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Frequently Asked Questions

What forms of payment do you accept?

Payment may be made in either US or Canadian funds only.  Prices are quoted in US dollars; contact me for a quote in Canadian dollars.  I accept international money orders, Canadian postal money orders, Canadian email bank transfers via CertaPay, payments in e-Gold, and payments through PayPal.  You will be provided with detailed payment information at the time your service is activated; please contact me if you have any billing or payment questions.

How are traffic volumes calculated?

Your monthly traffic volume is the total size of all email messages sent to or received from your mail server(s), as reported in my sendmail logs.  For address forwarding, it is the total size of all email messages that pass through my servers for delivery to your forward address(es).

What should I add to my DNS information?

I'll provide specific information after your service has been set up, but in general you'll add something similar to the following: MX 10
MX 20

Where host1 and host2 are the primary and secondary MX servers I've asked you to use after setting up your service.  Note the required trailing dot.  The number between the "MX" and the host name is the "cost" for that MX server.  Lower numbers imply higher preference, so your primary MX server should have a lower number than your secondary.

More information on adding MX records to your DNS information can be found here.

Can I have an MX record for my own mail server as well?

Certainly, as long as your mail server can receive SMTP connections on port 25 from any host on the Internet.  The MX record for your mail server should have a higher preference (lower number) than the servers.

Note that you can include an MX record for your mail server even if it's not connected to the internet full time.  Other servers will first attempt to deliver email directly to your MX server, then fall back to mine if yours is not available.  This is known as "backup MX" service.  Mail delivered directly to your server without passing through one of my servers first is not included in your monthly traffic total, of course.

My DNS provider only lets me enter one MX record!

No problem.  In addition to the regular MX server names (,, etc.), I've also created single DNS names that refer to more than one of my servers (by IP address).  Contact me and let me know your situation; I'll forward you the single name that refers to both your assigned MX servers.  (This information is normally included in your sign-up email as well.)

Is email always routed via the "best" MX server available?

Mail servers are supposed to collect MX records for a destination email address and try them in order of cost, from lowest to highest.  I've noticed that a few servers do not sort the MX records by cost, but use them in the order they are returned from the name server (usually random).  So, even though the lowest cost ("best") MX server is available, email may occasionally be routed through higher cost MX servers.

What is SMTP AUTH?  Why do I need it?

SMTP AUTH is a mechanism that allows your SMTP based mail server to authenticate itself to my servers.  The servers are normally picky about which domains they will accept mail for; this prevents their use by spammers as "open relays".  However, if you sign up for the outgoing SMTP service, you need to be able to use my servers to send mail addressed to anyone.  To allow this, you will be assigned a special username and password that your server can use to authenticate itself to my servers.  Once authenticated, my servers know you aren't a spammer and will forward mail addressed to any domain.

I use dynamic DNS. Is that going to be a problem?

Generally, no.  When my servers need to connect to yours, they will query the DNS system for the IP address currently assigned to your domain name.  As long as the IP address returned points at your server, everything is fine.  However, there are two problems that occasionally crop up when people use dynamic DNS.

First, what happens when your server is off-line?  If your DNS information still refers to the last IP address you were assigned, it's possible that someone else will obtain that IP address.  If that occurs, my servers may attempt to deliver your mail to that person's computer rather than yours.  Generally, this isn't a problem unless they are also running some sort of mail server on the same port.  This is one of the reasons I recommend that people with dynamicly assigned IP addresses arrange for their mail to be delivered on a non-standard port: the chances of someone else running a mail server on that port are normally very low.

Some dynamic DNS providers allow you to set an "offline" IP address when your server is not connected.  This is fine, and will prevent the problems mentioned above, as long as your offline IP address is not (localhost).  If your domain name resolves to, my servers will attempt to deliver your mail to themselves, creating a mail loop that will quickly result in your mail being "bounced" back to the sender.  Note that is also interpreted as "localhost" and will cause the same problem!

Second, there is a fair bit of caching that occurs in the DNS system.  Even if your dynamic DNS provider assigns a short "time to live" to the "A" (IP address) records for your domain name (as they should), that information can still be cached at several stages along the way.  Generally my servers will notice an IP address change very quicky, but in certain cases it may be up to half and hour or more before the change percolates all the way through the system.  During that time, my servers will likely continue trying to deliver your mail to an IP address that isn't in use, or, if the IP address has been reassigned, they may try to deliver it to someone else's computer as described above.

Which servers do you use?  Who owns them?

I own all the hardware associated with  The servers are co-located with ISPs in various parts of North America.  If you do a DNS reverse (PTR) lookup on the IP address associated with a server, it will return a domain name under "": don't worry, that's expected.  I originally bought and co-located these servers to provide mail, DNS and webhosting for my family's domain.  (You can meet the gremlins.)

What type of support to you offer?

Support is provided on a best-effort basis via e-mail only.  If you need mail service with 24x7 support, you can find it (and pay for it) at most large ISPs.  That said, I do my best to provide a solid infrastructure and maintain it well: hey, I (and my family) depend on the same service for our email, too.  More support information is available on the support page.


Any information you provide to me will never be shared with any person or entity not directly associated with the services, except as required by law or as required as part of the normal and customary configuration and maintenance of the services.  In particular, I will never give or sell your email address or other personal information to anyone else without your consent.
Copyright © 2002-2010
Scott Logan