahoo domains is getting through. We are closely monitoring this situation, but only expect to provide major updates from this point forwards.

Thank-you again for your patience with this issue.

Yahoo delivery update

31 March 2016 04:42:03 +0000

Yahoo finally replied to our request for information about why they are blocking us by providing a canned response which didn’t tell us anything we didn’t already read on their website. But they did apologise: “I want to apologize for any inconvenience this issue has caused you.”

Shortly after 01:30 UTC on 31 March we did see all emails still queued on our server for addresses on Yahoo and Yahoo-hosted domains clear — i.e., they were delivered. However, a few hours after that the block at Yahoo based on “user complaints” seems to have been reinstated, and so we are back to square one.

We have again written to Yahoo and are continuing to research possible workarounds … while we wait another day or two for their possible response.

In addition to researching workarounds, we’re taking some of Yahoo’s reasonable advice from their canned email and moving up certain changes to mail server configuration policies that they suggest. However, these cannot be implemented overnight across all clients’ domains without causing even more problems for our clients, so they will be introduced gradually.

We sincerely apologise for this inconvenience, but we cannot take responsibility for Draconian policies implemented at a very large email provider that has drastic effects on small hosting companies like NinerNet and our clients, and that are seemingly out of step with comparable large email providers like Gmail, Hotmail, AOL, etc. We’ve been in business for two decades — only two years less than Yahoo — and are not an upstart spamming operation that opened business last night and will be gone by next week. Clearly this kind of information is not being taken into account by Yahoo.

This is yet another example of why — on a network that requires cooperation between disparate entities, which is the very definition of the Internet — we shouldn’t do business with massive companies that can steamroll their way over the ability of smaller entities to participate. Signing up for a service from Yahoo (free or paid) or the parent companies of any of the other corporations mentioned in this post might be quick and easy (and probably even “free” of monetary cost), but there is always a price to be paid down the road. We and you are paying it today.

The workaround we’re working on may solve this issue, but there is still the risk that Yahoo will notice what we’ve done and block that avenue too. If you’re forwarding email from your domain to a Yahoo account, we strongly suggest that you stop doing that. If you’re doing that or using personal, free accounts for business use on Yahoo or other free email providers, we also strongly suggest you stop doing that. If you need help achieving — with your own domain and the hosting services you’re already paying for — what you’re currently doing with free email accounts with third-party providers, talk to us and we’ll help you do it a better way.

Further updates will continue to be posted here as they become available.

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Systems at a Glance:


SystemStatusPing
NC020OperationalPing
NC023OperationalPing
NC024InternalPing
NC027OperationalPing
NC028InternalPing
NC031OperationalPing
NC033OperationalPing

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This blog provides information about the status of NinerNet Communications systems. Dates and times of posts to this blog are in the UTC time zone, and dates and times given for events are also in the UTC time zone, although conversions may be offered for some time zones common to our clients. Please use the World Time Server to ensure accurate conversion of dates and times to your own time zone.

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