30 min. install, green lights on everything, but emails fail

(Greg Gurr) #1

I read everyone’s install guide(s) (THANK YOU ALL), got green lights on all the DNS and email config,
the registration email is arriving at SparkPost … but every one that SparkPost receives is bounced with a 550 error and very strange: 550 5.6.0 JSON parsing error in X-MSYS-API: continue at offset 0

My DNS and POP email is managed by networksolutions for all our domains, I don’t know if it’s upset by receiving mail from SparkPost that it never sent … and I’m assuming there’s no way that discourse is truly generating a parsing error in X-MSYS-API…

I’m stumped and dead in the water. I’ve reached out to SparkPost to see if they’ve got an idea, since I assume they can see much more than I can.

I also have no idea what I’m doing… I know all the pieces, but I’ve never spun up a cloud server until now.

Any ideas ?

(Matt Palmer) #2

Take a look at JSON parsing error in X-MSYS-API.

(Greg Gurr) #3

Holy crap, that thread’s still warm, I can still see steam coming off it. Thanks Matt, I’ll stay tuned!

(mountain) #4

Try redownloading and rebuilding the app. The bug is fixed (tested it mh’self; it works).

(Greg Gurr) #5

Well that sure fixed everything… now at least I know I’m being blocked by spamhaus. Oh that’s so much better.

553 5.3.0 Rejected - see http://www.spamhaus.org

Something about blah blah sparkpostmail blah blah amazon.com blah blah being slapped with an SBL Advisory. I guess that’s the cost of free - probably time to find a less spammy SMTP service.

30 minutes + 2 days. d’oh!

(Régis Hanol) #6

You should try SendGrid, Mailgun or Mailjet :wink:

I’ve seen multiple reports about mails sent by SparkPost being marked as spam because their IP address was blacklisted…

If I see one more, I’ll remove them from our blessed list.

(Jeff Atwood) #7

This happens on all free mail providers. It depends what kind of “neighbors” you get on your IP address, since they all use shared IPs.

(Jay Pfaffman) #8

For example,if you want a clean IP address, mail gun charges $59/month.

(Greg Gurr) #9

I guess what I’m having trouble wrapping my head around is that I can run my entire forum on server for $10/mo, Netflix can stream a billion giga billion bytes a day for $8/mo, but email – which is what, SMS texting without a phone – could cost between $50 - $150 per month AND everyone seems totally fine with “yah, a bunch of your messages will fail for no reason because we send your stuff with Viagra guy’s stuff.”

Sure I could pay even more and get a private IP to send the mail … but this just seems bizarre considering I’ve used email for decades and essentially every email I expected to arrive has arrived. But now I can pay for a service where randomly, a sign-up message will bounce, a password reset will bounce, a reply-post will disappear. Who cares if a few hundred fake amazon coupons go missing… but why are these email services treating my forum emails like penis extensions [no judge]. Why isn’t there a low-bandwidth, high-importance email delivery for things like registrations, flagged posts, etc. and then, sure, bulk for the rest like weekly summaries?

I could expect all this crap for free emails, but if you’ve got any sized community, you can easily expect 100 emails per month per person (judging by other comments in meta) if you leave on all the options (and there are probably more ways to communicate via email coming down the discourse pipe), and you’re very quickly into paying territory for any email service.

and not that I’ve read the entire Internet, but it’s not like this is described on any of the email service websites I’ve looked at. I guess I’m just surprised that the service is that expensive/crappy and/or that I was that naive.

(Sam Saffron) #10

We can control

  • Our mail provider… the one we run works just fine
  • Our recommendation of mail providers, sendgrid, mailgun and mailjet

We can not control

  • General email deliverability on the Internet

So… I am not sure exactly how to respond here @WhatNo

(mountain) #11

He is lamenting to those with the same frustrations, willing to sympathize. And Discourse provides the perfect avenue for replying to lamenting: :heart:ing it if one agrees to the expressed lament.

(Jeff Atwood) #12

places arm around Greg’s shoulder

Greg, have I told you about the amazing Discourse Hosting Plans we have on offer?

(Matt Palmer) #13

It would, indeed, be a sad irony if it was cheaper to get a hosted Discourse forum (including reliable e-mail delivery) than to get reliable e-mail delivery by itself…


I had a similar problem with Sparkpost, and after several hours of trying to understand what’s going on, I’ve moved to another email provider. Try with Mailgun. Let me know if you progress.

(Greg Gurr) #15

Thanks Jeff, that’s really where it started. We have absolutely no desire to host a forum, but we do want to offer a forum. It was easy to find hosted forums in the $100+/month range, and that is so outside of what we can afford… and also outside of the value to our user community when we compare it to the cost of our other services. As we know, $10/mo buys a server that works 100% well, 24/7. $20/mo runs our entire high-end website with no bandwidth limits. $10 or $20 per month is something we can consider for any service we would think to add. But nothing can justify (to us) +$100 month that doesn’t actually pay for itself.

So let’s look at our stats. We’re not big (2 million page views per year), we’re not for profit. We have a health-related site, with a community that is primarily about recovery. We don’t have advertising (partly because it’s difficult to control the content sufficiently). Our existing forum typically has about 200 active users at any one time, we’ve had about 3,000 forum users over the last 5 years. Visitors are about 50% mobile now.

So if we paid $10/mo for a server (which we don’t), and if we pay $20/mo for site hosting, what should we pay to host a forum? Not what’s available, but what should we pay? I think we should pay $10 or $20/mo for a forum. It’s not my fault that good forum software isn’t available for $10 or $20 month … it’s not your fault that you’ve got to pay the bills.

If we were MSN Cars, we should pay huge money to host our forums, but since we’re just us, we should pay next to no money to host forums. I’m sure there’s a huge market for good forum software in a price-range for groups like us that are tiny but chatty (but not if you also provide hand-holding support levels… I’m not saying that’s affordable for you). So if you’re able to find a metered pricing model, we’re in.

In the meantime, it’s still fair for us to point out that these email hosting companies are too SPAM focussed, we don’t send much and none of it is SPAM, and all of our other services (for $10 and $20 a month) are able to provide us with (essentially) 100% uptime, 100% deliverability, it should be easy to host us small-fry with the same kind of performance guarantee in the email hosting realm. It should be affordable to send 50,000 emails for $10/mo with 100% deliverability, and automatic roll-over/retry if they bounce due to a SPAM block being slapped on one of their IP’s outside of my control. I think they’re just being overly whiney, lazy, greedy to charge closer to $50 for that kind of service.

This whole thread started with our very first email thrown back in our face due to the hosts SPAM-blocked IP… maybe we just got off on the wrong foot. So we’ll carry on for now with rolling our own discourse on our own (awesome) Digital Ocean server; we’re lucky because we can, but it’s still not our business model and we don’t want to be here.

(Jeff Atwood) #16

I hear you, and that’s exactly why Discourse is 100% open source and free to everyone. So what it boils down to, is what your time is worth, and how much money you have.

If you have lots of time, you can apply “elbow grease” to problems like this – you could even set up your own email server if you’re feeling superhuman and don’t mind spending weeks on the task. I wouldn’t recommend it, but it’s definitely possible.

Unfortunately waving a magic wand and fixing email for the world is a bit beyond the abilities of Civilized Discourse Construction Kit, Inc… so you’re stuck with what the free email providers can do.