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We use Office 365 Exchange Online for our emails. Whilst you can configure CiviCRM outbound mail to use it, you can't actually send mail using it. I have done some investigation, and the reason is that packages/Mail/smtp.php replaces the From address with the Return-Path. CiviCRM adds a VERP component, so Exchange Online rejects the email because the From address is invalid. Exchange overwrites the Return-Path with the From address anyway, so VERP doesn't work.

Any comments or thoughts? I assume someone will say that we should use another Mail Transport Agent.

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    You're right - use another MTA! CiviMail has always required an MTA that supports VERP, and Exchange is the only major MTA that doesn't. When I have clients using Exchange, I'll usually configure Postfix on their CiviCRM server to handle these mails. – Jon G - Megaphone Tech Jul 20 '18 at 17:52
  • Thanks, we are using another MTA. I suppose Exchange is configured for human clients to send emails rather than systems. – Stephen Palmstrom Jul 21 '18 at 20:41
  • Related thoughts... I've got a CiviCRM install, where the client uses 365 Exchange Online. I'm using sendmail on the server to send and that seems to work just fine with a well set up SPF record. The only thing I haven't come to terms with is the bounce email address. I'm not sure how best to handle that. – Andrew Wasson Jul 24 '18 at 0:29
  • I have added some rules in Exchange to handle bounce messages, basically routing emails with the recipient starting with the local part to a given mailbox. You would still need to prevent the from address being the return-path. – Stephen Palmstrom Jul 24 '18 at 11:46
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ah, yes, Exchange. That mail server that behaves almost like the others, but not quite.

You have 3 paths out of that:

1) use a separate "normal" email server, eg postfix for sending your emails and set up a catch all email address on 365 to handle the bounces

2) use a mail provider for your mass mailing (sendgrid, mailjet, amazon aws...). They probably all need you to install a civicrm extension to handle the bounce events

3) contribute a feature to civicrm so it doesn't need VERP. This isn't that far away, the data of the VERP is already added as an extra line in the mail header and for what I've seen, most of the bounce emails copy it.

So the "only" things you'd need: prevent civi to rewrite the from email with a VERP and change the bounce processor to look at the extra header instead of the envelope email.

I'd suggest you 2, mostly because you are likely to have a better deliverability on your mass mailings than relying on exchange.

  • We've resorted to using our old email provider which can handle VERP messages. I suspect that Exchange doesn't like a VERP type return path. Various people have asked about this from time to time, but it seems our friends in Microsoft haven't responded. – Stephen Palmstrom Jul 27 '18 at 17:18
  • Which mail provider is that? Might be in the market... – jimcrist Jul 30 '18 at 17:39

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