I sent an email, but immediately got a reply saying:

Final-Recipient: rfc822;xxx@xxx.edu
Action: failed
Status: 5.0.0 (permanent failure)
Diagnostic-Code: smtp; 5.1.2 - Bad destination host 'DNS Hard Error looking up smtpint.xxx.edu (MX):  NXDomain' (delivery attempts: 0)

I was wondering

  1. what this error report means,
  2. where in the delivery route the error happened,
  3. who should be contacted to solve this issue and how to solve it?

Thanks and regards! I also appreciate if someone can explain a bit more about the mechanism behind the email delivery.

2 Answers 2


This is indicating that your local mail server cannot find the MX (Mail eXchange) DNS record for the destination domain (smtpint,xxx.edu). This happens at your local mail server. You shuold contact the DNS administrator for the destination domain.

Have a look at the TCP/IP Guides information on SMTP for an explanation of how it works.

  • Thanks! By my "local mail server", I am using gmail, is my local mail server the server used by gmail?
    – Tim
    Apr 2, 2011 at 15:58
  • More specifically, it looks like your email server is reporting that the recipient domain does not exist.
    – joeqwerty
    Apr 2, 2011 at 16:13
  • @Tim: Yes, @joeqwerty: doesn't (MX) indicate it can't find the MX records rather than the A records ?
    – user9517
    Apr 2, 2011 at 16:30
  • 1
    An NXDOMAIN is supposed to be returned when the domain cannot be found. I don't believe NXDOMAIN is a valid answer when only the MX of the domain can't be found.
    – joeqwerty
    Apr 2, 2011 at 16:36
  • You'll probably want to perform an NSlookup on your mail server to (with "set type=mx") to see if it can see the record, then do it from another workstation, and finally do it against a public DNS server ("server") to find out if you're just having problems resolving the DNS record or if it doesn't exist at all.
    – Hyppy
    Apr 2, 2011 at 17:23

The easiest way to solve or have explained this and other e-mail problems or e-mail fraud attempts contact your own service provider.

  • 1
    Aside from being essentially incomprehensible, your answer is also wrong. The accepted answer (with the positive score and the green check mark) is correct about what this error means. Oct 2, 2012 at 7:02

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