No error messages, but the email doesn't arrive

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25 May 2011 23:59 #1

Symptoms
After submit the contact form, on screen notification informs you that the email was sent, but it never reaches your mailbox.
It is rejected and returned to the sender, or goes right into the spam folder.

Requirements
This document assumes you are familiar with

  1. Sender Policy Framework (SPF)
  2. Deploying / Publishing SPF Records
  3. Test SPF records
Since these are technical changes that could impact on your entire domain, and details of these changes vary by system, we strongly recommend they be made with the help of a qualified system administrator, who will be perfectly able to identify the actions to be taken.

Solution
SPF problems are related to the anti-spam policy of the provider who handle the mailbox where you aspect to receive the submissions, but it's caused by a bad DNS configuration in the domain to which your server belongs, and note that this domain is not necessarily your domain name. Often it is your provider's domain name indeed.
You have to analyse the headers and the route of outgoing emails, and set the SPF DNS records accordingly.
A few examples follows, just to give to the outsiders, an idea of how SPF works.

Example of a failing delivery
  1. Joomla and Fox Contact are installed at the URL "http://yoursite.com".
  2. The domain "yoursite.com" is hosted by "yourprovider.com", an Internet Service Provider, on a machine called "hostname", with ip address "1.2.3.4".
  3. Fox Contact is configured to send email notifications to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  4. You submit a contact form.
  5. The email is automatically marked with:
    • Return-Path: <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
    • Sender: <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
  6. The email then arrives to the GMail server.
  7. GMail server reads the SPF records by the DNS. Note that it doesn't read SPF records for "yourdomain.com", but for "yourprovider.com", because of Return-Path and Sender headers. SPF records say that only IP address 1.1.1.1 is designated to send email from "yourprovider.com", but the email arrived from ip "1.2.3.4", so it is rejected and returned to the sender.
  8. The sender is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Probably this mailbox doesn't exist, so the email will be permanently lost.

Example of a succesfully delivery
  1. Joomla and Fox Contact are installed at the URL "http://yoursite.com".
  2. The domain "yoursite.com" is hosted by "yourprovider.com", on a machine called "hostname", with ip address "81.31.144.124".
  3. Fox Contact is configured to send email notifications to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  4. You submit a contact form.
  5. The email is automatically marked with:
    • Return-Path: <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
    • Sender: <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
  6. The email then arrives to the GMail server.
  7. GMail server reads the SPF records for "yourprovider.com", then it accepts the email and it adds the following headers:
  8. Authentication-Results: mx.google.com; spf=pass (google.com: best guess record for domain of This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. designates 81.31.144.124 as permitted sender)

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  • Armindo
  • Armindo's Avatar
26 May 2011 00:52 #2

Fox contact form very nice extension. I use joomla 1.6 Unfortunately I can't receive the email from sender.
I use Global setting - Mailer - PHP Mail

Need your help.

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26 May 2011 00:54 #3

Armindo,
your website radioliberdadedili.com is hosted by rumahweb.com on the machine rebellion.rumahweb.com with IP address 50.22.122.2.
The email generated is marked with:
Return-Path: <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
The email recipient is m#####@radioliberdadedili.com
Let's see who handle the mailboxes for radioliberdadedili.com...
radioliberdadedili.com mail is handled by 0 radioliberdadedili.com.
radioliberdadedili.com mail is handled by 0 ASPMX.L.GOOGLE.com.
Now let's check SPF records for rumahweb.com :
only 173.192.123.180 and 173.192.107.82 IP address are acceptable, but your mail was originated from 50.22.122.2, so your ASPMX.L.GOOGLE.com server will reject it.

Your provider has a bad DNS configuration.

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  • Eric Kiser
  • Eric Kiser's Avatar
01 Sep 2011 02:30 #4

Hi,

ok obviously I am using your beautiful and awesome fox form, but I do have the same problem like the others, good thing I found this thread. Anyhow what email provider would you suggest that would solve the problem?

I really love your contact form so using another is not an option. Help me please :)

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01 Sep 2011 21:57 #5

Please post your Joomla Mail settings and the email address you want to use to receive messages.

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22 Oct 2011 22:10 #6

Hi Fox,

First thing, thanks for you great component :)


I bet this section suits me since I have the message which says that the mail is well send (the the phpmail function works, right?), but i receive nothing!

I first tried with a gmail box (then i discovered this topic), then with a @laposte.net, with a @club-internet.fr ... but each time it's failing.

Cut you give me an example of a mailing system you're sure it not uses SPF checks?

Edit : i've got the same problem with Kunena (forum) component. No mails are send to the personns who create an account.

I wonder if there is not an other problem?

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