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Cannot send emails using Thunderbird

Hi,

I'm unable to send emails from my virgin.net account using Thunderbird, and I would appreciate any assistance.

The scenario is as follows:

Sometime last summer while I was at home in the UK (July I think), I was unable to send emails using my virgin account. This had happened ocassionally in the past and usually the problem would go away by itself although sometimes I had to reboot the router or PC. This time the problem didn't go away by itself,  so I set up my virgin account on Thunderbird to use a different smpt server so that I could continue to send my virgin emails. My setup in the UK is Ubuntu Linux/Thunderbird/OpenWRT router/VPN/BT Infinity internet

After the summer I returned to my home in Portugal and found that I was unable to send emails from my virgin account using Thunderbird on my PC here. Again, I set up my virgin account on Thunderbird to use a different smpt server so that I could continue to send my virgin emails. My setup in Portugal is Ubuntu Linux/Thunderbird/OpenWRT router/MEO Portugal internet.

I've just obtained the Thunderbird SMTP log fine, and I'm getting a VM305 error:

2019-11-03 17:34:56.801544 UTC - [8341:Main Thread]: I/SMTP SMTP entering state: 0
2019-11-03 17:34:56.801564 UTC - [8341:Main Thread]: I/SMTP SMTP Response: 525 5.7.13 Authentication Denied (VM305)

My WAN IP address in Portugal is dynamic, so changes every day when my router reboots - I've just checked the current address is not blacklisted.

I've also thoroughly checked the Virgin SMPT server settings on my PC and they are correct.

I can send/receive emails on my iPhone using my Virgin account and the Virgin SMTP server so there doesn't appear to be a problem with my Virgin account settings.

Does anyone have any ideas?

Thanks

Kevin

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Message 2 of 11
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Re: Cannot send emails using Thunderbird

There are at least two possible issues revealed by your post.

First, a fundamental requirement for continued use of a virgin.net email address is for it to be linked to a current Virgin Media cable broadband account installed at a UK residential address.

Apart from that VM305 error implies that the sending IP address is on the Spamhaus CSS list for sending spam.

If you are attempting to send from a non VM IP addresses then this is an issue you are unlikely to be able to clear.

Given your situation the best approach would be to get a new email address that is independent of any ISP and start using that.

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Graham

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Re: Cannot send emails using Thunderbird

Graham,

Thanks for your reply.

I didn't know about Spamhaus, but my ip address is not blocked by them.

You are saying that attempting to send Virgin email from a non VM ip address is likely to be problematic. That would make Virgin email useless to anyone who wished to use email when not connected to their home VM broadband, ie on mobile devices.

My Virgin email works fine on my iPhone

 

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Message 4 of 11
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Re: Cannot send emails using Thunderbird

What I mean is if the IP address you are sending from is a shared one or a frequently recycled one you could be caught out by other people's nefarious activity.

You didn't answer the question as to whether you have a VM home broadband account.

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Re: Cannot send emails using Thunderbird

@kevinhorsey 

I'm a little confused here, you claim you don't know about Spamhaus but yet you do know that your IP is not blocked by them - how?

Firstly, technically you are correct, Spamhaus don't actually block anyone's address, they just give a yes or no - in fact to be really accurate, they just give a yes or don't respond when asked, "is this IP address on one of your block lists and if so which one" and leave it to the requestor to decide what to do with that information.

However the VM305 error code is very specific, your IP address absolutely was listed on the Spamhaus CSS block list at the time of the request, and as such VM will deny access to any devices trying to connect to their mail submission servers connecting from that address.

When you say, you changed SMTP servers so as to be able to send emails from your VM account, what did you change them to and what were they before?

John

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Re: Cannot send emails using Thunderbird

John,

I didn't know about Spamhaus previously, so I checked their site to see if my IP was blocked. My ip address only has a PLB listing which they say is perfectly normal and shouldn't prevent authenticated SMTP mail from being sent.

I realise the VM305 error code is very specific, but do not understand why it is happening, unless my ip is being blocked for some reason I don't understand.

There is no reason for a block on my ip - it is dynamic, and even after rebooting my router and getting a new ip I still get the same error. The implication of this is that anyone using their mobile phone when connected to a wireless router on the Portuguese MEO ISP will not be able to send Virgin emails. I don't believe this is intended to happen!

My iPhone is connected to MEO on 4G at the moment and it works perfectly with my Virgin email account

Thunderbird allows multiple outgoing SMTP servers to be defined, so it's easy to assign one to an email account. I changed from smtp.virginmedia.com to the address of my Portuguese SMTP email server so that I could get my virgin emails sent. I've had to use this fix in the past when virgin emails inexplicably wouldn't send (normally the situation would resolve itself), and then I changed back to smtp.virginmedia.com

 

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Message 7 of 11
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Re: Cannot send emails using Thunderbird

Please answer Graham’s question -

do you have a VM home broadband account (ie a monthly paid-for service)?

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Message 8 of 11
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Re: Cannot send emails using Thunderbird


@kevinhorsey wrote:

John,

I didn't know about Spamhaus previously, so I checked their site to see if my IP was blocked. My ip address only has a PLB listing which they say is perfectly normal and shouldn't prevent authenticated SMTP mail from being sent.

Correct PBL listings don't stop mail being sent.

I realise the VM305 error code is very specific, but do not understand why it is happening, unless my ip is being blocked for some reason I don't understand.

VM305 errors ONLY happen when an IP address shows up on Spamhaus' CSS.  Note though that major email providers don't check the CSS directly, rather they download a copy of the CSS and then they query that copy.  Thus it can take 24 - 48  hours before the copy is updated.

There is no reason for a block on my ip - it is dynamic, and even after rebooting my router and getting a new ip I still get the same error. The implication of this is that anyone using their mobile phone when connected to a wireless router on the Portuguese MEO ISP will not be able to send Virgin emails. I don't believe this is intended to happen!

The problem with Dynamic addresses that change frequently is that if someone has been blacklisted and they change their address then an innocent party can end up being affected.  This actually happened to me.  I'm currently on a BT network and the public address changed on Friday, with the new address being listed on the CSS.  I prefer Virgin Media's approach.  their IP addresses are Dynamically allocated but rarely change.

My iPhone is connected to MEO on 4G at the moment and it works perfectly with my Virgin email account

Thunderbird allows multiple outgoing SMTP servers to be defined, so it's easy to assign one to an email account. I changed from smtp.virginmedia.com to the address of my Portuguese SMTP email server so that I could get my virgin emails sent. I've had to use this fix in the past when virgin emails inexplicably wouldn't send (normally the situation would resolve itself), and then I changed back to smtp.virginmedia.com
It's a bad idea these days to send emails through the wrong SMTP servers.  anti spoofing mechanisms mean that at best mails sent via the wrong SMTP servers will end up in spam folders, and at worst will be rejected.

 


I will also repeat @BillC45 and @Graham_A 's requests for confirmation that you have a live broadband account.

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Message 9 of 11
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Re: Cannot send emails using Thunderbird

Thanks all for your replies.

From what I understand from these replies, Virgin uses to Spamhaus to identify ip addresses from which spam (or other rubbish) either originates or has originated in the recent past.

With dynamic ip addresses, the link between the originator of the spam and the current user of the ip address will be tenuous at best and will only last while the spammer is using that ip address. Therefore, there is a high probability that Spamhause will blacklist dynamic ip addresses previously used by spammers that have now been assigned to normal people just trying to send/receive their emails. That is not a reasonable business practice.

Of course it could be that a users PC or router has been hacked and is producing spam, in which the blacklisting of the ip is reasonable and necessary.

VM305 is an error that only occurs when Spamhaus blacklists a certain ip address because spam is detected

As I get VM305 both here in Portugal (dynamic ip) and in the UK (fixed ip), then Spamhaus must have blacklisted both ip addresses

However, I've checked both ip addresses with Spamhaus and they are not blacklisted

Therefore VM305 must relate to something other than Spamhaus

Maybe the Virgin support guys can shed some light on this??

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Message 10 of 11
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Re: Cannot send emails using Thunderbird

There's still the elephant in the room - do you have a current Virgin Media broadband account?

From your first post it would appear not. 

"My setup in the UK is Ubuntu Linux/Thunderbird/OpenWRT router/VPN/BT Infinity internet"

Without a current Virgin Media broadband account you are not entitled to use the VM email systems.




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