Business hosting: Why can I receive email but not send

You can receive mail without problem. But as soon as you reply, your email just sticks in your out-box, or your email client throws cryptic unhelpful messages at you. Our business hosting team explains what the problem could be.

Why can't you send mail? The following explanation applies particularly to Accentika Internet hosting customers but should be generally applicable too.

Getting to the root of the problem just needs a little understanding of the difference between the receive email system and the send mail system. At home, you receive letters by deliveries from your postman/woman. But you send mail in a different way, by dropping it into a postbox. 

On the internet, your email client – Thunderbird (recommended), Outlook, Eudora etc – connects (using pop3 or imap) to your mailbox located on a mail server so you can pick up your mail from your in-box and browse your messages.

When you send mail, your email client posts your message via another internet service (smtp) to  your addressee's in-box. 

Straight-forward enough. The confusion arises because there is a choice of send/smtp servers you can have depending on how you are connecting to the internet. 

Essentially you can use the smtp server of the ISP that is hosting your email (as is the case with an Accentika Internet business hosting account). Or you can use the smtp server of the operator of the network to which you are connected.

The advantage of using the smtp of your email host is that emails are sent from your normal account so that recipients see your usual business email address and that all your mail, received and sent, is kept together and can be accessed at the same time. Whether, you are connecting from home, the office, your mobile, your hotel wifi... you are using exactly the same account and the settings do not have to be changed.

Typical settings that would be sent to you by Accentika Internet when you set up an accounts are:

smtp server=mail.mydomain.co.uk
[email protected]
password=********

As our smtp servers are available to anyone who has an internet connection we have to control  access by requiring all users who want to send by our servers to be authorised. This just means you have to check the box in your email client account set-up that says “server requires authorisation” and supply your usual account username and password. Your email client then automatically logs onto the server with your username and password and you can send. 

Without setting your email client to supply authorisation, you will not be able to send through a host smtp server and this is one of the first things you should check if you are having problems sending.

Network smtp servers and mobiles

Your connection ISP will also (probably) have an smtp server you can use. Typical settings for a broadband/mobile ISP are:

smtp server=mail.mynetworkoperator.co.uk
username=not required
password=not required

This time, no authorisation username or password is required – because the ISP knows you are authorised because you have already logged onto their network. Mail sent via this route will usually arrive with the send domain of the ISP rather than your own domain account. 

Networks blocking access mailservers

Summarising... you can choose to send through your host mailserver, from your normal account – making sure you have correctly set up the authorisation of course. Or you can send via your network operator, in which case you just need to make sure you have the correct name of the mailserver.

Unfortunately, some mobile and network operators make it difficult to send mail by anything but their own servers and put a block on any outgoing mail – unless it is sent by their servers.

If they do block (and you should ask them what their blocking policy is if you are having a problem), you can in some cases send using a different route (port). AOL users for example can send via our servers using port 587 so you can try this port too if you are having a blocking problem.

If this is not possible, then you will need to use the network operator's smtp server and you will need to set up your mail account to accommodate this.

Troubleshooting your email send problem

  • Simple stuff to start... check you are actually connected to the internet and that you can receive mail OK. If you can't receive mail, check your account settings.
  • If you can receive mail, and you are sending via your Accentika Internet (hosting ISP) server, check you have set your email client up to use authorisation.
  • If authorisation is set up, carefully re-enter your username and password to check it is correct. Make sure both username and password are exactly as supplied by your email ISP. If the username looks like an email address, use the whole email address as shown. If the username is different to your email address make sure you check that too.
  • If all the above is correct, you might be being blocked by your network/mobile operator. In that case change the smtp mailserver name to that supplied to you by your  network/mobile operator (eg mail.mynetworkoperator.co.uk). If you can then send, then blocking may well be the problem.

Don't forget your webmail

Whenever you are having problems with your email client, we recommend connecting to your account via webmail (point your browser at https://www.yourdomain.co.uk/squirrelmail/). Connect using the same credentials you are setting in your email client. If you can't connect via Squirrelmail, then you've got a problem with your username/password/domain name and should contact the helpdesk. Team.


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