Tag: Records

What Makes a Writer a Writer?

Molinos del Don Quijote

An interesting discussion on LinkedIn is swirling around the topic of when a writer can call themselves a writer .. As I've watched the discussion unfold, some interesting ideas have cropped up. They are worth considering.

A writer is someone who has been published offline.

Considering that a large segment of the writing work available is almost exclusively online today, this definition just can not hold true. While it is almost guaranteed that someone who has broken into hard print is a very good writer, it does not preclude someone who has never had their work published in traditional media from being considered a writer.

A writer is someone who knows their grammar, punctuation rules and how to spell things correctly.

I'm not prepared to say this is true because I know that publishers, magazines and newspapers all hire copy editors for one very good reason. Not every writer on the team has good spelling skills. No writer's punctuation skills are perfect. And everyone has certain words they almost always type incorrectly. I've been a copy editor. It's always easier to see others mistakes.

For me, I have to watch dropping the "r" on your, adding a "d" in college and several other persistent misspellings. There are words I consistently add extra letters to and others I drop letters from almost every time I type them. And most of the time, they are words, so spell check does not catch them.

At the same time, if a writer can not tell the difference between when to use your and you're or its and it's, it will be an obstacle to achieving a higher pays scale. Excellence in every aspect of writing is essential if you want to be taken seriously.

A writer is a professional who makes a consistent income from writing.

This can be true. The definition of consistent may vary. I know that I began by approaching only a few hundred dollars a month from writing work. I had some months where I had no income from that source. At the same time, I was consistently seeking work. As a writing professional I took action.

  • I actively built my portfolio.
  • I built a free website on Office Live.
  • I focused on bridging the gap from when I studied journalism to what the market demands of writers today.
  • I applied every piece of knowledge I gained into strengthening my ability to write compelling materials.

To put the title "writer" on a resume, suggest you need to be more than someone who has started their own blog. Despite the fact that I have a ghostwriting tips blog, it is not this blog that makes me a writer. It's the fact that people read this blog and actually benefit from it that supports my claim that I am a writer.

A writer is someone who can explain different topics in language that the average person can understand.

This truly is a skill that not everyone possesses. In some ways, every writer needs to have a teacher's heart, the ability to break things down into understandable packages. Some writers are gifted with the ability to reach very young minds. That's why there are writers of children's books. Other writers just can not get down to that level, yet remain effective writers for a different audience.

A writer is more than someone who starts their own blog.

There are good blogs and so-so blogs. To truly claim to be a writer, the blog can not be riddled with grammar errors. A few spelling and punctuation errors are forgivable, especially as most blog writers can not afford a separate set of eyes to edit their work.

A writer is someone who crafts words to influence others.

It's the power to dig into the meaning of words and craft them as you have done that signifies a writer. The fact that you can express your arguments succinctly using words in their written form defines that you are a writer. Maybe that is the definition we should be holding to here. "A writer is someone who can write with words so effectively they can influence others whether they do it for pay or not."

It's not whether your work appears on the eviscerated remnants of a tree or on the electronic representation of a page that makes you a writer. It's whether your words move and / or motivate. A novelist may move through the creation of characters and plots. A web writer may motivate to action by carefully chosen words.

Both are writers. Both use their power over words to create an experience in the mind. That experience would not be there without the writer's ability to craft words.

What makes a writer a writer? We'll probably never be able to agree on a single definition. Too may people would disagree with the writer's version of the artist's definition, "A writer is a writer because he / she writes."

What Makes a Writer a Writer?

tadelloeser ...

An interesting discussion on LinkedIn is swirling around the topic of when a writer can call themselves a writer .. As I've watched the discussion unfold, some interesting ideas have cropped up. They are worth considering.

A writer is someone who has been published offline.

Considering that a large segment of the writing work available is almost exclusively online today, this definition just can not hold true. While it is almost guaranteed that someone who has broken into hard print is a very good writer, it does not preclude someone who has never had their work published in traditional media from being considered a writer.

A writer is someone who knows their grammar, punctuation rules and how to spell things correctly.

I'm not prepared to say this is true because I know that publishers, magazines and newspapers all hire copy editors for one very good reason. Not every writer on the team has good spelling skills. No writer's punctuation skills are perfect. And everyone has certain words they almost always type incorrectly. I've been a copy editor. It's always easier to see others mistakes.

For me, I have to watch dropping the "r" on your, adding a "d" in college and several other persistent misspellings. There are words I consistently add extra letters to and others I drop letters from almost every time I type them. And most of the time, they are words, so spell check does not catch them.

At the same time, if a writer can not tell the difference between when to use your and you're or its and it's, it will be an obstacle to achieving a higher pays scale. Excellence in every aspect of writing is essential if you want to be taken seriously.

A writer is a professional who makes a consistent income from writing.

This can be true. The definition of consistent may vary. I know that I began by approaching only a few hundred dollars a month from writing work. I had some months where I had no income from that source. At the same time, I was consistently seeking work. As a writing professional I took action.

  • I actively built my portfolio.
  • I built a free website on Office Live.
  • I focused on bridging the gap from when I studied journalism to what the market demands of writers today.
  • I applied every piece of knowledge I gained into strengthening my ability to write compelling materials.

To put the title "writer" on a resume, suggest you need to be more than someone who has started their own blog. Despite the fact that I have a ghostwriting tips blog, it is not this blog that makes me a writer. It's the fact that people read this blog and actually benefit from it that supports my claim that I am a writer.

A writer is someone who can explain different topics in language that the average person can understand.

This truly is a skill that not everyone possesses. In some ways, every writer needs to have a teacher's heart, the ability to break things down into understandable packages. Some writers are gifted with the ability to reach very young minds. That's why there are writers of children's books. Other writers just can not get down to that level, yet remain effective writers for a different audience.

A writer is more than someone who starts their own blog.

There are good blogs and so-so blogs. To truly claim to be a writer, the blog can not be riddled with grammar errors. A few spelling and punctuation errors are forgivable, especially as most blog writers can not afford a separate set of eyes to edit their work.

A writer is someone who crafts words to influence others.

It's the power to dig into the meaning of words and craft them as you have done that signifies a writer. The fact that you can express your arguments succinctly using words in their written form defines that you are a writer. Maybe that is the definition we should be holding to here. "A writer is someone who can write with words so effectively they can influence others whether they do it for pay or not."

It's not whether your work appears on the eviscerated remnants of a tree or on the electronic representation of a page that makes you a writer. It's whether your words move and / or motivate. A novelist may move through the creation of characters and plots. A web writer may motivate to action by carefully chosen words.

Both are writers. Both use their power over words to create an experience in the mind. That experience would not be there without the writer's ability to craft words.

What makes a writer a writer? We'll probably never be able to agree on a single definition. Too may people would disagree with the writer's version of the artist's definition, "A writer is a writer because he / she writes."

Configure Exchange E-Mail Server Reverse DNS and MX Records Correctly

The pond

If DNS is setup incorrectly, over time your mail server IP will be added to blacklists. Nowadays most E-Mail servers have some kind of spam protection service which in turn means that all your inbound mail will be blocked if you do happen to be listed on a spam blacklist.

In this article I will describe how to correctly configure your MX and reverse DNS records for your mail server. This article is based on an Exchange 2003/2007 server but every other messaging server will follow the same principle.

Assigning an IP address

Starting from the bottom up the first thing you need to do is assign a static external IP address to the internal private address of your mail server. You will need to apply these rules on your firewall to port forward SMTP (port 25) and NAT an external IP address to the internal address of the server.

Something that a lot of administrators forget to do or check is to set the outgoing NAT rule to use the same external IP address created for the inbound rule to the mail server. If this isn’t set, Reverse DNS will not match and in turn your mail server will be listed on blacklists. If your firewall rules are setup correctly the IP address listed on this page should be the same IP address you mapped to the internal private IP address of the mail server.

Create the MX records for your mail server

For the purpose of this example, listed below are all the details of my mail server to help you understand what you need to do.

External IP: 87.22.1.22

E-Mail Domain: domain.com

You will need to be an administrative contact for your External DNS provider for your domain to make these changes. In most cases this can be done through an online control panel through your DNS provider. Failing that on the phone or via E-Mail.

1. The first thing we need to do is create an A record to point to the external IP address mapped on your firewall to the mail server. The host A record can be called any thing but is commonly called “mail”. In our example we will create “mail.domain.com” to point to IP address “87.22.1.22”

2. Next we will create an MX record to point to the newly created A record of our mail server.

Within your DNS control panel select “add MX record”. Make sure that the host address is the root domain name in our case “domain.com”

Set the FQDN as the A record we just created which in our case is “mail.domain.com”.

The lowest property is the most preferred but in our example we will set the priority as 10.

Use NSlookup to check DNS and MX records are applied

It can take up to 48 hours for DNS to propagate but in most cases 12-24 hours. To check our DNS entries are applied and correct we can use nslookup.

1. Open a CMD prompt and type nslookup

2. Type set type=mx

3. Type the domain name which in our case is domain.com.

In our example the output should read as follows if correctly setup:

> domain.com

Non-authoritative answer:

domain.com MX preference = 10, mail exchanger = mail.domain.com

mail.domain.com internet address = 87.22.1.22

Configure Reverse DNS

Reverse DNS is used to verify that the mail server is who it says it is. The recipients mail server will do a reverse lookup to make sure that the IP address of the mail A or host record in DNS is the same as the IP address it is communicating with. Only 1 RDNS entry can be present per IP address.

To do this you will need to contact your ISP to make this entry. You will not be able to do this in your DNS control panel unless your ISP also host your DNS and give you the functionality to add your own RDNS records.

In our case we would contact our ISP and advise that we would like to create an RDNS entry for our IP address 87.22.1.22 which would resolve too mail.domain.com.

Verify Reverse DNS

Again it can take up to 48 hours for DNS to propagate but in most cases 12-24 hours. To verify that the RDNS entries have been added and are correct do the following:

1. Open a CMD prompt.

2. Type Ping -a 87.22.1.22 (This is the external IP address for your mail server. In our case we use our external IP address stated above)

If RDNS is configured correctly the following output will be shown:

C:UsersUser>ping -a 87.22.1.22

Pinging mail.domain.com [87.22.1.22] with 32 bytes of data:

SMTP Banner

Every time a mail server establishes a connection with your mail server it shows its SMTP banner. This banner must be resolvable on the internet and best practice is to have it as your mail host/A record.

Configure SMTP banner Exchange 2003

1. Open Exchange system manager.

2. Expand your administrative group (“First administrative group” by default).

3. Expand Servers.

4. Expand YourServerName.

5. Expand Protocals container.

6. Select SMTP container.

7. On the right window, right click the Default SMTP virtual Server (Or the name you set your SMTP Server) and

select Properties.

8. Select the Delivery Tab.

9. Click the Advanced button.

10. Under the Fully-qualified domain name type mail.domain.com (The A/Host record you created in DNS for your mail server)

11. Click OK and OK again to accept the changes

Configure SMTP banner Exchange 2007/2010

1. Open the Exchange management console.

2. Select the Organisation Configuration container.

3. Select Hub Transport container.

4. On the right select the Send Connectors tab.

5. Right click your send connector and select properties.

6. On the General tab under the Set the FQDN this connector will… type the A record domain name you created. Which in our case is mail.domain.com. Click OK.

7. Under the Server Configuration container click the Hub Transport container.

8. In the Right window Select the properties of the Receive Connector under Receive Connectors tab.

9. On the General tab under the Set the FQDN this connector will… type the A record domain name you created. Which in our case is mail.domain.com. Click OK

To verify these changes we can use telnet to view the output upon establishing a connection on port 25 to our mail server. Use the following steps to do this:

1. Open a CMD prompt

2. Type Telnet mail.domain.com 25.

The output you see should look something like this and contain your A record of your mail server:

220 mail.domain.com Microsoft ESMTP MAIL Service ready at Sun, 28 Feb 2

010 17:51:20 +0000

If you use an edge server or a SPAM filter appliance like a Barracuda the SMTP banner will have to be set on this device/server.

Check to see if your mail server is on spam lists and/or an open relay

A great website to use to check your MX records, RDNS, check if your mail server is an open relay and check to see if you are listed on spam lists is www.mxtoolbox.com. This is a great site and one to keep in your favourites.

Following these guide lines will successfully and correctly configure mail routing to and from your mail server. The next step is too secure and ensure your mail server is not an open relay. I will be writing a separate article dedicated to this in the near future.

Configure Exchange E-Mail Server Reverse DNS and MX Records Correctly

~ Wonderful Pretty Mansion ~

If DNS is setup incorrectly, over time your mail server IP will be added to blacklists. Nowadays most E-Mail servers have some kind of spam protection service which in turn means that all your inbound mail will be blocked if you do happen to be listed on a spam blacklist.

In this article I will describe how to correctly configure your MX and reverse DNS records for your mail server. This article is based on an Exchange 2003/2007 server but every other messaging server will follow the same principle.

Assigning an IP address

Starting from the bottom up the first thing you need to do is assign a static external IP address to the internal private address of your mail server. You will need to apply these rules on your firewall to port forward SMTP (port 25) and NAT an external IP address to the internal address of the server.

Something that a lot of administrators forget to do or check is to set the outgoing NAT rule to use the same external IP address created for the inbound rule to the mail server. If this isn’t set, Reverse DNS will not match and in turn your mail server will be listed on blacklists. If your firewall rules are setup correctly the IP address listed on this page should be the same IP address you mapped to the internal private IP address of the mail server.

Create the MX records for your mail server

For the purpose of this example, listed below are all the details of my mail server to help you understand what you need to do.

External IP: 87.22.1.22

E-Mail Domain: domain.com

You will need to be an administrative contact for your External DNS provider for your domain to make these changes. In most cases this can be done through an online control panel through your DNS provider. Failing that on the phone or via E-Mail.

1. The first thing we need to do is create an A record to point to the external IP address mapped on your firewall to the mail server. The host A record can be called any thing but is commonly called “mail”. In our example we will create “mail.domain.com” to point to IP address “87.22.1.22”

2. Next we will create an MX record to point to the newly created A record of our mail server.

Within your DNS control panel select “add MX record”. Make sure that the host address is the root domain name in our case “domain.com”

Set the FQDN as the A record we just created which in our case is “mail.domain.com”.

The lowest property is the most preferred but in our example we will set the priority as 10.

Use NSlookup to check DNS and MX records are applied

It can take up to 48 hours for DNS to propagate but in most cases 12-24 hours. To check our DNS entries are applied and correct we can use nslookup.

1. Open a CMD prompt and type nslookup

2. Type set type=mx

3. Type the domain name which in our case is domain.com.

In our example the output should read as follows if correctly setup:

> domain.com

Non-authoritative answer:

domain.com MX preference = 10, mail exchanger = mail.domain.com

mail.domain.com internet address = 87.22.1.22

Configure Reverse DNS

Reverse DNS is used to verify that the mail server is who it says it is. The recipients mail server will do a reverse lookup to make sure that the IP address of the mail A or host record in DNS is the same as the IP address it is communicating with. Only 1 RDNS entry can be present per IP address.

To do this you will need to contact your ISP to make this entry. You will not be able to do this in your DNS control panel unless your ISP also host your DNS and give you the functionality to add your own RDNS records.

In our case we would contact our ISP and advise that we would like to create an RDNS entry for our IP address 87.22.1.22 which would resolve too mail.domain.com.

Verify Reverse DNS

Again it can take up to 48 hours for DNS to propagate but in most cases 12-24 hours. To verify that the RDNS entries have been added and are correct do the following:

1. Open a CMD prompt.

2. Type Ping -a 87.22.1.22 (This is the external IP address for your mail server. In our case we use our external IP address stated above)

If RDNS is configured correctly the following output will be shown:

C:UsersUser>ping -a 87.22.1.22

Pinging mail.domain.com [87.22.1.22] with 32 bytes of data:

SMTP Banner

Every time a mail server establishes a connection with your mail server it shows its SMTP banner. This banner must be resolvable on the internet and best practice is to have it as your mail host/A record.

Configure SMTP banner Exchange 2003

1. Open Exchange system manager.

2. Expand your administrative group (“First administrative group” by default).

3. Expand Servers.

4. Expand YourServerName.

5. Expand Protocals container.

6. Select SMTP container.

7. On the right window, right click the Default SMTP virtual Server (Or the name you set your SMTP Server) and

select Properties.

8. Select the Delivery Tab.

9. Click the Advanced button.

10. Under the Fully-qualified domain name type mail.domain.com (The A/Host record you created in DNS for your mail server)

11. Click OK and OK again to accept the changes

Configure SMTP banner Exchange 2007/2010

1. Open the Exchange management console.

2. Select the Organisation Configuration container.

3. Select Hub Transport container.

4. On the right select the Send Connectors tab.

5. Right click your send connector and select properties.

6. On the General tab under the Set the FQDN this connector will… type the A record domain name you created. Which in our case is mail.domain.com. Click OK.

7. Under the Server Configuration container click the Hub Transport container.

8. In the Right window Select the properties of the Receive Connector under Receive Connectors tab.

9. On the General tab under the Set the FQDN this connector will… type the A record domain name you created. Which in our case is mail.domain.com. Click OK

To verify these changes we can use telnet to view the output upon establishing a connection on port 25 to our mail server. Use the following steps to do this:

1. Open a CMD prompt

2. Type Telnet mail.domain.com 25.

The output you see should look something like this and contain your A record of your mail server:

220 mail.domain.com Microsoft ESMTP MAIL Service ready at Sun, 28 Feb 2

010 17:51:20 +0000

If you use an edge server or a SPAM filter appliance like a Barracuda the SMTP banner will have to be set on this device/server.

Check to see if your mail server is on spam lists and/or an open relay

A great website to use to check your MX records, RDNS, check if your mail server is an open relay and check to see if you are listed on spam lists is www.mxtoolbox.com. This is a great site and one to keep in your favourites.

Following these guide lines will successfully and correctly configure mail routing to and from your mail server. The next step is too secure and ensure your mail server is not an open relay. I will be writing a separate article dedicated to this in the near future.

Configure Exchange E-Mail Server Reverse DNS and MX Records Correctly

paradise of ducks

If DNS is setup incorrectly, over time your mail server IP will be added to blacklists. Nowadays most E-Mail servers have some kind of spam protection service which in turn means that all your inbound mail will be blocked if you do happen to be listed on a spam blacklist.

In this article I will describe how to correctly configure your MX and reverse DNS records for your mail server. This article is based on an Exchange 2003/2007 server but every other messaging server will follow the same principle.

Assigning an IP address

Starting from the bottom up the first thing you need to do is assign a static external IP address to the internal private address of your mail server. You will need to apply these rules on your firewall to port forward SMTP (port 25) and NAT an external IP address to the internal address of the server.

Something that a lot of administrators forget to do or check is to set the outgoing NAT rule to use the same external IP address created for the inbound rule to the mail server. If this isn’t set, Reverse DNS will not match and in turn your mail server will be listed on blacklists. If your firewall rules are setup correctly the IP address listed on this page should be the same IP address you mapped to the internal private IP address of the mail server.

Create the MX records for your mail server

For the purpose of this example, listed below are all the details of my mail server to help you understand what you need to do.

External IP: 87.22.1.22

E-Mail Domain: domain.com

You will need to be an administrative contact for your External DNS provider for your domain to make these changes. In most cases this can be done through an online control panel through your DNS provider. Failing that on the phone or via E-Mail.

1. The first thing we need to do is create an A record to point to the external IP address mapped on your firewall to the mail server. The host A record can be called any thing but is commonly called “mail”. In our example we will create “mail.domain.com” to point to IP address “87.22.1.22”

2. Next we will create an MX record to point to the newly created A record of our mail server.

Within your DNS control panel select “add MX record”. Make sure that the host address is the root domain name in our case “domain.com”

Set the FQDN as the A record we just created which in our case is “mail.domain.com”.

The lowest property is the most preferred but in our example we will set the priority as 10.

Use NSlookup to check DNS and MX records are applied

It can take up to 48 hours for DNS to propagate but in most cases 12-24 hours. To check our DNS entries are applied and correct we can use nslookup.

1. Open a CMD prompt and type nslookup

2. Type set type=mx

3. Type the domain name which in our case is domain.com.

In our example the output should read as follows if correctly setup:

> domain.com

Non-authoritative answer:

domain.com MX preference = 10, mail exchanger = mail.domain.com

mail.domain.com internet address = 87.22.1.22

Configure Reverse DNS

Reverse DNS is used to verify that the mail server is who it says it is. The recipients mail server will do a reverse lookup to make sure that the IP address of the mail A or host record in DNS is the same as the IP address it is communicating with. Only 1 RDNS entry can be present per IP address.

To do this you will need to contact your ISP to make this entry. You will not be able to do this in your DNS control panel unless your ISP also host your DNS and give you the functionality to add your own RDNS records.

In our case we would contact our ISP and advise that we would like to create an RDNS entry for our IP address 87.22.1.22 which would resolve too mail.domain.com.

Verify Reverse DNS

Again it can take up to 48 hours for DNS to propagate but in most cases 12-24 hours. To verify that the RDNS entries have been added and are correct do the following:

1. Open a CMD prompt.

2. Type Ping -a 87.22.1.22 (This is the external IP address for your mail server. In our case we use our external IP address stated above)

If RDNS is configured correctly the following output will be shown:

C:UsersUser>ping -a 87.22.1.22

Pinging mail.domain.com [87.22.1.22] with 32 bytes of data:

SMTP Banner

Every time a mail server establishes a connection with your mail server it shows its SMTP banner. This banner must be resolvable on the internet and best practice is to have it as your mail host/A record.

Configure SMTP banner Exchange 2003

1. Open Exchange system manager.

2. Expand your administrative group (“First administrative group” by default).

3. Expand Servers.

4. Expand YourServerName.

5. Expand Protocals container.

6. Select SMTP container.

7. On the right window, right click the Default SMTP virtual Server (Or the name you set your SMTP Server) and

select Properties.

8. Select the Delivery Tab.

9. Click the Advanced button.

10. Under the Fully-qualified domain name type mail.domain.com (The A/Host record you created in DNS for your mail server)

11. Click OK and OK again to accept the changes

Configure SMTP banner Exchange 2007/2010

1. Open the Exchange management console.

2. Select the Organisation Configuration container.

3. Select Hub Transport container.

4. On the right select the Send Connectors tab.

5. Right click your send connector and select properties.

6. On the General tab under the Set the FQDN this connector will… type the A record domain name you created. Which in our case is mail.domain.com. Click OK.

7. Under the Server Configuration container click the Hub Transport container.

8. In the Right window Select the properties of the Receive Connector under Receive Connectors tab.

9. On the General tab under the Set the FQDN this connector will… type the A record domain name you created. Which in our case is mail.domain.com. Click OK

To verify these changes we can use telnet to view the output upon establishing a connection on port 25 to our mail server. Use the following steps to do this:

1. Open a CMD prompt

2. Type Telnet mail.domain.com 25.

The output you see should look something like this and contain your A record of your mail server:

220 mail.domain.com Microsoft ESMTP MAIL Service ready at Sun, 28 Feb 2

010 17:51:20 +0000

If you use an edge server or a SPAM filter appliance like a Barracuda the SMTP banner will have to be set on this device/server.

Check to see if your mail server is on spam lists and/or an open relay

A great website to use to check your MX records, RDNS, check if your mail server is an open relay and check to see if you are listed on spam lists is www.mxtoolbox.com. This is a great site and one to keep in your favourites.

Following these guide lines will successfully and correctly configure mail routing to and from your mail server. The next step is too secure and ensure your mail server is not an open relay. I will be writing a separate article dedicated to this in the near future.

Configure Exchange E-Mail Server Reverse DNS and MX Records Correctly

L1070163

If DNS is setup incorrectly, over time your mail server IP will be added to blacklists. Nowadays most E-Mail servers have some kind of spam protection service which in turn means that all your inbound mail will be blocked if you do happen to be listed on a spam blacklist.

In this article I will describe how to correctly configure your MX and reverse DNS records for your mail server. This article is based on an Exchange 2003/2007 server but every other messaging server will follow the same principle.

Assigning an IP address

Starting from the bottom up the first thing you need to do is assign a static external IP address to the internal private address of your mail server. You will need to apply these rules on your firewall to port forward SMTP (port 25) and NAT an external IP address to the internal address of the server.

Something that a lot of administrators forget to do or check is to set the outgoing NAT rule to use the same external IP address created for the inbound rule to the mail server. If this isn’t set, Reverse DNS will not match and in turn your mail server will be listed on blacklists. If your firewall rules are setup correctly the IP address listed on this page should be the same IP address you mapped to the internal private IP address of the mail server.

Create the MX records for your mail server

For the purpose of this example, listed below are all the details of my mail server to help you understand what you need to do.

External IP: 87.22.1.22

E-Mail Domain: domain.com

You will need to be an administrative contact for your External DNS provider for your domain to make these changes. In most cases this can be done through an online control panel through your DNS provider. Failing that on the phone or via E-Mail.

1. The first thing we need to do is create an A record to point to the external IP address mapped on your firewall to the mail server. The host A record can be called any thing but is commonly called “mail”. In our example we will create “mail.domain.com” to point to IP address “87.22.1.22”

2. Next we will create an MX record to point to the newly created A record of our mail server.

Within your DNS control panel select “add MX record”. Make sure that the host address is the root domain name in our case “domain.com”

Set the FQDN as the A record we just created which in our case is “mail.domain.com”.

The lowest property is the most preferred but in our example we will set the priority as 10.

Use NSlookup to check DNS and MX records are applied

It can take up to 48 hours for DNS to propagate but in most cases 12-24 hours. To check our DNS entries are applied and correct we can use nslookup.

1. Open a CMD prompt and type nslookup

2. Type set type=mx

3. Type the domain name which in our case is domain.com.

In our example the output should read as follows if correctly setup:

> domain.com

Non-authoritative answer:

domain.com MX preference = 10, mail exchanger = mail.domain.com

mail.domain.com internet address = 87.22.1.22

Configure Reverse DNS

Reverse DNS is used to verify that the mail server is who it says it is. The recipients mail server will do a reverse lookup to make sure that the IP address of the mail A or host record in DNS is the same as the IP address it is communicating with. Only 1 RDNS entry can be present per IP address.

To do this you will need to contact your ISP to make this entry. You will not be able to do this in your DNS control panel unless your ISP also host your DNS and give you the functionality to add your own RDNS records.

In our case we would contact our ISP and advise that we would like to create an RDNS entry for our IP address 87.22.1.22 which would resolve too mail.domain.com.

Verify Reverse DNS

Again it can take up to 48 hours for DNS to propagate but in most cases 12-24 hours. To verify that the RDNS entries have been added and are correct do the following:

1. Open a CMD prompt.

2. Type Ping -a 87.22.1.22 (This is the external IP address for your mail server. In our case we use our external IP address stated above)

If RDNS is configured correctly the following output will be shown:

C:UsersUser>ping -a 87.22.1.22

Pinging mail.domain.com [87.22.1.22] with 32 bytes of data:

SMTP Banner

Every time a mail server establishes a connection with your mail server it shows its SMTP banner. This banner must be resolvable on the internet and best practice is to have it as your mail host/A record.

Configure SMTP banner Exchange 2003

1. Open Exchange system manager.

2. Expand your administrative group (“First administrative group” by default).

3. Expand Servers.

4. Expand YourServerName.

5. Expand Protocals container.

6. Select SMTP container.

7. On the right window, right click the Default SMTP virtual Server (Or the name you set your SMTP Server) and

select Properties.

8. Select the Delivery Tab.

9. Click the Advanced button.

10. Under the Fully-qualified domain name type mail.domain.com (The A/Host record you created in DNS for your mail server)

11. Click OK and OK again to accept the changes

Configure SMTP banner Exchange 2007/2010

1. Open the Exchange management console.

2. Select the Organisation Configuration container.

3. Select Hub Transport container.

4. On the right select the Send Connectors tab.

5. Right click your send connector and select properties.

6. On the General tab under the Set the FQDN this connector will… type the A record domain name you created. Which in our case is mail.domain.com. Click OK.

7. Under the Server Configuration container click the Hub Transport container.

8. In the Right window Select the properties of the Receive Connector under Receive Connectors tab.

9. On the General tab under the Set the FQDN this connector will… type the A record domain name you created. Which in our case is mail.domain.com. Click OK

To verify these changes we can use telnet to view the output upon establishing a connection on port 25 to our mail server. Use the following steps to do this:

1. Open a CMD prompt

2. Type Telnet mail.domain.com 25.

The output you see should look something like this and contain your A record of your mail server:

220 mail.domain.com Microsoft ESMTP MAIL Service ready at Sun, 28 Feb 2

010 17:51:20 +0000

If you use an edge server or a SPAM filter appliance like a Barracuda the SMTP banner will have to be set on this device/server.

Check to see if your mail server is on spam lists and/or an open relay

A great website to use to check your MX records, RDNS, check if your mail server is an open relay and check to see if you are listed on spam lists is www.mxtoolbox.com. This is a great site and one to keep in your favourites.

Following these guide lines will successfully and correctly configure mail routing to and from your mail server. The next step is too secure and ensure your mail server is not an open relay. I will be writing a separate article dedicated to this in the near future.

Configure Exchange E-Mail Server Reverse DNS and MX Records Correctly

St Augustines Londonderry

If DNS is setup incorrectly, over time your mail server IP will be added to blacklists. Nowadays most E-Mail servers have some kind of spam protection service which in turn means that all your inbound mail will be blocked if you do happen to be listed on a spam blacklist.

In this article I will describe how to correctly configure your MX and reverse DNS records for your mail server. This article is based on an Exchange 2003/2007 server but every other messaging server will follow the same principle.

Assigning an IP address

Starting from the bottom up the first thing you need to do is assign a static external IP address to the internal private address of your mail server. You will need to apply these rules on your firewall to port forward SMTP (port 25) and NAT an external IP address to the internal address of the server.

Something that a lot of administrators forget to do or check is to set the outgoing NAT rule to use the same external IP address created for the inbound rule to the mail server. If this isn’t set, Reverse DNS will not match and in turn your mail server will be listed on blacklists. If your firewall rules are setup correctly the IP address listed on this page should be the same IP address you mapped to the internal private IP address of the mail server.

Create the MX records for your mail server

For the purpose of this example, listed below are all the details of my mail server to help you understand what you need to do.

External IP: 87.22.1.22

E-Mail Domain: domain.com

You will need to be an administrative contact for your External DNS provider for your domain to make these changes. In most cases this can be done through an online control panel through your DNS provider. Failing that on the phone or via E-Mail.

1. The first thing we need to do is create an A record to point to the external IP address mapped on your firewall to the mail server. The host A record can be called any thing but is commonly called “mail”. In our example we will create “mail.domain.com” to point to IP address “87.22.1.22”

2. Next we will create an MX record to point to the newly created A record of our mail server.

Within your DNS control panel select “add MX record”. Make sure that the host address is the root domain name in our case “domain.com”

Set the FQDN as the A record we just created which in our case is “mail.domain.com”.

The lowest property is the most preferred but in our example we will set the priority as 10.

Use NSlookup to check DNS and MX records are applied

It can take up to 48 hours for DNS to propagate but in most cases 12-24 hours. To check our DNS entries are applied and correct we can use nslookup.

1. Open a CMD prompt and type nslookup

2. Type set type=mx

3. Type the domain name which in our case is domain.com.

In our example the output should read as follows if correctly setup:

> domain.com

Non-authoritative answer:

domain.com MX preference = 10, mail exchanger = mail.domain.com

mail.domain.com internet address = 87.22.1.22

Configure Reverse DNS

Reverse DNS is used to verify that the mail server is who it says it is. The recipients mail server will do a reverse lookup to make sure that the IP address of the mail A or host record in DNS is the same as the IP address it is communicating with. Only 1 RDNS entry can be present per IP address.

To do this you will need to contact your ISP to make this entry. You will not be able to do this in your DNS control panel unless your ISP also host your DNS and give you the functionality to add your own RDNS records.

In our case we would contact our ISP and advise that we would like to create an RDNS entry for our IP address 87.22.1.22 which would resolve too mail.domain.com.

Verify Reverse DNS

Again it can take up to 48 hours for DNS to propagate but in most cases 12-24 hours. To verify that the RDNS entries have been added and are correct do the following:

1. Open a CMD prompt.

2. Type Ping -a 87.22.1.22 (This is the external IP address for your mail server. In our case we use our external IP address stated above)

If RDNS is configured correctly the following output will be shown:

C:UsersUser>ping -a 87.22.1.22

Pinging mail.domain.com [87.22.1.22] with 32 bytes of data:

SMTP Banner

Every time a mail server establishes a connection with your mail server it shows its SMTP banner. This banner must be resolvable on the internet and best practice is to have it as your mail host/A record.

Configure SMTP banner Exchange 2003

1. Open Exchange system manager.

2. Expand your administrative group (“First administrative group” by default).

3. Expand Servers.

4. Expand YourServerName.

5. Expand Protocals container.

6. Select SMTP container.

7. On the right window, right click the Default SMTP virtual Server (Or the name you set your SMTP Server) and

select Properties.

8. Select the Delivery Tab.

9. Click the Advanced button.

10. Under the Fully-qualified domain name type mail.domain.com (The A/Host record you created in DNS for your mail server)

11. Click OK and OK again to accept the changes

Configure SMTP banner Exchange 2007/2010

1. Open the Exchange management console.

2. Select the Organisation Configuration container.

3. Select Hub Transport container.

4. On the right select the Send Connectors tab.

5. Right click your send connector and select properties.

6. On the General tab under the Set the FQDN this connector will… type the A record domain name you created. Which in our case is mail.domain.com. Click OK.

7. Under the Server Configuration container click the Hub Transport container.

8. In the Right window Select the properties of the Receive Connector under Receive Connectors tab.

9. On the General tab under the Set the FQDN this connector will… type the A record domain name you created. Which in our case is mail.domain.com. Click OK

To verify these changes we can use telnet to view the output upon establishing a connection on port 25 to our mail server. Use the following steps to do this:

1. Open a CMD prompt

2. Type Telnet mail.domain.com 25.

The output you see should look something like this and contain your A record of your mail server:

220 mail.domain.com Microsoft ESMTP MAIL Service ready at Sun, 28 Feb 2

010 17:51:20 +0000

If you use an edge server or a SPAM filter appliance like a Barracuda the SMTP banner will have to be set on this device/server.

Check to see if your mail server is on spam lists and/or an open relay

A great website to use to check your MX records, RDNS, check if your mail server is an open relay and check to see if you are listed on spam lists is www.mxtoolbox.com. This is a great site and one to keep in your favourites.

Following these guide lines will successfully and correctly configure mail routing to and from your mail server. The next step is too secure and ensure your mail server is not an open relay. I will be writing a separate article dedicated to this in the near future.

Agoraphobia Is Not the Opposite of Claustrophobia

Pathway

Agoraphobia isn’t the opposite of claustrophobia – but a lot of people think it is. In fact I used to think exactly that. I used to think exactly that even when I was suffering from agoraphobia. I was even offered the opportunity to join an agoraphobics group, but I said no because I wasn’t afraid of open spaces. I quite liked open spaces as long as no one else was anywhere near me. In fact if there was no other human being in sight, then that was OK as far as I was concerned. But that was all a very long time ago.

The translation of agoraphobia is ‘fear of the market place’, not, as many people think, fear of open spaces. The essence of the market place is people and human interaction. This is what is fearful. Places that agoraphobes typically avoid, or have problems with, are supermarkets, theatres, cinemas, crowds, parties. Places where a rapid exit might be difficult.

The fear is usually of showing oneself up in some way in the eyes of others. Typically agoraphobes worry about things like: vomiting (usually as a result of severe anxiety); fainting; having a panic attack; or suffering from a genuine health emergency like a heart attack. The concern is usually one of embarrassment – perhaps fainting and finding oneself on a supermarket floor gazing up into a circle of concerned faces who will insist on making a fuss and calling an ambulance.

Many agoraphobes manage to get by with a trusted helper who accompanies them when they need to go shopping or out socialising. This person is there to rescue them and take them home should anything bad, like a panic attack occur. But when that helper is not available life is very restricted.

If medical help is obtained the most likely result is medication with tranquillisers and anti-depressants. Neither of which actually solve the problem, they just enable a minimum level of functionality. The problem remains, like a monster in the wardrobe, waiting to show its scary face as soon as you turn off the lights,  or look the other way. So you are trapped. The medication keeps the monster locked in the wardrobe, but doesn’t get rid of it. Stop the medication and the monster is free once more.

Life as an agoraphobe is no fun at all.

So if you are agoraphobic and reading this I want to reassure you about a few things:

  • This is not a disease, but you can ‘heal’ it.
  • There is nothing physically wrong with you.
  • Your brain is as normal as anyone else’s.
  • The cause is the way you think.
  • The cure is changing the way you think.

Changing the way you think is not easy, but it is a lot easier than living the isolated, fearful, life of an agoraphobe.

When you think about the totality of the change you need to make, it seems an insurmountable task.

When you think about the single next step you need to take – it becomes not only possible, but relatively easy.

The first steps are the most difficult. Every step after those first few become easier. They become easier because you have the memory of success and knowledge that what you are doing is already making a positive difference to your life.