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Troubleshooting issues sending to Hotmail and other popular email providers
Updated Wednesday January 27th 2021 / Category Troubleshooting

The following information is for customers who may be experiencing problems sending emails to Hotmail or other popular email providers.

Can I send email from VentraIP Australia servers to Hotmail and other popular email providers?

Yes, you can. The problem that a very small number of customers face is when one of our ten outbound spam scanning nodes are blacklisted by Hotmail which then prevents mail from hosting servers connected to that scanning node from getting to Hotmail servers for delivery.

The blacklisting is mostly occurring due to users of Hotmail marking emails as spam from within the Hotmail interface, and from all reports it can take just a single user to mark an email as spam for Hotmail to blacklist the sending server. In many cases, we have found our customers have been marking emails as spam in Hotmail that are actually forwarded directly from their web hosting services.

Other web hosting providers are saying they have a better system and it doesn’t happen to them

It’s almost a certainty that it in fact does happen to them from time to time, and we have observed a number of social media posts from other providers claiming to have custom-built solutions which somehow makes it better than everybody else, including our system that is deployed, managed and supported by SpamExperts.

Let’s stick to the facts:

  • Almost every Linux-based spam scanning system is based in whole or in part on MailScanner and/or SpamAssassin with ClamAV. So the capability to detect and remove spam is pretty much the same across the board.
  • The difference with SpamExperts is having the intelligence being sourced from hundreds of implementations across the world which are constantly tracking, learning and reporting spam and virus signatures that are subsequently vetted and passed back to the scanning nodes in addition to those obtained from Spamassassin and ClamAV.

But we all know that when things work it’s a great day, but what happens when something goes wrong with it?

If you’re relying on a custom-built solution that is based off of a bunch of open source applications then your support options are strictly limited to the know-how of your administrators or Googling for others who many have experienced the same issue in the past and have blogged about it. When you’re talking about using this service for paying customers we simply don’t agree that this is an acceptable level of risk and our own internal testing proved this.

Before selecting SpamExperts for our outbound spam scanning platform we evaluated a number of different solutions which included a custom-built system which used the above-mentioned applications and Baruwa Enterprise Edition.

The custom-built solution seemed to work until random issues would introduce themselves through bad updates and later broken dependencies between the individual systems began to appear. There was also no central view or control which severely restricted our ability to monitor issues and meant changes made to one node had to then be made manually across the other nodes.

Baruwa Enterprise Edition, which by their own admission is a front end for MailScanner, was tested and subsequently deployed in our live environment for a number of weeks until one day when it suddenly stopped working. Attempts to get support resulted in their suggestion of re-installing and starting again.

This lead us to turn to SpamExperts who we already used for our inbound spam scanning nodes, allowing us to temporarily use our inbound scanning nodes as trial outbound scanning nodes. Within hours of pointing a handful of our hosting servers to the outbound scanning nodes we had a full view of the spam being sent by these servers and the services responsible which allowed us to take immediate action.

After weeks of successful trials we went ahead with full implementation that was completed by the SpamExperts team. Any issues were quickly resolved and after nearly twelve months of successful use we are very pleased with the decision we made.

Conclusion (tl;dr)

The fighting of spam is an ongoing problem for every online service company in the world and it will continue to be a battle while ever systems are connected to the internet with access to SMTP.

Issues with sending email to Hotmail are a rare occurrence and generally affect a very small number of our customer base at any one time (if at all).

VentraIP Australia in conjunction with SpamExperts will continue to make the changes needed to get our platform as close to perfect as possible. We will continue to actively monitor blacklisting events and take the appropriate action as quickly as possible.

If you experience an issue with email not making it to the intended destination, please contact our support team via eTicket and provide as much information as possible so it can be investigated for you.

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