Over the years, this issue has come up time and time again. Most ISP’s (internet service providers) now block port 25, which is the outbound email (SMTP) port. In the name of trying to “help block spam”, they make it a huge headache for customers who use their own domain or another email provider. If you call Bellsouth or Comcast as a residential customer, their answer is “tough – upgrade to a business account”. That is absolutely a waste of money.
As most of you know, I DO NOT recommend using your ISP’s email account.
Many email services also don’t allow you to use anything other than port 25 for your outbound email so customers are left with configuration issues to get their email to work if they use an email client such as Thunderbird, Outlook, Outlook Express, MacMail, etc. If you use a laptop, then things get really fun when you are on a network that is not your own such as a hotel, family member’s house, customer, etc.
What do you do for now? The setup varies slightly from service to service, but basically you are going to setup your email client to use your ISP’s outbound SMTP server and your ISP-provided email address/password for authentication.
What is the real solution? Use an robust email service that uses non-standard ports.
For instance, I HIGHLY recommend Google’s email service – Gmail. It uses non-standard ports (995 inbound POP and 587 outbound SMTP) plus SSL connections on the inbound and TLS on the outbound for enhanced security. It also supports IMAP and a host of other features. You can use it as a central point for your email as it will POP in your other email accounts. You can even set it to reply from those account addresses if you don’t want your Gmail address easily revealed.
Another solution is to just purchase your own domain and use Google Apps for your Domain for your email needs.
I use both of these methods for all of my email and have begun to migrate most of my customers over to the system. It just works – and the service from Google is basically free.
As usual, if you need help with any of these services, contact me. For a reasonable fee, I will be glad to setup everything including migrating your existing email over.
Webmail vs Local Email
Anti-Spam Techniques in Email
ATT / Bellsouth E-mail Best Practice Guidelines
ATT Bellsouth Port 25 Filtering Help Center
Comcast takes hard line against spam
Thunderbird – Cannot send email