NinerNet Communications™
System Status

Server and System Status

Email migration: Update 10

26 August 2015 10:38:59 +0000

The mail migration is, for the most part, finally complete. As mentioned in our previous post, you will know that your domain has been migrated if you can no longer access email accounts on the old server. If that is the case, please start using the settings for the new server.

The only domains left to migrate are those that have user names with mixed- or upper-case letters, and domains that are changing — i.e., where an old primary domain is being replaced by what was once a secondary domain. We will take the opportunity to migrate the remaining domains outside of the business hours of the clients affected, which differ according to the time zones in which they are located, over the next two days.

There are a few additional notes to be aware of or to emphasise, in addition to those contained in Email migration: Update 1:

  • Email addresses with mixed- or upper-case user names have been migrated with their user names changed to lower-case letters. This only affects logging in, and not delivery of email. If you used to have a user name with mixed- or upper-case letters, please change your log-in information to use all lower-case letters — e.g., AB@example.com changes to ab@example.com, and BobSmith@example.com changes to bobsmith@example.com. It is generally best practice to create email addresses in all lower-case letters. Your password has not changed, so please do not edit the password saved by your email program.
  • Auto-responders are now managed through the webmail; they are no longer managed through the control panel. As such they have not been recreated on the new server. If you had an auto-responder in place on the old server, you will need to recreate it.
  • As mentioned previously, accounts that were already over quota on the old server were not migrated. The accounts have been created on the new server, but the contents have not been transferred.
  • If you had what the control panel on the old server referred to as a “redirect” in place, please check to ensure that it has been properly created to your requirements on the new server.

In addition to that last specific issue, please check over your accounts yourself to ensure that all is set up and working as it should be. If you need assistance with anything that you cannot address yourself through the control panel, please contact support and we will be happy to help you.

Thank-you again for your patience during this migration, and our apologies again for the fact that it took longer than we had planned.

Email migration: Update 9

26 August 2015 07:07:00 +0000

Due to the many gigabytes of email saved on server NC018, the migration is still ongoing.

We are disabling domains on server NC018 as they are migrated to server NC027. What this means to you is that, if you find that you can no longer access your email account, it has probably been transferred and you should start using the settings for server NC027. Please see the “Things you need to do” heading in the Email migration: Update 1 post for that information.

Thanks for your patience.

Email migration: Update 8

26 August 2015 00:54:47 +0000

The mail migration is definitely underway this time. We will post updates here as necessary.

Email migration: Update 7

25 August 2015 06:03:00 +0000

We have resolved the network issue preventing the mail migration. We have rescheduled the migration to start at 00:01 UTC on Wednesday 26 August. (As always, please check the World Time Server to convert to your time zone.)

Our apologies again for the delay.

Email migration: Update 6

24 August 2015 23:46:39 +0000

We are definitely postponing the mail migration for at least another 24 hours. Please carry on as usual!

Email migration: Update 5

24 August 2015 13:32:04 +0000

Based on the lack of progress on resolving the connectivity issue at this point, we’re going to say that completing the migration tonight is unlikely. However, on the off chance that there’s a breakthrough before then, we’re keeping our options open.

We will post more here as soon as we know.

Email migration: Update 4

24 August 2015 02:49:26 +0000

We were not able to overcome the last hurdle — and I do mean the very last hurdle, and an unexpected one at that — to completing this migration on time this weekend, so we have decided to postpone it before the server enters its usual busy Monday morning.

We plan to figure out whatever is causing the last hurdle — a networking issue between the old and new servers — and recommence the migration at 22:00 UTC on 24 January. (Please check the World Time Server to convert to your time zone.) We expect (and certainly hope) that the issue will be resolved by then.

Confirmation of the rescheduled time will be posted here within the next few hours.

We sincerely apologise for the delay in completing this migration.

Email migration: Update 3

23 August 2015 11:50:57 +0000

The migration was halted during the early morning (UTC) of 23 August while we worked out some complications. Work on the migration will continue during the afternoon of the 23rd. It is our intention to complete the migration on Sunday.

In summary, nothing has changed yet. All email that is planned to be migrated has not yet been migrated.

Email migration: Update 2

22 August 2015 19:10:05 +0000

Work on the email migration has started. We will post updates here as required.

Email migration: Update 1

21 August 2015 21:58:35 +0000

Following are the details of the email migration of some clients this weekend. This is a long post, but we’ve broken it down and bolded key points for quicker scanning. You can use your web browser’s “find” feature to look for key words that might help you locate information about any issues you may encounter.

  • WHO: If this migration affects you, you will have received an email about it on 14 August. All remaining email domains hosted on server NC018 are being migrated to server NC027.
  • WHAT: Migration of the remaining email accounts on server NC018 to server NC027.
  • WHERE: In cyberspace, of course.
  • WHEN: The migration will start at 19:00 UTC on Saturday, 22 August. Please check the World Time Server for a conversion to your time zone. We do not have a precise estimate for the duration of the migration, but it will be several hours. During that time email will continue to be delivered, either to the accounts on the old server (NC018) before being transferred to the new server, or to the accounts on the new server (NC027). Updates will continue to be posted here throughout the migration.
  • WHY: Server NC018 has outlived its useful life and needs to be replaced. The new server is an improvement over the old server in every respect.

Things you need to do:

Change the configuration of your email program after 19:00 UTC on 22 August. (Please check the World Time Server for a conversion to your time zone.) Here are links to illustrated guides to configure the most common email programs in use:

(Our thanks to “The Lowdown” / African VSAT Systems for these guides.)

Here is a summary of the main configuration items that need to be changed:

  • Use port 587 for outgoing (SMTP) mail.
  • Use TLS (or SSL if TLS is not present in your email program) for all incoming and outgoing mail.
  • Use SMTP authentication for outgoing mail.
  • Make sure you’re using a sub-domain of the niner.net domain for mail server names:
    • mail27.niner.net for incoming (POP or IMAP) email, and
    • smtp27.niner.net for outgoing (SMTP) email.

And here are the actual settings that we provide to new clients on server NC027:

  • Email address: you@yourdomain.com
  • User name: you@yourdomain.com
  • Password: The correct password on your email account. In the future, if you want to change your password, you can do so through the control panel (administrators only) or through the webmail.
  • Password type: Plain
  • Incoming (POP/IMAP) mail server: mail27.niner.net
  • Incoming mail server port: 995 (POP) or 993 (IMAP)
  • Outgoing (SMTP) mail server: smtp27.niner.net
  • Outgoing mail server port: 587
  • Authentication: Turned on for SMTP
  • Encrypted connection: TLS (if it’s an option in your email program) or SSL (if TLS is not shown as an option). If TLS doesn’t work, please try SSL.

All of the above settings are important and required. None are optional. Your password has not changed from what it was on the old server, so if you’re not sure that you remember your password, please don’t edit it in your email program.

Using the above settings you can configure any email program on any computer, phone or tablet, even ones for which we have not provided unique instructions.

In our experience, 99% of problems clients experience with email are mis-configurations. If you run into a problem, please take a deep breath, then double- and triple-check your configuration — spelling, check/tick boxes, and various other parameters — to be 100% sure that everything is set EXACTLY correctly. When configuring email settings, there is no such thing as “close enough”. All of the settings are there for a reason and need to be set exactly as they are shown in the configuration instructions — with the one exception where some email programs work with TLS set and some with SSL set. Rebooting can work wonders … seriously. When reporting problems to support, please ensure you send us the exact text of any error messages you are seeing. We cannot help you if you just tell us that “it doesn’t work,” as our first response will be to ask you for the exact text of any error messages you see and we could have had that on the first message.

Here are a few additional notes:

  • Mailing lists: Domains with Mailman mailing lists will not be migrated this weekend, but they will in the very near future. Domains with custom mailing lists will be migrated this weekend.
  • Letter case: All email accounts will be set up in lower-case letters. This doesn’t make a difference from an email point of view (messages addressed to BOB@EXAMPLE.COM and bob@example.com will be delivered to the same account), but it does make a difference when trying to log in. If, for example, you set up your account on server NC018 as Bob@example.com, it will be set up as bob@example.com on server NC027. If you try to log in as Bob@example.com, your attempt will fail, so please log in as bob@example.com.
  • Accounts over quota: The contents of accounts that are already over quota on server NC018 will not be transferred.
  • Address books, calendars, notes, etc.: If you have any of these stored in the webmail on server NC018, these will not be transferred. Please ensure that you have local copies of this data to upload to the new server.
  • Changes on server NC018: Please do not add, remove or change any email accounts to, from or on server NC018 after 00:01 (12:01 am) UTC on Saturday, 22 August. (World Time Server.) Any such changes may not be reflected on server NC027.
  • Control panel log-in details: Following the completion of the migration, account contacts will be sent log-in information for the control panel on server NC027.

Based on experience from previous migrations, here are some issues we expect that some clients will experience:

  • Multiple copies of old messages: This has been reported by some users of Outlook. This is an Outlook issue over which we have no control, and it should eventually clear up.
  • Company contacts: If you are not our contact for your company, please deal with the person who is our contact, and we will assist them. If they are unable to help you, they will refer us to you.
  • MTN business customers: Some (not all) MTN business customers have a unique SMTP set-up that requires they use MTN settings for outgoing email, and you may not be able to use our server to send email. If you are an MTN business customer, this may apply to you if you already have an MTN IP address in the outgoing (SMTP) server field in your email program’s settings. If that is the case, it’s probably best to leave your SMTP settings as they are. However, the incoming (POP/IMAP) server settings need to be exactly as described in our configuration documentation (linked to above).
  • iPhone: It seems that the iPhone does not turn on SSL/TLS by default, so you have to go out of your way to find this under “advanced” settings and turn it on. Please also ensure that the port is set correctly for incoming mail: 993 for IMAPS (IMAP over SSL/TLS).
  • Android: Contrary to the iPhone, we’ve had a report from a client using an Android-based phone that port 993 did not work, but 143 did. Try port 993 first if you’re using IMAP, but then try port 143 if port 993 doesn’t work.
  • Eudora: The “Secure Sockets when Sending” field on the “Generic Properties” tab needs to be set to “Required, STARTTLS”, and the “Secure Sockets when Receiving” field on the “Incoming Mail” tab needs to be set to “Required, Alternate Port”.
  • Firewalls: We spent a significant amount of time dealing with a firewall issue with one client, after being assured that the firewall had been opened by the network management company managing their firewall. It turned out that the firewall was not open, or at least not sufficiently for the type of connection that was required. After it was properly configured, email miraculously flowed with no problem. Please check your firewalls!
  • Email-sending applications: Another fairly unique situation was encountered with a client who uses a “localhost” web and mail server installed on their computer to run a reservations system. This was unable to connect to the mail server, and the vendor of the software was also unable to determine the problem with their software.
  • Bouncing email: If some people tell you that their email to you is bouncing, and the bounce message reads as follows — “REJECT ACCESS DENIED. Your email was rejected because the sending mail server does not identify itself correctly. (.local)” — then their mail server (probably Microsoft Exchange) is incorrectly configured. Please send them a link to Email migration: Update 13 and ask them to forward that link to their system administrator for resolution of the issue.
  • Outlook 2003: Outlook 2003 does not support TLS. This is software that is over a decade old, and Microsoft stopped supporting it in 2014. Now would be a good time to upgrade … seriously. However, apparently a 2004 “hotfix” available from Microsoft will add TLS support to Outlook 2003, but we cannot vouch for this personally, nor are we aware of any clients who have used this.

As always, please contact NinerNet support if you have any questions, concerns or problems. Thank-you for your patience as we move your email accounts to a newer, faster, more secure server.

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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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