Hosting your web site on the BCA server: Important note

Discussion about BCA's Internet Hosting Service
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David Gibson
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Joined: Thu 16 Mar 2006 23:45

Hosting your web site on the BCA server: Important note

Post by David Gibson » Fri 13 Jul 2012 12:26

This is an important note that should be read by all Groups/Organisations that are intending to run a web site on the BCA server. If you also operate mail forwarding from your domain, you should make sure that your web site and your mail forwarding both run on the BCA server, otherwise you may suffer from a range of obscure problems with your email. A typical scenario could be as follows...
  • 1) You have registered a domain name mycavingclub.org.uk at domains-R-us and you have set up some mail forwarding there, as well. E.g. you arrange for mail sent to secretary@mycavingclub.org.uk to be forwarded to your personal email account.
  • 2) You decide to set up a web site on the BCA server, so you go to your control panel at domains-R-us and tell it the IP address of the BCA server.
  • 3) You decide not to take your email forwarding to BCA because it would be a pain to set it up again, so you leave it at domains-R-us. After all, why move it?
All that works fine, and it continues to work fine. And then - months or years later - people start to complain that emails are going missing. You have become the victim of an obscure way that most web servers operate.

Any email that is generated by the web server (e.g. from mailing lists, or from PHP scripts running on your web pages) has to work out where it needs to be sent. Normally it would query the DNS entry at domains-R-us but commonly web servers take a 'short cut'; they assume that your email is hosted on the same server and they do not bother to do a DNS look-up. As your email is not hosted on the BCA server, it doesnt know what to do with it and so it simply sends it into a default mailbox on the server. If you go to your BCA Control Panel and follow the links to webmail you can inspect your default mailbox and you'll find all your missing email there.

It is only mail generated on the BCA server that is affected by this. So your mail may work fine for months (or even years) until you - or anyone else who is running a site on the BCA server - decides to set up a mailing list, or to run a script on a web page (e.g. that emails an enquiry to you). There are two solutions to the problem...
  • Either You should move your email forwarding to the BCA server so that it is "local" to any actions performed by the web server.
  • Or You should ask the BCA Webmaster to alter the "Email Routing" setting on his WHM / DNS_Functions / Edit_Zone page from "local" to "remote". This will force the server to do a proper DNS lookup on your data.
The problem is a subtle one because, as noted above, it will arise if anyone running a script on the BCA server decides to use your email address. For example, if you were to join BCA Council and they gave you a post of newsletter-editor@british-caving.org.uk and they arranged for that address to forward to your secretary@mycavingclub.org.uk address, then you would never receive that mail! Likewise, if someone set up a mailing list for a sub-group or committee of BCA and used your secretary@mycavingclub.org.uk address, you would not receive the mail.

So... BE WARNED.
Last edited by David Gibson on Wed 05 Jun 2013 12:04, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: changed topic type from sticky to normal

User avatar
David Gibson
Posts: 479
Joined: Thu 16 Mar 2006 23:45

Re: Hosting your web site on the BCA server: Important note

Post by David Gibson » Thu 22 Nov 2012 16:26

David Gibson wrote:Or You should ask the BCA Webmaster to alter the "Email Routing" setting on his WHM / DNS_Functions / Edit_Zone page from "local" to "remote". This will force the server to do a proper DNS lookup on your data.
Ive just spotted... you can do this fix yourself. Go to cpanel / mail / mx entry and you'll see a set of radio buttons for selecting local v. remote

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