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Bounced email handling

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Posted
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#82568 (In Topic #17229)
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Community saint

7.1.6

Chris,

When an email (or newsletter) is sent out to an non-existent address, how does the ocP software handle the bounced email? I just sent out two newsletter test issues, one to a valid address and one to a non-valid address. The non-valid was never delivered and no bounce notice showed up in the email queue/log. I then tested my server to make sure I was receiving bounce notices by sending an email to the same non-valid address and did indeed receive a notice.

I need to know which email addresses are non-valid so I can process them in some way. Should I have seen a bounce notice in the queue/log? The non-valid address email never appeared in the queue/log as being sent either.

Steve
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Posted
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#82578
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The first thing to note is that ocPortal is in no way an e-mail server. It sends through e-mail servers. So the bounce would go to the e-mail server in some way.

The newsletter module does have a facility to read an email account for bounce messages and then remove those subscribers from the list.

Looking at it now I can see it is not actually linked in properly. Whoops. But you will find it on the sitemap, under the Admin Zone newsletter module.

You need the PHP IMAP extension for it to work.

Essentially bounces will go back the configured "Website e-mail address" in the configuration. You should set up a mail client to have that as one of your inboxes. Then when you send a newsletter, some bounces will stream in, along with lots of other junk (like people asking you to fill in CAPTCHAs, or people saying "do not spam me" ;)). There is no good standard for bounce mails, so we say you should make a new imap folder and move in all the messages that are bounce replies.

Then the ocPortal feature can be told to look in that folder and asks you to confirm which email addresses references in there that you want to delete.

Note that many non-delivered mails don't result in bounces at all, they just silently fail. This is because some mails servers don't want to reveal whether addresses exist or not.

Some newsletter systems add tracking code to emails but that is very unreliable and not very friendly to recipients. Also theoretically read-receipt notification can be used, but again that annoys people (plus Apple Mail doesn't support it).


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Posted
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#82609
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Community saint

Chris Graham said

The first thing to note is that ocPortal is in no way an e-mail server. It sends through e-mail servers. So the bounce would go to the e-mail server in some way.
Already aware of that. :)

The newsletter module does have a facility to read an email account for bounce messages and then remove those subscribers from the list.

Looking at it now I can see it is not actually linked in properly. Whoops. But you will find it on the sitemap, under the Admin Zone newsletter module.

You need the PHP IMAP extension for it to work.
Found it, thanks!

Essentially bounces will go back the configured "Website e-mail address" in the configuration. You should set up a mail client to have that as one of your inboxes. Then when you send a newsletter, some bounces will stream in, along with lots of other junk (like people asking you to fill in CAPTCHAs, or people saying "do not spam me" ;)). There is no good standard for bounce mails, so we say you should make a new imap folder and move in all the messages that are bounce replies.
I set up IMAP awhile back. Unfortunately, when ocPortal sends out an email to a known bad address there is no bounce notice, but when I send an email directly through my mail server to the same address, I receive a bounce notice to my IMAP box.

This is why I was wondering how ocPortal handled bounces because it appears as though only valid address mailings are sent and non-valid address are never sent.

Then the ocPortal feature can be told to look in that folder and asks you to confirm which email addresses references in there that you want to delete.
Once the bounce notices show up this is exactly what I'm needing since I have about 1500 members and I wouldn't be surprised if at least 33% of those addresses are probably non-working.   :thumbs:

Steve
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Posted
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#82611
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Try enabling the "Pass website e-mail address to 'sendmail'" option.


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Was I helpful?
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  • If so, please let others know about ocPortal whenever you see the opportunity.
  • If my reply is too Vulcan or expressed too much in business-strategy terms, and not particularly personal, I apologise. As a company & project maintainer, time is very limited to me, so usually when I write a reply I try and make it generic advice to all readers. I'm also naturally a joined-up thinker, so I always express my thoughts in combined business and technical terms. I recognise not everyone likes that, don't let my Vulcan-thinking stop you enjoying ocPortal on fun personal projects.
  • If my response can inspire a community tutorial, that's a great way of giving back to the project as a user.
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Posted
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#82612
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Chris Graham said

Try enabling the "Pass website e-mail address to 'sendmail'" option.
I enabled that option, but no change.

I've populated the IMAP box with bounce notices so I have something to test with. When I access the bounce filter it tells me "there are no entries at this time" and I get a stack trace but it appears (to me anyway) to be a false positive.
An error has occurred

There are no entries at this time (version: 7.1.6, PHP version: 5.3.8, URL: /adminzone/index.php?page=admin_newsletter&type=bounce_filte
r_c&keep_fatalistic=1)

Expand: stack Trace stack Trace


I didn't include the parameters that were at the end of the stack trace since it exposes sensitive info, but I can email that info if you need it.


Steve
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Posted
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#82656
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Hi,

I'll have a shot at debugging if you like, but I'd need lots of access to test (I don't actually even have the IMAP extension myself here anymore).

Send the IMAP login details I'd need to test to chris@ocportal.com

Also FTP details to the site.

Also I'd need the e-mail headers to a mail sent through your server since the "Pass website e-mail address to 'sendmail'" option was enabled, to debug where the mails might be going back to. I could generate myself, but it'll save me some time if you could get that.


Become a fan of ocPortal on Facebook or add me as a friend. Add me on on Twitter.
Was I helpful?
  • If not, please let us know how we can do better (please try and propose any bigger ideas in such a way that they are fundable and scalable).
  • If so, please let others know about ocPortal whenever you see the opportunity.
  • If my reply is too Vulcan or expressed too much in business-strategy terms, and not particularly personal, I apologise. As a company & project maintainer, time is very limited to me, so usually when I write a reply I try and make it generic advice to all readers. I'm also naturally a joined-up thinker, so I always express my thoughts in combined business and technical terms. I recognise not everyone likes that, don't let my Vulcan-thinking stop you enjoying ocPortal on fun personal projects.
  • If my response can inspire a community tutorial, that's a great way of giving back to the project as a user.
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Posted
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#82670
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Community saint

Thanks, Chris.
Email sent. Subject: Re: Bounced email handling

Steve
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Posted
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#82696
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Ok so I think this is working. I think it's just that you either have emptied out your subscribers, or were sending using a CSV. Because right now you only have a few subscribers in the database. The bounce filter can't match up any of the bounces with those subscribers.


Become a fan of ocPortal on Facebook or add me as a friend. Add me on on Twitter.
Was I helpful?
  • If not, please let us know how we can do better (please try and propose any bigger ideas in such a way that they are fundable and scalable).
  • If so, please let others know about ocPortal whenever you see the opportunity.
  • If my reply is too Vulcan or expressed too much in business-strategy terms, and not particularly personal, I apologise. As a company & project maintainer, time is very limited to me, so usually when I write a reply I try and make it generic advice to all readers. I'm also naturally a joined-up thinker, so I always express my thoughts in combined business and technical terms. I recognise not everyone likes that, don't let my Vulcan-thinking stop you enjoying ocPortal on fun personal projects.
  • If my response can inspire a community tutorial, that's a great way of giving back to the project as a user.
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Posted
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#82715
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Community saint

Chris Graham said

Ok so I think this is working. I think it's just that you either have emptied out your subscribers, or were sending using a CSV. Because right now you only have a few subscribers in the database. The bounce filter can't match up any of the bounces with those subscribers.

Thanks, Chris, for taking the time to look into this.

So, the bounce filter only works on newsletter subscribers? I was under the impression it worked against any group(s) available to send newsletters to.

I think the bounce filter should work against the whole member database. I have members who have not logged on in several years. This past Saturday night I did a one-time mass mailing (first time in the 7-year history of the forum) to all members using the newsletter function to announce our new newsletter and to use the newsletter signup form to continue receiving newsletter notices. This allowed me to know which members had non-functioning email addresses (about 12%), who was interested in receiving future newsletter notices (as of now - very few), and to provide links and a notice our domain name had changed (activity is way up). It all worked out quite well, except for the bounce function, lol!

I guess I'm off now to write an app to deal with  the 160 bounced emails…

Steve
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