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mad101dan

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Great answer thanks Anthony

Does anyone know of any web based service that I could use as an alternative server, in case mine was to go down ? Preferably free Smile

We only have the one server in the building, so if that went down it would have to be out of the building.

A thought has just occurred, if we did have another server in the building, how would the port forwarding work in the router ? At the moment all traffic on the relevant ports is forwarded to the mail server, how would this work if we had 2 ?
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anthony.somerset

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dont know about free but i know of decently cheap

dyndns run a service called mailhop backup mx with is $40 per year per domain

i really think i should get an affiliate account with some of the companies i am reccomending Razz

with 2 servers you would ideally have 2 public ip's and forward the relavent ports for the second public ip to the second server

if you only have 1 public ip it gets a bit complicated and effectively you end up running some services on non standard ports to compensate which is not ideal or recommended

[Updated on: Thu, 10 September 2009 19:19]


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j.a.duke

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mad101dan wrote on Thu, 10 September 2009 12:50
Hi

Can someone just help me understand where I am.

Background

We have 2 adsl lines running into the building from 2 different isp's.

We have only just had the 2nd line installed. They both have a fixed ip's.

We want to use the 2nd line as a backup in case the first goes down.

I have added a 2nd mx record at our host's with the new ip address.

question 1 - when I added the new mx record, i added it as a value of 30, there were 2 other values there a 10 and 20 and both pointed to the same mx record.

mail.dan.com 10
mail.dan.com 20
newmail.dan.com 30

Do I need the current 20 record ? does it serve any purpose ?

question 2 - Do I need to add a new ptr record with the new isp that we have just had installed ?

Hope you can help with these novice questions.


Dan,

What you've done is OK, however, if something tries to use the backup MX and the line isn't connected to your network, there may (will?) be problems. And if your primary dies in the middle of the night, who will fix it?

I'd suggest looking at a good multi-wan router (Ecessa & PepLink are ones that I have direct experience with) which would let you use both connections simultaneously. Each of the boxes also incorporates a DNS server that load balances the traffic and can detect when a link has failed and re-route incoming mail traffic to the working link.

The Peplink is lower cost and somewhat easier to setup. I don't know how they'll work long term, though it's been almost 9 months. I've had two Ecessa units in production for about 4 years without a failure, so I'm confident that they'll work for the long haul.

Cheers,
Jon
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mad101dan

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Sorry I didn't mention that I do have a dual wan router.
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mad101dan

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OK so all your help really got me thinking.

So this morning I have implemented the following. I have added a 3rd mx record and pointed that to our web hosting company. They give us 20 free email accounts.

I then had to create the 20 users on this website.

So this is all setup and good to go.

However I think I spotted a problem with this setup. This 3rd mx record is just going to be in case of an emergency, ie router or server going down. What happens if I reset the router or have to perform an update on the server, in either case they may be off for a few minutes.

If any emails were to arrive in that time, with both the 10 and 20 mx records being effectively down, it would send the mail to mx 30. However no one is going to ever check these records as they are just there for emergency, and people wouldn't even think to look. If the server is off for 2 mins, no one would probably notice. (we aren't that big, 30 mail addresses) and so would not be a big deal.

So I have setup the webmail online, configured all the users and a catch all address for all the rest, but have left the mail service turned off, if there is an emergency I will just have to login and turn the mail service on, which is just a button click. (I have a 3G card so this can be done if both internet lines are down)

What do people think ? Am I worried about an issue that doesn't exist. The server / router does not have a lot of downtime, but once or twice a month its probably off for a couple of mins.
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anthony.somerset

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you could use the pop download feature

however if its for backup and users wont be checking it i seriously dont reccomend it, i have lots of issues in the past at trying to run a similar setup

get a proper backup mx service or setup a proper backup mx that way it covers all users not just 20

that said if you are cycling your router power then emails most likely will go to your backup mx and stay there ready for you to pull them down via pop at reconnect
if you use a proper backup mx they are set to forward automatically so no extra setup is normally required

Mac Xserve Intel - 2x 2.7GHz Dual Core Xeon
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mad101dan

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I agree that a proper backup mx is the best way to go. But asking my boss to pay for that at the moment is not going to work. Razz

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anthony.somerset

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well then tell him if you have any issues connectivity or server he will lose important emails

backup mx should be considered critical to operations not optional and for $40 a year if your boss cant agree to pay that what does he spend it all on

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sonofcolin

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anthony.somerset wrote on Fri, 11 September 2009 07:08


backup mx should be considered critical to operations not optional and for $40 a year if your boss cant agree to pay that what does he spend it all on

2 DSL lines! Smile
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anthony.somerset

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i have a dsl line and an SDSL line

still had to tell my boss that its not just the phone lines we need to cover, what about the server, what about the router?

Mac Xserve Intel - 2x 2.7GHz Dual Core Xeon
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mad101dan

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I have to say I didnt realise it was only $40. I spoke to our hosting company and theres was £100.

I also wonder how important it is, as most mail servers will try to keep sending for 48hrs.

With the backup mx service, you cannot get at your emails until the server is restored. With having our web hosting company collect any mails, at least people can log in and check any new mails that arrive and send whilst the server is down.
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d.

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Hi folks.

I second what Jon mentioned earlier... A multi-WAN router or firewall is the hardware-based direction to go.

We used a Sonicwall firewall for this. The way we had this setup previously was that if one of the DSL lines goes down, the Sonicwall flicks to the other link instead.

Instantaneous, customers don't notice, and if you want to, you can load-balance across the two links, to make the best use of quotas, download speeds etc.

Cheers,
D.

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