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I have several domains on my VPS server, and postfix relaying the email to the appropriate gmail accounts via a virtual users table. This week I performed a sudo apt-get upgrade, this may be unrelated.

As of 2am on July 8th I'm seeing a lot of the following lines in my mail.log:

conversation with[] timed out while receiving the initial server greeting
conversation with[] timed out while receiving the initial server greeting
conversation with[] timed out while receiving the initial server greeting

Some message have got through though:

to=<>, orig_to=<>,[]:25, delay=1130, delays=0.22/0/1128/1.8, dsn=2.0.0, status=sent (250 2.0.0 OK 1310095301 x67si39929948yhm.8)

I've seen this issue reported a lot around the internet but with no real solutions. I checked my postfix config but can't see that anything has changed.

postconf -n

alias_database = hash:/etc/aliases
alias_maps = hash:/etc/aliases
append_dot_mydomain = no
biff = no
broken_sasl_auth_clients = yes
config_directory = /etc/postfix
inet_interfaces = all
inet_protocols = all
mailbox_size_limit = 0
mydestination = $myhostname, localhost, localhost.localdomain
myhostname =
mynetworks = [::ffff:]/104 [::1]/128
myorigin = /etc/mailname
readme_directory = no
recipient_delimiter = +
relayhost = 
smtp_tls_note_starttls_offer = yes
smtp_tls_security_level = may
smtp_tls_session_cache_database = btree:${data_directory}/smtp_scache
smtpd_banner = $myhostname ESMTP $mail_name (Linux)
smtpd_recipient_restrictions = permit_sasl_authenticated,permit_mynetworks,reject_unauth_destination
smtpd_sasl_auth_enable = yes
smtpd_sasl_local_domain = 
smtpd_sasl_path = private/auth-client
smtpd_sasl_security_options = noanonymous
smtpd_sasl_type = dovecot
smtpd_tls_CAfile = /etc/ssl/certs/dovecot.pem
smtpd_tls_auth_only = no
smtpd_tls_cert_file = /etc/ssl/certs/server.crt
smtpd_tls_key_file = /etc/ssl/private/server.key
smtpd_tls_loglevel = 1
smtpd_tls_received_header = yes
smtpd_tls_security_level = may
smtpd_tls_session_cache_database = btree:${data_directory}/smtpd_scache
smtpd_tls_session_cache_timeout = 3600s
smtpd_use_tls = yes
tls_random_source = dev:/dev/urandom
virtual_alias_domains =,,,
virtual_alias_maps = hash:/etc/postfix/valiases

I've tried flushing my mail queues (deleting all deferred mail) and restarting the server. I guess I'm running Linux and not Windows so this didn't help :)

I can post more configs if needed. Any ideas?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

It says that the error is a timeout, not a rejection. You have a networking problem not a mail problem. Try connecting with nc or telnet to see how long it takes. Use mtr to see what your packet loss is.

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I used telnet from my VPS, and telnet from my local machine. My VPS wasn't receiving from gmail only sending. My local machine had no issue. I raised a ticket with my hosting company and they said they are having issues with mail delivery so false alarm. Thanks for the help! – Greg K Jul 9 '11 at 18:10

The fact that some emails are passing through successfully is a strong indication that the issue may be at the remote end - gmail in this case. You might also see if there are any particular trends that can be identified - possibly gmail servers that are constantly working.

Further validation to isolate any chance of an actual network related issue may be to possibly perform a traceroute to one of the non-working servers and then ping the second to last hop. If the network is working correctly, then continuous pings (assuming that the particular host is not dropping ICMP -ping) should be successful without errors.

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Awarded to bahamat but +1 Thanks – Greg K Jul 9 '11 at 18:11
Not a problem... – user48838 Jul 9 '11 at 18:49

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