Dead Letters

Published 16 years, 7 months past

Mail here at is, for the moment, dead.  I threw up a notice on meyerweb’s home page and was going to leave it at that, but it occurred to me I could get more data from people if I posted and let them comment.  So if you’ve gotten a bounce back from my e-mail address, or if you send me (or Kat) a test message and get a bounce, could you post the error text and relevant headers in a comment here?  It will help diagnose the problem.

Oh, and check to see if someone else has posted the same error before you post.  We don’t need a hundred copies of the same error.  If you have a different error than those already posted, though, then by all means share.  Other information, perhaps such as that divined by you command-line wizards and server administrator types, would be most welcome as well.

Thanks… and I hope this will be fixed in short order.

Update: it’s fixed.  Let the spam flow once more!

Comments (10)

  1. Here is what I got back. Can give you the full route info if you want…

    Subject: failure notice
    Message-id: <>
    Original-recipient: rfc822;

    Hi. This is the qmail-send program at
    I'm afraid I wasn't able to deliver your message to the following addresses.
    This is a permanent error; I've given up. Sorry it didn't work out.

    Sorry. Although I'm listed as a best-preference MX or A for that host,
    it isn't in my control/locals file, so I don't treat it as local. (#5.4.6)

  2. Thanks, Steve. Do the strings come straight from the original, or is that an edit you made to mask out an address?

  3. The mail server that receives your email was reconfigured to omit as a local host. It’s possible that the mailserver is down and a backup mail server is running instead with the same name and an outdated file.

    I don’t know how qmail lists local domains. In sendmail, there’s an external file that has the list. If a domain is missing from that list, you get the error above.

  4. Hi Eric,

    Sorry, xxx@xxxx.xx is me removing my email address. In the error message you get my email address quoted correctly.

  5. > Non-authoritative answer:
    > mail exchanger = 0

    It looks like,, and are the same machine, so the machine that hosts your site is also the one handling the email.

    On qmail, the file your domain is missing from is probably either /var/qmail/control/locals or /var/qmail/control/rcpthosts. I think it needs to be in /var/qmail/control/virtualdomains too if they’re using the typical virtual domain setup.

    For what it’s worth. Short answer: bother your host, it appears to be something they need to fix.

  6. Morning.

    From nslookup (MX)… internet address =

    And then in the console:


    Pinging with 32 bytes of data:

    Request timed out.
    Request timed out.


    Your mail server is dead. It is also true that some other machine who doesn’t know who you are is picking up the phone, but your main problem is that is

    a) unreachable, and
    b) listed as primary for your mail.

    Gimme a shout on IM if you need anything :-)

  7. I received the same error message as Steve. This appeared above what Steve posted. I’m assuming it’s one of yours; I checked “whois” & it’s identical except for the last digit.

    Received: from (unverified []) by

    Message-ID: <>

  8. I tried connecting manually, via telnet on port 25, to the mail server.

    Telnet established a connection to the machine, but didn’t get as far as creating an SMTP connection – so it sounds more like the SMTP service not being running rather than meyerweb not being configured correctly…

  9. Telnet established a connection to the machine, but didn”t get as far as creating an SMTP connection

    That may be a firawall issue.

  10. We seem to have things fixed– I’m getting css-d mail again, not to mention the enormous piles of lovely, lovely spam that my address draws. Thanks for all the help, folks!