On shared hosting servers we have hundreds of domains and thousands of mail users using a single server. And all these domains and users send email out on one IP. Everyone on a server has a joint responsibilty to keep their server’s IP off email blacklists! Every week we receive complaints that some server’s IP has been blacklisted by AOL or some other provider and we can easily fix the issue by changing the IP or asking to be whitelist but this works only until the next time.
So why do servers send spam and get blacklisted? Back in the old days the big problem was formmail. While these do still present problems their are two main reasons these days:
1) Email boxes get hacked and mail is sent. This does not mean that a hacker is physically trying to hack into your mailbox, connects via Outlook or Webmail, reads your mail and then sends a million emails. It is all done automatically by spambots that crawl the web. They find a domain and then run a username and password script against it so if you have a mailbox caled “info” with password “123456” then you WILL get hacked. You may never know about it but a spambot will connect to the server with your credentials and send spam. You might receive some mail failures from messages you didn’t send which would indicate this might have happened (but you can also get failures from mail sent to look as though it came from your domain but wasn’t sent from our server which is called “spoofing”) or the spambot can simply blackhole the Reply To field so you’d never know if this has happened.
SOLUTION: Use a password that does not exist in a dictionary and is at least a combination of letters and numbers. The more complex the characters, the harder it is to hack. If you are a reseller or simply have other people using mail on your domains please tell them to use better passwords.
2) Popular software like WordPress or OSCommerce or any freeware PHP script will always be targeted by spammers because they are so widely used. The programmers that make such software constantly update their code not just to add new features but because a spammer has found a new way to exploit their code and hack a server or mail function. If you use some popular PHP script you absolutely MUST keep it updated. If the software provider releases an update you should upgrade as soon as possible.
Please help us to keep mail flowing!