[thelist] pesky mail problem

Chris Booth chris at gn.apc.org
Wed Oct 1 03:50:03 CDT 2008

Hi Bob,

You can try using telnet to connect to the mail server and manually 
type in commands - this might give you some clue as to where the 
process is getting stuck.
At the command prompt you type:
         telnet smtp.integra.net 25
(assuming that 'smtp.integra.net' is the correct name for the mail 
server; 25 is the port number for SMTP). The mail server ought to 
respond with a line identifying itself. (If not, either the mail 
server is down, or there's a network problem - maybe check your firewall?)

Then you type:
         HELO <name of your server>
Server responds:
         250 ... (The messages vary, but if it starts with 250, it's 
a positive response)
You type:
         MAIL FROM:<sender's email address>
         250 ... (response from the server)
         RCPT TO:<recipient's address>
         250 ...
         354 End data with <CR><LF>.<CR><LF>
The last line is a rather cryptic way of saying that you type in the 
body of the message and end it by typing a . on a line by itself (as 
you do with the mail command).
Finally the server will respond with
         250 OK: queued as ....
You type
to close the telnet session and send the message.

Plenty of more complete guides to SMTP commands on the net, eg: 

Good luck tracking down the problem!

- Chris

At 04:10 01/10/2008, Bob Meetin wrote:
>One of my clients switched from cbeyond to another provider and just
>like that lost email notifications coming from their ecommerce site.
>The site is hosted by rackforce.  I have access to the plesk panel and
>shell access to the site.   I ought to be able to do command line mail
>be doing:
>mail bobm at dottedi.biz <cr>  etc...
>This fails with no obvious error; I tried doing mail -v to see a verbose
>output but apparently wrong argument.
>I also made up a very simple php file which when accessed should send me
>a test message.  It also fails, something like:
>$message = "Email body/contents";
>$subject = "Test of php email script";
>$to = "bobm at dottedi.biz";
>$from = "From: admin at wherever.com";
>mail ($to, $subject, $body, $from);
>No dice of course.  Finally within zen-cart itself I found the
>configuration item for the mail server which was originally set to
>"mail.west.cbeyond.com" and changed it to: "smtp.integra.net" and the
>dice remain silent.
>What are some UNIX/Linux command line tests I can do to determine the
>root cause?  As I have access to Plesk, is there anything in the control
>panel that needs to be changed that might still be referencing cbeyond?
>Bob Meetin
>Hook up with me on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Plaxo Pulse and Bebo
>or catch my blog at www.dottedi.biz/blog.php
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Chris Booth
Araucaria Computing
Email: chris at araucaria.org.uk      Web: http://www.araucaria.org.uk 

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