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We're having a curious case where emails from CiviCRM as not always delivering.

CiviMail works fine. No issues there.

When sending a simple email from the actions on a contact record, Hotmail and Gmail accounts aren't receiving the email, despite CiviCRM displaying the message that is was successfully sent.

However, when emails are sent to my work MS Exchange account, where the IP address is whitelisted, they do arrive.

We've reviewed the mail settings, and when we do a spam test, we score 10/10 on mail-tester.com and are also not on any blacklists.

Has anyone else experienced this type of issue?

Where can I check to ensure CiviCRM is sending out the emails?

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What is the mail server you are using to push them out?

If it's a local mailserver (eg. postfix) you can check the log and see if it's actually really sent.

If you are using an external provider, they usually have some kind of log as well.

In any case, have you set up SPF and DKIM for your domain? if not, you are increasing the risks of having some providers that will drop your emails without any notice

  • Thanks Xavier. We do indeed have SPF and DKIM records set up. Looking in the mail logs, there are they show as delivered. So, as far as we can tell, all going out. Our hunch is that we are blacklisted, but can't seem to find ourselves on any lists! – Heather O. Mar 17 '16 at 15:53
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    Mail logs are a faithful friend here :) In this situation, it might help to check that your mail's bounce is going to work - I would expect Gmail / Hotmail to either deliver (possibly to spam mailbox) or to reject (which should return the email to you). You could also sign up for Microsoft's JMRP service to see if they advise of any "special treatment" for your server. – Chris Burgess Mar 17 '16 at 20:09
  • I am not a technical person, so apologies if this is behaviour is well known. We have had problems like this also. Gmail and hotmail do some very aggressive filtering of emails. Sometimes emails we send to gmail and hotmail accounts "vanish". They don't show up anywhere in the receiver's mailboxes (not even in spam) until the receiver makes our domain an allowed sender. Then they miraculously appear. – JoAnne Mar 17 '16 at 22:51
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You might want to use an external email delivery service that provides whitelisting. Previously I would have recommended Mandrill's service that was free for up to 12k transactional emails per month, but now you have to pay USD$10 / month plus pay for a paid mailchimp account.

Two recent integrations have been created for SparkPost in response to Mandrill's abrupt recent pricing policy changes - see https://github.com/cividesk/com.cividesk.email.sparkpost/issues/6, and https://github.com/proexchange/com.pesc.sparkpost/issues/10.

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