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Cindi Walton

21 Aug 2019, 10:09 pm

[Pro] Web Developer Services

I am having a problem with the order form at the above address. If I test it and click submit, I receive my success page, but I do not receive an email. I am sure this is something that can be fixed, but I am at a loss. Is there anyone who could look at this and fix it?

http://www.waltonlasergraphics.com/orderforminandou.html

waltd

21 Aug 2019, 10:59 pm

There are literally hundreds of different ways that this can go bad, ranging from a simple configuration error in the Action itself, so some deeply technical issues that have to do with modern anti-spam efforts.

What mail hosting provider do you use for the address where you have configured the mail to be sent? Is your Web server set up to be a mail host for the domain that it is on? (This is a DNS setting, called MX, for Mail eXchange.)

Let’s say your site is at www.example.com. And you are sending mail to [email protected] Unless the mail server at example.com is also the Web server that hosts www.example.com, it is vanishingly unlikely that the mail server will trust or accept mail sent to it by another server. That’s why MX records exist. They tell these two servers that they can trust each other.

Now even more likely, you have configured your form-mail to send to an address at gmail.com. Gmail doesn’t trust anyone who isn’t them. If you want mail to be delivered to a Gmail address, you really have to have dotted all your Is and crossed your Ts. You’ll want an MX record, also a TXT file record with your SPF (Sender Protection Framework) web of trust spelled out. You’ll want to ensure that the IP address of the mail server is not on a global blacklist for some reason (something that is all too easy to imagine, given the nature of shared servers, you are one of a thousand users of that IP address, and any of them could be evil).

These are just a few ways that this can go wrong. Your HTML form is not one of them. Maybe the PHP file that it links to contains a clue, but more likely than not, the real problem is way outside of your server and harder to fix.

Sorry to ruin your day.

Walter

On Aug 21, 2019, at 6:09 PM, Cindi Walton <[email protected]> wrote:

I am having a problem with the order form at the above address. If I test it and click submit, I receive my success page, but I do not receive an email. I am sure this is something that can be fixed, but I am at a loss. Is there anyone who could look at this and fix it?

http://www.waltonlasergraphics.com/orderforminandou.html

Freeway user since 1997

http://www.walterdavisstudio.com

Cindi Walton

22 Aug 2019, 3:31 pm

Thank you, Walt! I am glad to know it isn’t my form from Freeway. Even though this may be a huge mess.

My host provider is hostway (it came from Cable One). If I were to direct the emails to [email protected] (my domain name is waltonlasergraphics.com) would that solve the problem? Of course, if hostway hasn’t been blacklisted. They actually have a thing called Open X-change email that I can upgrade to.

Would a web developer be able to add the MX record and TXT file record to work with gmail?

waltd

23 Aug 2019, 1:08 pm

These are all things you can try.

If you can receive mail at the same host that your web site is at, then that’s the easiest to fix, as there is only one tech support group to talk to, and they can usually get their mail server to accept mail from their web server.

A further refinement to that may be to ensure that the mail appears to come from an address in that same domain, too. Often you will configure a form->mail gateway to send mail “from” the person filling out the form, so you can simply reply to the message and reach the person who sent it to you. The problem with that, in this day and age, is that you are basically “forging” the From: header in that case, and that’s one of the most common spammer tricks. (Have you gotten mail that appear to be From you?)

What you’ll need to do in that case is to set the Action to send the mail from a real address at waltonlasergraphics.com, and then have the e-mail address of the sender appear in the body of the message among all the other form fields. It makes it slightly more work to reply to the message, but the result is a much more “deliverable” e-mail.

Finally, you won’t need a developer to set up the DNS records, but you will need someone technical. Ideally, if you bought your domain from Hostway, and they manage the mail server and web server involved here, then they can set up the relevant TXT and MX records. They will be the best people to ask first. It is also common to have the DNS records configured by whatever registrar you bought the domain name from, so if you went to Hover, or god help you, GoDaddy, then talk to them next about this. Getting delivery to Gmail is Everest. You’ll want a Sherpa to help you.

Walter

On Aug 22, 2019, at 11:31 AM, Cindi Walton <[email protected]> wrote:

Thank you, Walt! I am glad to know it isn’t my form from Freeway. Even though this may be a huge mess.

My host provider is hostway (it came from Cable One). If I were to direct the emails to [email protected] (my domain name is waltonlasergraphics.com) would that solve the problem? Of course, if hostway hasn’t been blacklisted. They actually have a thing called Open X-change email that I can upgrade to.

Would a web developer be able to add the MX record and TXT file record to work with gmail?

Freeway user since 1997

http://www.walterdavisstudio.com

Cindi Walton

24 Aug 2019, 4:59 pm

Thank you, Walt! I appreciate all this help. I will contact Hostway and see about collecting my emails there and then add my domain email to where my form goes when the submit button is hit. My domain name is registered with 123 domains. Hopefully, using my domain email address through Hostway will get my order forms to me.

Cindi Walton

25 Aug 2019, 4:53 pm

Hello, Walt, I am still having problems getting my order form to come to my email account. I now have the recipient on the action form to [email protected] But, not luck getting the order forms. I spoke with Hostway, my domain host, and they said it was a coding problem and I needed a web developer. Do you do this kind of work?

waltd

25 Aug 2019, 5:20 pm

Honestly, they’re deflecting because this is a hard problem to solve. It’s literally a sysadmin problem, not a developer problem. You, plus the Actions in Freeway, are already doing all the things a developer can do. Setting up the DNS record correctly, and configuring the mail server to respond to your addresses on your domain, is exclusively a task for the server owners or administrators. Unless you can have “root” access on your server, you (or any other web developer) cannot fix this.

The only servers where I have successfully configured this are ones where I am the root (highest level) user. These are Virtual Private Servers, or VPSs. They are not at all the same thing as a shared hosting setup such as you have. I gladly pay extra for this (~$40/month vs ~$7/month) because for the kind of work I do, I need to own the entire server. The flip side of this coin is that I am responsible for setting everything up and keeping it up to date. That is a non-trivial trade-off.

Try these steps:

  1. Can you send mail from your Mac to the address you’ve configured on your Web server, and read it on the Webmail viewer on that server?
  2. Can you send mail from the server to your Mac, using the Webmail interface on your Web server to compose and send?
  3. Can you send mail from the server to a Gmail address?

Until you can do those, the form->mail handler on your site is not even in the picture. Because none of these issues are in the Web domain particularly, your hosting providers’ support should be willing to diagnose the issue. Once you have that part working, then you can move on to the next part.

Walter

On Aug 25, 2019, at 12:53 PM, Cindi Walton <[email protected]> wrote:

Hello, Walt, I am still having problems getting my order form to come to my email account. I now have the recipient on the action form to [email protected]den. But, not luck getting the order forms. I spoke with Hostway, my domain host, and they said it was a coding problem and I needed a web developer. Do you do this kind of work?

Freeway user since 1997

http://www.walterdavisstudio.com

Cindi Walton

25 Aug 2019, 6:18 pm

I can send an email from my gmail account to my cvwalton at mydomain.com and receive it at webmail.hostway.com. I can send an email from the webmail.hostway.com from my cvwalton/domain name to my gmail act and receive it. I can send an email to my cvwalton @domain name on webmail.hostway.com to cvwalton @domain name and receive it.

And, just to make sure I have it all correct…when I input an order and hit submit, I get the success page.

I think that answers all your questions.

My domain is not registered with Hostway but 123CheapDomains. There is a DNS Manager on the Hostway site control page. But, it is all greek to me.

One of the support people said yesterday that he could do the MX, TXT records for me. But, this person today said no. I may have to be a little more persistent.

waltd

25 Aug 2019, 7:49 pm

My guess is that webmail.hostway.com has an MX record, and your Web server (which is the machine that actually sends and signs the mail from your web form) does not. Especially since what you’re telling me is that the domain is from a different company.

Start with the registrar of your domain. See what the DNS records there look like. There are two basic kinds that you will find at a registrar: either they handle everything, so each machine that you have set up to use this domain (Web server, e-mail server, whatever other machines) will have a separate listing that looks like 123.123.123.123 (not a real address) followed by the name of that server (www.yourdomain.com). Alternatively, there will just be a SOA (Statement of Authority) listing the DNS servers for that domain, and those servers in turn are responsible.

If your hosting provider told you that they could fix the MX and TXT records, then what may be happening is that your domain is registered by 123CheapDomains, but the DNS is being managed by Hostway. If that’s the case, then Hostway CAN fix it for you, by adding an MX record for their Web server, and adjusting your TXT record to reflect that any server in your domain is allowed to send mail. They will know the IP address of that machine, and they can declare it to be a mail server for your domain.

Each mail server has a “priority”, with the lowest number being the most authoritative. If you have a machine that is just being used to send mail, but not to receive it, you would give it a very high priority number, so that it would only be sent mail as a last-ditch (all the other registered mail servers have left the building, say). That way it will appear to be a mail server, but it won’t be bothered with having to actually do any of that work.

There is one more possibility here, and that is that the Action isn’t configured correctly. There is an option in the PHP FormMail Action (and I think also in the Send Form Action) to set a different error page for each kind of error. You may have set your action up to either not have an error page at all, or to have a single error page for all errors, which can blur the distinction between errors. You don’t have to go to any trouble for these pages, just a blank page with the name of the error in the middle of the screen. This is a guess, though, because sending mail from the Action is largely a straightforward thing. You either spell the receiving address correctly, or you don’t. But to rule this out, go through the directions for the Action you’re using one more time, and confirm that everything is set correctly, and that you have given the Action the maximum number of possible error pages. Also, make sure that you are sending “from” a real address in your domain, and not using the form-user’s e-mail as the “from” address.

Walter

On Aug 25, 2019, at 2:18 PM, Cindi Walton <[email protected]> wrote:

I can send an email from my gmail account to my cvwalton at mydomain.com and receive it at webmail.hostway.com. I can send an email from the webmail.hostway.com from my cvwalton/domain name to my gmail act and receive it. I can send an email to my cvwalton @domain name on webmail.hostway.com to cvwalton @domain name and receive it.

And, just to make sure I have it all correct…when I input an order and hit submit, I get the success page.

I think that answers all your questions.

My domain is not registered with Hostway but 123CheapDomains. There is a DNS Manager on the Hostway site control page. But, it is all greek to me.

One of the support people said yesterday that he could do the MX, TXT records for me. But, this person today said no. I may have to be a little more persistent.

Freeway user since 1997

http://www.walterdavisstudio.com

waltd

25 Aug 2019, 7:52 pm

To take this a step further, let’s also try to isolate whether the mail can be sent at a base level by PHP on your server. Copy this code:

And use a plain-text text editor (not Word or another word processor) to save it into a file named test_mail.php. Edit the addresses, both from and too. Upload that file to your Web server, into some part of your site (either alongside the index.html page or somewhere else in the site tree). Now visit it in your browser. If all went well, you should see a typewriter-text listing that reads “Mail sent successfully”.

Then check your in-boxes and spam traps for any sign of the test message.

Walter

On Aug 25, 2019, at 2:18 PM, Cindi Walton <[email protected]> wrote:

I can send an email from my gmail account to my cvwalton at mydomain.com and receive it at webmail.hostway.com. I can send an email from the webmail.hostway.com from my cvwalton/domain name to my gmail act and receive it. I can send an email to my cvwalton @domain name on webmail.hostway.com to cvwalton @domain name and receive it.

And, just to make sure I have it all correct…when I input an order and hit submit, I get the success page.

I think that answers all your questions.

My domain is not registered with Hostway but 123CheapDomains. There is a DNS Manager on the Hostway site control page. But, it is all greek to me.

One of the support people said yesterday that he could do the MX, TXT records for me. But, this person today said no. I may have to be a little more persistent.

Freeway user since 1997

http://www.walterdavisstudio.com

Cindi Walton

25 Aug 2019, 10:06 pm

Thank you, again, Walt. I will give this all a go. I so appreciate your help.

Simon Manning

27 Aug 2019, 12:03 pm

Hi Cindi,

This email ended up a bit long-winded and full of information you may or may not care about. Do skip down to the tl;dr if you’re not interested in the details.


“I can send an email from my gmail account to my cvwalton at mydomain.com and receive it at webmail.hostway.com.”

This tells us that the MX record is probably set up correctly. MX records on a domain define where emails should be delivered when trying to send to [email protected] I can see this record on the domain in your opening message: waltonlasergraphics.com mail exchanger = 10 mail.waltonlasergraphics.com.

If you haven’t set anything up for mail.waltonlasergraphics.com, including that MX record on waltonlasergraphics.com, that may be a strong indicator that hostway are managing your DNS for you.

That said, the MX record isn’t actually necessary for sending email from [email protected], so you shouldn’t need to worry about that part.


What is needed though is the TXT record that Walter has talked about, specifically an SPF record within the TXT record. SPF records define what is allowed to send email on behalf of your domain.

Softpress have a number of servers that can send from [email protected], including the server running the softpress.com website, so we can look at that as an example: softpress.com text = “v=spf1 a mx a:skippy.softpress.com a: bruce.softpress.com a:wayne.softpress.com a:alfred.softpress.com ip4: 85.90.252.0/24 ip4:88.151.128.0/21 include:spf.mandrillapp.com include: servers.mcsv.net ~all”

Trimming that down to the parts we might care about, the TXT record might look like this: v=spf1 a mx a:alfred.softpress.com ip4:85.90.252.0/24 ~all

“v=spf1” says what the TXT record is and “~all” says how things should treat the rules. I won’t get into options for those for simplicity but the record must start and end with those.

Now the bits in the middle. “a” says to accept sending from the domain this record is on, so softpress.com in this case. “mx” says to accept sending from any of the things in the MX record. Both of these you will probably want, though my suspicion is that they won’t be effective.

“a:alfred.softpress.com” says to accept sending from that specific domain. This is the domain of the server where softpress.com is hosted, as well as some other things.

“ip4:85.90.252.0/24” says to accept sending from that one IP address, which I think is what you are going to need. “a” and “a:domain” rely on something called reverse DNS, getting a domain name for an IP address, but as you are on shared hosting it is not possible to use reverse DNS to get your domain name.

The IP address where your website is hosted is 216.110.144.137 and that resolves to id144137.securedata.net so I think your TXT record wants to look like “v=spf1 a mx a:id144137.securedata.net ip4:216.110.144.137/24 ~all”. From the SPF side of things, this would allow other people with websites on the same server to send emails from your domain, but Hostway should prevent this in their mail sending.


TL;DR: In summary, you shouldn’t have to care about the MX record. It looks like Hostway are managing your DNS so you should be able to add a TXT record on their admin panel somewhere, that TXT record should probably be “v=spf1 a mx a:id144137.securedata.net ip4:216.110.144.137/24 ~all”

You may want to run that TL;DR by Hostway so they can tell you if it’s correct, as well as give you specific instructions on how to apply the TXT record in their admin panel. Feel free to use any/all of this email when contacting them.

Simon

On Sun, Aug 25, 2019 at 11:06 PM Cindi Walton <[email protected]> wrote:

Thank you, again, Walt. I will give this all a go. I so appreciate your help.

Cindi Walton

28 Aug 2019, 12:58 pm

Thank you, Simon. I spoke with hostway.com. He said the MX is resolving and pointing to hostway.com. He said there was a problem with the form. I asked if a TXT record in their admin panel would correct this problem and he said that a TXT record would usually not help an email form on the website.

How do I tell the form has a problem? Walt suggested a test_mail.php When I did one my Mac made the file test_mail.php.rtf I uploaded it onto my website, but I don’t know where to see if it did anything.

Is there anyway you can look at my form and see if it is working?

waltd

28 Aug 2019, 11:59 pm

If you use TextEdit.app (the free text editor in MacOS) and with the Format menu, choose Make Plain Text, you will be able to save as plain text. RTF (Rich Text Format) has hidden control characters in it, and will not work as a php script. Remember also you must save the file with the filename ending in .php. If you do those things, then you will be able to see what the server does with a “plain vanilla” attempt at sending mail.

Walter

On Aug 28, 2019, at 8:58 AM, Cindi Walton <[email protected]> wrote:

Thank you, Simon. I spoke with hostway.com. He said the MX is resolving and pointing to hostway.com. He said there was a problem with the form. I asked if a TXT record in their admin panel would correct this problem and he said that a TXT record would usually not help an email form on the website.

How do I tell the form has a problem? Walt suggested a test_mail.php When I did one my Mac made the file test_mail.php.rtf I uploaded it onto my website, but I don’t know where to see if it did anything.

Is there anyway you can look at my form and see if it is working?

Freeway user since 1997

http://www.walterdavisstudio.com

Cindi Walton

29 Aug 2019, 6:00 pm

Okay, so I did the test_mail.php

I didn’t receive anything in my email box for Spam. Where else would I see a typewriter-text listing that reads “Mail sent successfully”.

I am sorry I am such a novice at all this. I know how to use Freeway, I think, but anything beyond that is greek to me.

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waltd

30 Aug 2019, 12:00 am

You would have seen that text on your browser when you navigated to your-server.com/test_mail.php in that browser. If you didn’t see anything at all on the screen, just blank white, then I’m not sure what could be going on. That script is set to report any and all errors. If you saw the plain text of the script itself, then either your server didn’t recognize the script as being PHP (perhaps it has a second, invisible file extension, like maybe test_mail.php.txt) or PHP isn’t running on that server. Without being able to test this out myself, it’s impossible to say.

Walter

On Aug 29, 2019, at 2:00 PM, Cindi Walton <[email protected]> wrote:

Okay, so I did the test_mail.php

I didn’t receive anything in my email box for Spam. Where else would I see a typewriter-text listing that reads “Mail sent successfully”.

I am sorry I am such a novice at all this. I know how to use Freeway, I think, but anything beyond that is greek to me.

Freeway user since 1997

http://www.walterdavisstudio.com