Usually, email is quick. You hit "Send" and seconds later your friend replies with a smiley, or the boss confirms your meeting invite, or your crush cancels your lunch date and you know not to show up.
But sometimes, the message doesn't get there in time. You question your comedic abilities as your joke is left dangling without response, emoticon or otherwise. The boss misses your big presentation. You're left alone at the sandwich shop with an extra egg salad sandwich and a broken heart. Then, the email arrives, too late, and you find yourself wondering why your email service provider didn't deliver your email. How hard can it be?
The problem starts with spam.
Don’t get us wrong, the proliferation of free email service providers is great. Increasing access to such a basic element of internet infrastructure is something we can definitely get behind. But it also makes an email address completely disposable. Spammers can easily obtain an email address, use it to send out a large amount of material in a short amount of time, and toss it away once it gets identified as a spammer address.
Sometimes these spamming campaigns can be epically massive.
The primary tool mail providers have for combating spammers consists of blacklisting and greylisting.
You’re probably familiar with these concepts. A blacklist is a list of permanently blocked users. In the context of spam, a user could be an email address, an IP address, or even a whole relay server.
A greylist is the same concept but consists only of temporarily blocked addresses.
Delivery of messages from a blacklisted or greylisted user gets delayed. This gives email providers time to identify and flag the potential source of spam.
What we see happen sometimes with Gandi Mail is that mail providers (especially freemail providers) add our mail relay servers to their blacklists or greylists if our users send too many emails within a given period of time. Sometimes our relay servers can be added to such a list even when the high volume is attributable to legitimate traffic.
To be clear: email to these providers does arrive, but sometimes with some latency. We are constantly working proactively to avoid being blacklisted or greylisted and to remove our servers from blacklists and greylists as quickly as possible.
If you notice a delay in mail delivery from your Gandi Mail address, then, we have a few recommendations on how to proceed:
1. Check our status page at status.gandi.net
This page is updated with information about known outages and delays that may effect email coming to or from Gandi Mail.
2. Get the headers
The full headers of an email show the delivery path of the email. They furthermore provide a “Message ID” we can use to check our mail servers for more information. The headers are essentially a log of which servers an email passes through. When a message is received by a new server, that server puts a timestamp on it.
An email’s headers show where an email went and how long it took to go from place to place. That will identify where the delay occurred. Every mail client has a different way to get an email’s headers, so if you don’t know how to get your headers, you’ll probably need to search the web for “how to view message headers in [your email client].”
If you don’t know how to read mail headers and want to see for yourself, there are great tools online for doing so, like mxtoolbox.
3. Contact Customer care
If you don’t see anything on the Gandi status page about mail delays but you see a delay in your mail headers or just don’t know how to get them or interpret them, Gandi customer care is always a resource you can depend on to help you out. You can feel free to contact them using the online contact form, or by our online chat. If you can attach your mail headers that already gives us a good start.
Mail latency is not ideal. It can cause real-world problems. But so can spam and freemail providers do need to do their best to protect their networks. Gandi works hard to address blacklisting and greylisting of our servers and other sources of latency as quickly as possible.
Sometimes, we need your help, though. So if you see something, say something. And remember: if your friend, your coworkers, or your crush (or anybody else for that matter) have a domain at Gandi, they can use Gandi Mail, too, instead of the freemail provider they may have now. Every Gandi domain comes with five mailboxes, a thousand forwarding addresses and 1 Gb of storage for free.
After all, it’s nicer to have an email with email@example.com? than just firstname.lastname@example.org, isn’t it?