Problems with email deliverability on Sparkpost

(Roy Petter Torgersen) #1

I just set up a new discourse instance for our forum at
I’ve been having a lot of issues this time, but the main one left now is email deliverability:
The activation emails sometimes go out, sometimes they leave late, sometimes they don’t all together.
The invite emails (nothing serious, about 20 addresses put in one by one) don’t seem to go out either.
But when I test email deliverability at admin -> email -> adjustments, it flies through and get delivered in a few seconds.

Any idea what this can be caused by?

(Jeff Atwood) #2

Did you go through all the advice on the test email line by line? That advice is critical.

(Roy Petter Torgersen) #3

Be sure to set the notification email from: address correctly in your site settings. The domain specified in the “from” address of the emails you send is the domain your email will be validated against.

Know how to view the raw source of the email in your mail client, so you can examine email headers for important clues. in Gmail, it is the “show original” option in the drop-down menu at the top right of each mail.

IMPORTANT: Does your ISP have a reverse DNS record entered to associate the domain names and IP addresses you send mail from? Test your Reverse PTR record here. If your ISP does not enter the proper reverse DNS pointer record, it’s very unlikely any of your email will be delivered.

Is your domain’s SPF record correct? Test your SPF record here. Note that TXT is the correct official record type for SPF.

Is your domain’s DKIM record correct? This will significantly improve email deliverability. Test your DKIM record here.

Returns the correct key

If you run your own mail server, check to make sure the IPs of your mail server are not on any email blacklists. Also verify that it is definitely sending a fully-qualified hostname that resolves in DNS in its HELO message. If not, this will cause your email to be rejected by many mail services.

N/A Using SparkPost

We highly recommend you send a test email to to verify that all the above is working correctly.

Ok, a couple of errors, I’ll check out the DMARC record (first time I hear off it)

What I don’t get is that the test emails are coming through fine. Are those sent in a different way from the other emails?

(Jeff Atwood) #4

If you are in blacklists you are screwed. The only way I found to get off the blacklists was to pay for a dedicated IP. Too many “bad neighbors” sending spam on the shared IPs.

I tried manually filing for IP removal with each spam service, and that worked a little but the bad spam kept coming from the IP to the spam traps and we kept getting added back to the blacklists.

Until I paid for a dedicated IP and since then it has been literally flawless. Night and day difference.

(Roy Petter Torgersen) #5

Bummer, I kind of didn’t want to spend money on a dedicated IP, at least not yet.
I’ll send the info to Sparkpost. I guess it’s in their interest to ensure their sending IPs are not blacklisted, since that’s their business. I guess there is a drawback with having all those free emails :unamused:

(Roy Petter Torgersen) #6

well, I didn’t get an answer from sparkpost so I changed the SMTP server. That solved the problem.

(David Jameson) #7

I think the main problem is that sparkpost have a very lax anti-spam policy. Unless you’re getting a large number of abuse reports, they don’t really care. I reported one of their spammers twice, and each time they said “We have taken action against this account”, but the spam kept coming. Eventually they admitted that “Each time we have taken action, we have added the recipient’s email from the headers that you have sent to the customer’s suppression list that you are receiving unwanted mail from”. So they basically listwash complaints. (Although even their listwashing didn’t seem to work, they somehow managed to screw it up).

I see their ips are already on various blacklists.