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Troubleshooting mail delivery woes



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When E-Mail Delivery doesn’t work

Have you ever run into this problem? You are sending an email to someone, they don’t receive it, and you don’t receive any sort of bounce message? No delayed delivery notice, no unknown user bounce, nothing at all to help troubleshoot the problem? That happened to me yesterday, and there were a few things I learned from troubleshooting the problem (and working with my hosting provider’s technical support team) that resolved the issue.

My company email is handled through G-Suite. It works well for me, so I’ve been using it for several years now. I was sending an email to a client after his mail was migrated to a new provider, and it wasn’t going through. And, like I mentioned earlier, I wasn’t getting a bounce message either. But, I learned of three tools that, while I knew they existed, had never really needed them before, so I’m going to document them here for future reference.

Tool #1: Check the DNS records

There are many sites out there that you can use to check DNS records. You can do it via the command line by running an nslookup command or a dig command (some platforms may not support dig). You can also check it online by using a site like intodns.com. When you pull up the site, you’ll see a screen like this one:

Just type the domain name in the box you see and click on report, and you’ll get a very thorough analysis of what the DNS records are for that domain.

Tool #2: Using G-Suite’s Email Log Search

If you are an administrator of a G-Suite setup, like I am for my company, you can perform an Email Log Search. Start by logging into your G-Suite account at admin.google.com. Once you have logged in, you’ll be at your Admin console. Look for the icon for Reports, click on it, and then, on the left hand side, scroll until you see (under the Audit section) the link for Email Log Search. Click on it, and you’ll be taken to a screen like this one:

For my purposes, I just supplied my sender email address and the recipient email address and did a search of that. When the search is conducted, it will provide a list of any messages that match the criteria. Clicking on one of the messages will provide additional information about that message.

What I was seeing was a whole bunch of DNS errors. For example, a lookup of the domain I was emailing was returning a SERVFAIL code.

Tool #3: Flush the Google DNS Cache

The email account that was migrated to a new provider was receiving email, just not from my account. Finally, one of the tech guys at the hosting company flushed the public DNS cache on Google. Once that was done, there have been no other mail issues. Here is the site for flushing the cache: https://developers.google.com/speed/public-dns/cache

The tools that are listed here are probabaly not new to most of you, but there are always times when you may need to access them for some troubleshooting purpose. That’s the point of this post. I hope it helps you like it has helped me! Good luck, and have a great day!

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