aNewDomain.net – Even as more companies move business services to the cloud, email is still a sticking point. Many businesses want to host their own email on services like Microsoft Exchange, Notes or Netware. A number of clients I work with at my day job are in this boat.
Supporting email can be a challenge. A far easier solution is MxToolbox.
I first discovered this amazing service a few years ago when I was struggling to determine the state of a client’s Microsoft Exchange server. MxToolbox is a site that will automate a number of tests against a given mail server and report the results. While none of the work MxToolbox does is particularly challenging, it is nice to have a free, hosted tool that performs automatic queries.
You start by entering the domain name you’re looking for. The result of the lookup, if the domain name has a valid MX record associated with the DNS entry, is a list of the MX records. In this case, we see that aNewDomain.net has a pretty standard mail server – mail.anewdomain.net. From here you just perform a Blacklist Check and an SMTP test.
You can see here that the mail server is not listed on any of the known blacklist sources.
And here, the function I use the most, is the SMTP query result. All of this information is very handy. The reverse DNS Mismatch is one that shows up a lot for clients hosting their own email, as it requires (in most cases) for the ISP to make an entry on its end.
You may notice the “Monitor This” button that hangs around most of the results. MxToolbox will let you monitor two queries for free. I’ve used these previously to note when email servers drop offline, which can be very handy to track down issues related to a specific time of day.
There you have it – a simple, hosted, free service that should be in any IT consultant’s back pocket. It doesn’t get better than this.