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chrism

[Resolved] Problems with Spamcop's download of POP3 mail

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My Spamcop account is configured to download e-mail via POP3 from my ISP, Demon Internet in the UK, using their pop3 server "pop3.demon.co.uk". Since last night this has been reporting "Unable to contact server" errors. There doesn't appear to be a problem at Demon's end - their helpdesk say that there are no reports of POP3 problems, and I can download mail from Demon directly with no problems.

If I replace the entry in the "External POP3 servers" page in Webmail, the new entry works, generally once or twice, but then it too start reporting "Unable to contact server".

Is anyone else experiencing similar problems, or does anyone have any thoughts on what the cause of the problem might be?

Thanks,

Chris (chrism[at]spamcop.net)

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To follow up on this, I've just spoken to a friend who also uses Spamcop with Demon Internet and he's seeing the same issue - "Unable to contact server" errors shown in the "Configure External POP servers" page. For both of us, this seems to be started sometime yesterday evening (UK time).

The peculiar thing is that it seems to be absolutely reproducable that if I delete the entry with errors, and then re-add it, it works once or twice and then starts giving errors.

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No POP3 mail here either, on Zen in the UK. It's not being fetched into Spamcop by the look of it, as I can go to the native POP3 servers and download it directly (spam and all). Had something similar a couple of weeks ago when the mail *was* being fetched into Spamcop but couldn't access any spamcop web addresses to fetch it to my Outlook - apparently that was down to a DNS problem but this seems different.

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No POP3 mail here either, on Zen in the UK. It's not being fetched into Spamcop by the look of it, as I can go to the native POP3 servers and download it directly (spam and all). Had something similar a couple of weeks ago when the mail *was* being fetched into Spamcop but couldn't access any spamcop web addresses to fetch it to my Outlook - apparently that was down to a DNS problem but this seems different.

Are you getting errors shown in the "Configure External POP Servers" screen of Webmail, Prof? (Log onto webmail, then "Options", "Spamcop Tools", "Configure External POP Servers")

It makes me somewhat happier that it's not just me seeing this, anyway!

Like you, I can retrieve email from my ISP without difficulty, so I don't think it's a problem at the Demon end.

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Yes I am fetching from 4 POP3 accounts, 3 are showing "cannot contact server" and one says "invalid password" - and all have an error count of between 40 and 70. Those accounts are on a couple of different UK networks so it looks like Spamcop has forgotten how to fetch UK mail.

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... and yet I don't think it's a DNS problem or a routing issue because I think you'll find that if you delete one of your POP3 server entries and then re-add it, you'll get a successful mail download once or twice, and then the errors will start again. Once the errors have started, the entry won't work again. That's what I'm seeing, anyway!

It's a rather wierd error. Hopefully once our American friends wake up in a couple of hours it'll get sorted.

Edited by chrism

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Moderators - do you need any additional information from us in order to report this problem to the Spamcop admins, or is there anything else we could do to help you diagnose the problem?

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I have to say, after years of trouble-free operation, this is two big Spamcop outages in a couple of weeks for me, and I understand this coincides with some kind of business takeover. I get really really bad vibes when that happens as I have had a few bad experiences with hosting / ISP companies in the UK who were so good they got bought up, and after the merger their service became absolute pants. I really hope this is not what is happening here... :blink:

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Moderators - do you need any additional information from us in order to report this problem to the Spamcop admins, or is there anything else we could do to help you diagnose the problem?

Have either of you tried the "Problem" button within SpamCop's Webmail screen? That it the best way recently to get support for the Webmail system.

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I've filled in the "Contact a Spamcop Representative" form on the main website; I'll try your suggestion too, though.

Done!

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Some of the servers seem to be working now. Others are still showing errors, but just deleting and then re-adding the last character of a password on the POP configuration screen and pressing "Modify" seems to re-start it.

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Some of the servers seem to be working now. Others are still showing errors, but just deleting and then re-adding the last character of a password on the POP configuration screen and pressing "Modify" seems to re-start it.

What I found, Prof, as I said in my original post, is that re-adding it made it work for 1 or 2 mail downloads and then the errors started again. How long has it been since yours have been re-added?

I'll try and reset mine again and see what happens.

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What I found, Prof, as I said in my original post, is that re-adding it made it work for 1 or 2 mail downloads and then the errors started again. How long has it been since yours have been re-added?

Unfortunately, for me now, re-adding my server is resulting in "Cannot contact server" the first time it tries to download mail :( .

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I think I'm having a similar problem. The POP3 host entry that spamcop uses to retrieve my email is reporting "Cannot contact server". I had been noticing that email wasn't getting transferred over this morning and it reported that there were 8 errors contacting the host. I was having this problem with the popgate2 entries, but I deleted those. After I deleted the popgate2 hosts everything was fine for a while, but now I'm having the problem with my main POP3 host. I erased and replaced the last character of the password and pressed the modify button to reset the POP3 entry, so it should work for a while.

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I think I'm having a similar problem.

Yes, that's exactly the same problem!

Would you mind using the "Problem" button on the main toolbar in Webmail to report it, please? I think that if a number of us do so it's more likely to be fixed than if only I do so.

What country is your ISP in, by the way?

Thanks!

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Yes, that's exactly the same problem!

I've got the same problem.... clicking "Modify" generally allows it to work for a while...

I'm also in the UK... trying to contact pop.ntlworld.com

Strangely, only the busy one says "unable to contact server" the other two which fetch mail from other ntlworld accounts are "OK".

I'll do the "Problem" thing to....

Fingers crossed this'll get sorted soon.

Malcolm

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I've got the same problem.... clicking "Modify" generally allows it to work for a while...

Not for me. All three servers still show the problem persistently.

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There's a similar discussion going on in one of the pinned "popgate" threads....here's a link to a post from someone who claims that their pops started working again:

http://forum.spamcop.net/forums/index.php?...ost&p=67291

However, "popgate2" is currently unable to talk to the free Yahoo system. As for using the "problem" report in the webmail...I'm not sure if that's working at the moment. It's supposed to result in an automated acknowledgment email, but I don't remember receiving one when I reported a problem over the weekend.

[on edit] I just used the "Problem" button in webmail, waited a few minutes, and haven't yet seen the auto-ack email that has shown up in the past, so I'm wondering if anyone is being notified of the current problems. Hey, Wazoo....please see if you can get through to JT using your backchannels.

DT

Edited by DavidT

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[on edit] I just used the "Problem" button in webmail, waited a few minutes, and haven't yet seen the auto-ack email that has shown up in the past, so I'm wondering if anyone is being notified of the current problems. Hey, Wazoo....please see if you can get through to JT using your backchannels.

I did get an auto-response when I clicked the problem button, but it would be nice to know that "the powers that be" are aware of this problem, since it does seem to be something which is genuinely affecting many people.

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I've filled in the "Contact a Spamcop Representative" form on the main website; I'll try your suggestion too, though.

Done!

This is likely delaying any solution as that is likely going to the Deputies for the reporting service then being forwarded to the admin for the mail service. They are 2 seperate "companies".

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What country is your ISP in, by the way?

My ISP is in the US. I used the problem button to report it.

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This is likely delaying any solution as that is likely going to the Deputies for the reporting service then being forwarded to the admin for the mail service. They are 2 seperate "companies".

My apologies if I've done the wrong thing - I wasn't aware of that.

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Fingers crossed this'll get sorted soon.

I've just had a "flood" of uncollected mail come through... this may just be temporary... but I did nothing to prompt it this time...

Malcolm

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I see there's now a message on the front page of the Webmail system:

Oct 15, 2008

[12:04 EDT] We are experiencing problems POPping from some external accounts. We're currently working on the problem. In the meantime, most mail systems can be set to forward mail and it is always faster and more reliable to forward your mail to your spamcop.net account for filtering instead of having us POP it.

Unfortunately, my ISP is one which doesn't offer a mail forwarding facility :).

Good to know that it's being worked on, anyway. Hopefully it'll be fixed by tomorrow morning here in the UK.

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