MDLog:/sysadmin

The Journal Of A Linux Sysadmin

AOL Whitelist Request Approved

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I am posting this short story hoping that it might save some time to other peoples doing the same thing. Working on a server migration for a good friend of mine, I came to the following problem: AOL whitelist acceptance. Anyone sending a large number of emails to AOL users knows that they will block your email server after a while. You are invited to apply for their whitelist in this case. Now I am not speaking of spam mails here, and in this case these were just notifications sent to the email addresses of the site members. Still since it is a very successful site, the number of emails sent is high (approx. 200mails/min).

Since we knew about this issue and the current mail server IP was in the AOL whitelist we tried to get the new server IP in the whitelist as well, prior to make the actual move to not have the member mails denied. Here is what we did:

  • configured the new server
  • properly defined all DNS and reverse DNS records.
  • sent a few test mails to see that all is ok.
  • applied for the AOL whitelist.

After a while we received the response: “Your request has been denied”… Wow… We were not expecting this. Why? Let’s try to call them and see: – calling… we have done that, and this is what happened. – response: hmm… you need to include in the whitelist the old server IP (that is on the whitelist now). – ok, we’ll do that, thank you! _ So we submitted the whitelist request again and after a while we got the same response. Hmm… Let’s call AOL again: – calling… here is the situation… what can we do? – response: hmm… your IP doesn’t have a history… include the old server IP in the request. – we did that already. – response: ok, then try t_o add also other IPs related to the site (web, dns)

What is the relevance of that? Even though it seemed without any logic we have done that also. And were again denied. After calling AOL again, they suggested that the IP has no history on their servers and we need to send mails from it for 30 days before we can ask for the whitelist.

So the next step was to relay all outgoing mails from the current server to the new one and start sending out mails from the new IP. We have closely monitored this and after just a few hours we were denied by AOL servers with the following error message:

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postfix/smtp[24247]: 9DAF3174D76: to=, relay=mailin-01.mx.aol.com[205.188.158.121]:25, delay=22, delays=0.04/0/22/0.3, dsn=4.0.0, status=deferred (host mailin-01.mx.aol.com[205.188.158.121] said: 421-:  (DYN:T1) http://postmaster.info.aol.com/errors/421dynt1.html 421 SERVICE NOT AVAILABLE (in reply to end of DATA command))

After that we switched back to the old server, and requeued the denied mails so they were delivered.

We submitted one more time the AOL whitelist request. After a while we got the mail from AOL Postmaster with the message: “Your Whitelist request, with the confirmation code xxx, has been approved. This should become effective within 24 hours…”

Wow… So what is the conclusion of this short story? If you are trying to do the same thing, then you can save valuable time, but doing the same: – get the server first blocked by AOL – only after that submit the whitelist request. If the IP is new and has not been blocked before it will be just denied from the whitelist. :).

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