This is a quick primer on how e-mail works.
Getting the mail out:
For sending, you use something called Simple Mail Transfer Protocol. (Wikipedia)
SMTP uses TCP port 25 to send e-mail. In your mail client (Outlook, Eudora, Thunderbird) there are settings for SMTP. These settings include either a server IP address Wikipedia or the ‘name’ of the server you want to send mail through.
IP address: 192.168.1.34
(Note, those are for demo purposes only.)
Now, guessing that those settings are correct and have worked in the past, there are a few remaining problems.
1. Port 25 is blocked by something. This could be either your local firewall (Zone Alarm,) your router, or similar kit at the ISP’s end.
2. The mail server at the ISP end is down. You are basically sending information via the ISP. If their server is down, then you won’t be able to send mail.
3. There is a problem with your mail client (could happen, but less likely than 1 or 2.)
4. There isn’t a problem with any of the above. The real trouble is a server problem at the recipient’s end. If you’re getting return receipts from something that isn’t one of Talk Talk’s servers, then the trouble is with the address you’re trying to send to. I’ll outline basic troubleshooting later.
You can send e-mail, but not receive it:
So, you’ve managed to get your e-mail out. They’ve sent e-mail to you and you haven’t received it, what could be wrong?
Now, SMTP is the send protocol, remember? (Just think S for Send) The receive protocol is called Post Ooffice Protocol, usually POP3. (Wikipedia) POP3 uses port 110 to receive mail.
Got that? Two different protocols for sending and receiving mail.
Occasionally, Internet Service Providers (or, Talk Talk) will use two different ‘names’ for sending and receiving e-mail. While you have 192.168.1.34 for sending, the IP for receiving may be 192.168.1.35. It’s important to look at the difference when (if?) you receive your documentation.
Like SMTP, you receive e-mail via the ISP. Mail is sent to email@example.com, mail finds its way to Talk Talk’s servers, Talk Talk’s servers deliver to your system when you connect to the mail server.
If you can’t receive e-mail, one of the following may be at fault.
1. Port 110 on your computer is blocked by something (your system’s firewall, the ISP, router…)
2. The mail server at the ISP end is down.
3. There is a problem with your mail client.
4. There isn’t a problem with any of the above. There is a problem with the sender.
How to troubleshoot e-mail
Now you know the basics right? So, here is how you troubleshoot your e-mail.
1. First, make sure that the e-mail address you are sending to or giving out is accurate and follows the correct format. All e-mail addresses will look like this: firstname.lastname@example.org (the .something could be .eu, .com, .co.uk, and so on.)
2. Read any messages that come back to you, or have the person sending the e-mail read messages that come back to them. Often times something from ‘System Administrator’ or ‘Mail Daemon’ will come back. There will be something in that error message to indicate what the failure was. ‘User not found’ or ‘mailbox full’ are pretty clear. This AOL page has a good rundown of common error codes and messages found in return reciepts.
3. Triple check your settings. Make sure that every little dot and number is identical to what you were sent from the ISP. A mispelling or typo could be all that’s at fault.
If those three things are working, or don’t apply, then call the ISP.
Here’s an example of an SMTP problem from one of our lovely readers!
Hi Simon: I think I am having the same problem as you: I can receive but not send emails (these are emails on my account not talk talk). Just called the helpdesk – load of rubbish
chris you need to change your outgoing mail server to smtp.talktalk.net this should rectify your problem as to web mail i called in and found 2 alternatives newwebmail.talktalk.net and also webmail.mydial.co.uk the mydial takes you to the old style webmail but it works.
Funny thing is i called talktalk today and got through straight away and when the person couldnt help i got transferd to there 2nd line team who i must say where very much on the ball and resolved my issue emidiatley
In Talk Talk’s case, they seem to have several names and IPs for sending/receiving mail. Best keeping track of these somewhere offline.
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