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We use Rackspace cloud servers for our applications. Specifically we are running Ubuntu 11.10 and our apps run on a virtual host. We get complaints frequently that our emails (using PHP mail) go directly to spam. We send our application mail out directly from our server. The from address domain is set as the originating TLD.

After some investigation it dawned on me that I never set an SPF Record for the domain. Currently I'm using this:

v=spf1 include:_spf.google.com ip4:50.56.228.156 ?all

but it doesn't seem to be working. 50.56.228.156 is the IP assigned to the server. I'm specifically looking for Mailed-by headers to show up in the emails being sent but they don't. We are using Bluehost. I don't have a lot of experience using Google Apps and TXT records so I'm not exactly sure what all I need to include in my record to get this working. Any help is appreciated.

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migrated from stackoverflow.com Jun 7 '13 at 13:41

This question came from our site for professional and enthusiast programmers.

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Are you using a mail relay or are you sending directly from your Cloud Server, quite a few Rackspace Cloud IP's are blacklisted and will show as spam due to the nature that the IP's are recycled. You can always log a ticket with Rackspace for advise on why you are having the issue –  Trozz Jun 7 '13 at 12:19
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Don't send mail from something like EC2 or Rackspace Cloud. Spammers love them and their IP ranges are scorched earth for many ISPs. Use a third-party service like Mandrill, SendGrid, Postmark, etc. and let them worry about blacklists. –  ceejayoz Jun 7 '13 at 13:55
    
I second the vote from ceejayoz, and personally recommend Mandrill.com –  Richard West Jun 7 '13 at 14:13
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As with @RichardWest, I highly recommend Mandrill. We send a hundred thousand or so e-mails through them - great support, great deliverability. –  ceejayoz Jun 7 '13 at 14:49
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I'm checking them now, we really don't do a lot of emailing and they offer up to 12k per month for free...can't beat that –  Jared Eitnier Jun 7 '13 at 14:57

3 Answers 3

  1. There is nothing wrong with your IP: http://www.anti-abuse.org/multi-rbl-check-results/?host=50.56.228.156
  2. Your IP has no reverse DNS configured: http://www.dnsqueries.com/en/reverse_lookup.php
  3. Install and configure DKIM on your cloud server: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Postfix/DKIM (this if you have Ubuntu, I do not know what OS you are using)
  4. Configure your SPF record in DNS to allow emails from your IP: http://www.zytrax.com/books/dns/ch9/spf.html
  5. Check your domain and make sure you do not have DNS errors: intodns.com
  6. Stop listening to others saying that your IP is blocked without checking this yourself
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No one said that his IP was blocked. It was stated as a possibility. The reason that I use Mandrill is it's one less thing that I have to worry about when it comes to mail deliverability. They live, breath and eat this stuff 24/7. Also, with some cloud providers, like Azure, you are not going to have control over setting up the reverse DNS and that will become a problem as mail servers check this. –  Richard West Jun 7 '13 at 18:43

Indeed quite a few Rackspace IPs are blacklisted, and for good reason. Rackspace seems to do nothing about spammers who use their servers, and some reports say that are known as a spam haven. I get spam from Rackspace IPs on a daily basis, and have reported each instance of abuse through Spamcop, but of course to no avail.

I wonder if Rackspace has considered the impact on their business from allowing spammers and doing nothing about abuse reports, while at the same time having their IPs spam listed so that legitimate users have their emails black holed or filtered out?

Just a warning and something to consider if you are thinking of using Rackspace.

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Agree with the above about Rackspace not taking action on spammers who are using their servers. I too get spam from Rackspace IPs nearly every day, report them via SpamCop and get the automated reply back from Rackspace abuse saying that they will investigate. Obviously they do not since I often continue to get spam from the same Rackspace users.

There is no doubt that Rackspace IPs will become more and more blacklisted, which means that if you are a legitimate user, your emails may be blackholed as well.

Best advice would be to avoid Rackspace as a reliable email provider...that is, unless you are a spammer.

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