MANAGED HOSTING  >  EMAIL - SPAM, VIRUSES, AUTORESPONDERS, & MORE

 


Why do I receive so much spam?

Unsolicited email, commonly referred to as "SPAM", is a large and constantly evolving issue.  "Spammers", the "source" of the problem, use a variety of methods to gather email addresses including using programs to spider through web pages, searching for them in the html tags ("mailto:email@mydomain.com"), and some just send email to say "anything" at a valid domain name (such as a@abc.com, b@abc.com, c@abc.com, d@abd.com, etc).  Nonetheless, an email address that has been "publicly available" for a longer period of time and/or in more locations, would typically (with all other factors held constant) have more "SPAM" sent to it.  

 

 


How can spam be blocked?

The only "issue" with measures to rid of SPAM is the tougher your automated filtering is, the more likely there is for a "false positive" (a message that was thought to be SPAM by the "system", but in fact from your perspective it was not).  So, typically we recommend one approach the "situation" methodically, and not go to the most drastic of measures unless/where "necessary".

The following are the most typical/common actions that customers having an issue with SPAM take:

1. If spam filtering software not already enabled on/for your email account, enable it.  
If your account itself is not setup with spam filtering capabilities already, please email hostingsupport@pebblehaven.com and request that it be enabled (no additional charge).  Spam filtering for the most part combines a whitelist/blacklist capability, while also using complicated formulas to score an email based upon its content.  Emails which either match requirements setup in the blacklist, or those which receive a score above the amount setup for your account, are either deleted or moved to a separate folder (depending upon your setup preferences).  If stored, these emails can be accessed via your web based email, or by using an email client that supports IMAP.

3. Disable the "catch-all" feature on your email account (if applicable) OR remove any email aliases that you may not be wanting/needing (if applicable).  
An email alias could be (for example) sales@yourdomain.com. If you do not want to receive email sent to this email address (instead maybe you just want to receive email sent to joe@yourdomain.com), it is worth checking to see/ensure that you are not setup to receive email sent to sales@ (might be setup to automatically go into your joe@yourdomain.com email account).  You may find, if/when reviewing spam that you are receiving, that the majority of it goes to an email address that you have no desire to receive email to.  The area where you could disable the "catch-all" feature (if enabled) or remove email aliases is within your hosting control panel.  For assistance, just give us a call.

2. If you already have spam filtering enabled: You might try lowering your "spam score".  
For example, if you currently have a "score" of 5 set, you might try a 4.  However, in doing so, please note that the lower the spam score the increased possibility/probability of a "false positive".  We generally do not recommend having/using a spam score (threshold) of less than 4. 

4. If your hosting services supports it (give us a call to verify) "teach" your spam filter what you consider to be spam by moving the messages into a "junk_learn" folder on the server.  

5. Switch to Cloud Hosting.

6. A much more drastic approach, yet can instantly reap benefits, is a change of email address.  
When choosing this option, many customers also temporarily enable an autoresponse message on their old email address, which informs customers of the address switch (to update their records, and to resubmit their email to the correct address).  It is very likely that any program sending the "SPAM" will not be reading the replies on an individual basis or even receiving them at all (Because they send to such a large number of addresses, and since their "from" email address is typically masked and therefore not a functional email address, they tend to get a lot of undeliverable messages, failure notices, etc).

 

 

 


How can I view emails that have been filtered, or marked as SPAM?

Simply login to your web based email, and click on the "Spam" directory.  For most users, the "Spam" directory will be listed under "Folders".  Note: You may have to subscribe to this folder before being able to view the contents.  To do so, simply click on "Folders" and then click on the name of the folder you wish to subscribe to, and click "Subscribe".

 

 


Multiple copies of the same email(s) are downloading into my email client (Outlook, Outlook Express, etc). What can be done about this?

My connection is timing out or failing before finishing the send/receive operation.

There are several possible "solutions". We recommend going in order in troubleshooting. Meaning, the most common solution is at the top and the least likely/most drastic is at the bottom.

1) A large email, email(s) of certain characteristics, or a large number of emails, may be "blocking" your email client from processing a complete send/receive. For example, if you have a 20mb file or if you have 400 emails waiting to download to your email client, from the server. Your email client may fail or "cancel" before finishing its send/receive operation. Then, the next time you check for mail, it will try to download all messages on the server.  In plain words, it may not have had the chance to tell the server which emails it previously downloaded, as this is typically done at the end of the send/receive operation. 

First, close your email client.  Then, log into your web based email account and delete email messages which you have already downloaded to your email client and/or do not wish to receive.  Then, reopen your email client and resume normal activity.  

2) You will need to download service packs for your Office version from the Office Download center 

You will see in the center of the screen two pull down menus. One will be entitled Product: and the other Version:. Leave the Product Category on Office and change the Version to whichever Office package you have. (It should tell you that when you open up a program within the Suite. It should say something like Word 2000 if it is 2000 or Word 2002/xp if it is XP). Select your version and a list of downloads will appear below. (You may need to click the button labeled Update to refresh the list.) Locate the downloads that say Service Pack X (X being the number of the Service pack) and download those. Don't worry about ones that have Service Pack X and then something after it like (SP-2) for MultiLanguage support etc. Just download the ones that say Service Pack X.  

3) If this problem has to do with Outlook Express, we have been informed to try the following: Outlook Express uses a file to keep track of which message have been downloaded so that it can download only new messages. Sometimes this file becomes corrupted which results in the same messages getting downloaded again. You need to locate the file pop3uidl.dbx and rename it. Start Outlook Express and check for new mail 

4) If none of the above solutions were able to assist, and you need further technical support, please contact hostingsupport@pebblehaven.com.

 

 


Why is my email being returned, or not received, when I send to a particular email address?


Typically, a message is returned because of something related to the email hosting of the recipient (the person you were sending the email to). For example, there may be a spam filter which has marked your message as spam, or the user is temporarily over their user quota.

You can usually and easily determine the cause by reviewing the returned message. If you are unable to figure out why it is returning and would like further assistance, please forward a copy of the returned message to hostingsupport@pebblehaven.com.

 

 


I am continually receiving emails containing viruses. What can be done?
I received an unusual email, and suspect it contains a virus.  Does it?

Pebblehaven advises all users to have some sort of anti-virus software that is continually updated, such as Symantec's (www.symantec.com) products.  With such software installed, emails containing virus should automatically be detected and deleted.  Their web site also contains up-to-date information on the viruses, and also often includes removal tools.  

Unfortunately, our Hosting Support Team will not be able to provide information on viruses (whether an email contains one, or not).  Thus, the best way to answer this question is with the anti-virus software (which can automatically detect this for you).  Also, you can consult Symantec's web site, where it is often easy to search for viruses which relate to the message you received (For example, you could search for the file name attached to the email, or the subject line of the email).

Emails containing viruses do not always originate from email addresses you are familiar with, and can be considered spam. Thus, if you are interested in filtering options available, please see above.

 

 


It looks like someone is sending email using my domain name. Are they? How can I stop this?

Typically, this is unsolicited email or more specifically SPAM. More often than not, it is a case of a forged email header where the senders email address (yours) is forged. This is rather widespread and easy to do (something that has plagued some of the largest web operations, such as PayPal and major banks).  In such a case, for example, someone could just modify the from address in their Outlook settings to be say bill@microsoft.com and leave all other fields the same. If a message is sent, it will appear to be from bill@microsoft.com. However, it is typically done on a more automated/program level, and on a larger scale (using your email and that of many many others). These types of messages are also commonly used to spread viruses. You may receive an email that appears to be a notification that you sent a virus to a particular party. However, the message stating you sent a virus is actually the virus itself, or a forged sender actually sent the virus (again this is an example and does not cover every case).

If this is not something that seems "rampant", you might consider just deleting or ignoring the emails.  If the problem persists and/or you would like to do all that you can you might consider:
- Adjust your spam filtering settings to "blacklist" a particular email address(es) where they are frequently sent from (such as nonuser@yourdomain.com), or to lower the "score" set for your spam control.
- Setup an SPF record.  To read more about this topic (documentation not written or "endorsed" by Pebblehaven), please click here.
- Email our Hosting Support Team with login information for an email account that contains such messages, along with the date/time stamps for them.  This will allow them to analyze the message headers and possibly see the origins of the email(s), etc.

 

 


How can I have an autoresponse/away message automatically sent to any emails which are sent to my email address during a given time?

Simply login to your hosting control panel.  If you would like to have someone walk you through this, just call!

 

 


I would like to delete all the mail in my inbox (or any folder), what is the best way to go about this?

There are two primary methods:

1) Quickly delete the email account, and then add it back again via your hosting control panel.  This will truly "refresh" things for you.

2) Login to your web based email, select all the messages (typically by clicking on "Toggle All" or "Select All"), and then delete (typically by clicking "Delete" or move to "Trash").  Sometimes you may receive an error message due to a lack of available space/memory (usually when message count exceeds a very unusual amount).  In this case, simply delete a small amount of messages at a time (maybe one page of 25 messages).   Or, if you are simply unable to view the messages (receiving an error message when attempting), you will either have to download/delete your messages using IMAP (an email client protocol) or:

3) You can request that our Update Team login and do this for you, however it is charged as an update request.

 

 


How can I stop receiving email from a particular email address?

How can I ensure email from a particular email address is not filtered?

How can I increase or decrease the level of spam filtering?

On most of our accounts, you can make all of the adjustments from within your hosting control panel

Special Tips: If you do not want to receive any email from a particular domain, you can place an * before the domain name, when adding it to your blacklist.  For example, add *@domain.com to your blacklist.  This would block anything from any address @domain.com (such as joe@domain.com, etc.).  If you simply do not want to receive email from a particular email address, simply add that exact address to your blacklist.

 

 


How can I have spam automatically deleted?

You can instruct the server to automatically delete emails it determines to be spam, where you manage other spam settings, within your hosting control panel.  From there, how to do so will vary depending upon what type of server the email account in question resides on.  For example, go to "Mail" then click on the email account in question and then "Spam Filter", or "Users" then click on the "Mail" link to the right of the email account in question and then "Configure".  Then, try either selecting "Delete" under "What to do with spam mail" (and saving) or there is a folder name that messages are moved to when determined to be spam and you can just remove that folder name (thus they are not placed in any folder).

 

 


How can I have messages older than x days in my spam folder automatically deleted?

The Hosting Support Team is able to add users to a script that will delete any messages in the trash and spam folders older than 14 days, upon request.  The script runs every week, on Sunday.

 

 

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