Educated Attorney: Typical Firm Email Problem That Could’ve Been Avoided

by | Mar 17, 2013 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

This week we dealt with an email problem that one of our law firms was having which was most definitely avoidable. We got a call that none of the firm members were able to email anyone with a yahoo email address. In fact, when they emailed someone with a yahoo email address they received an NDR or a non delivery receipt automatically telling them that their email was rejected by Yahoo servers. You have to keep in mind that this law firm uses Google Apps for Business, an excellent email solution with a very low amount of maintenance. Yahoo could not be rejecting the mail server otherwise all users of Google Apps for Business would be rejected as well, so what was the problem?

As it turns out, the problem was with the web guy and common crappy web guy practices. When you register a domain (rekalltech.com) with a web company like GoDaddy, certain records are made on behalf of that domain. These records control your website and email routing. These routing records are called DNS records. Often times when web people get involved, the first thing they want to do is move these DNS records to their server or to a server for a company which they make commission from, thus they can charge you a hosting fee and make money. This is exactly what happened in this case. This web guy took the records away from GoDaddy and moved them onto his own server at MediaTemple.net (AVOID MEDIA TEMPLE HOSTING!). This Yahoo problem occurred because he lacked security on his web server, and so did Media Temple, the website hosting company. When a web server is hacked and compromised enough times, it’s reputation lowers across the internet until other servers start rejecting connections. This is what happened in the case of our client. We contacted the web guy and asked for assistance, but he had no idea how to deal with the issue and offered no help. He called us back an hour later telling us that he had gotten more calls from his other clients complaining about the same issue and then asked us for help, if you can believe it.

We know that our client’s website has been hacked before and we know that this web guy’s security is absolutely NOT top notch. Apparently his web reputation plummeted over time enough for Yahoo servers to reject any mail routing through his servers. To fix this, we advised our client to take back their records and hosting to GoDaddy. While some may not like GoDaddy, they are an established company with a stellar track records and low downtime. One thing is for sure, their servers will never be rejected by a major email service. This issue could have been avoided if the client had requested all hosting and records stay with GoDaddy.

Learn from this, keep your website hosting and DNS records where YOU registered your domain. In other situations where you sever ties with your web guy, you maintain complete control over your site and routing if you simply keep things where they are, and off of his personal server. All you would need to do is change some domain passwords with the aid of support and he would  be locked out. At the end of the day it’s all about maintaining control. At the drop of a hat, your web guy can stop you email from flowing and take your website down as well as delete your website contents so it cannot be made again. This causes you to have to pay someone else to re-create your website from scratch. In my opinion, given the track record of web people in general, this is too much power for someone to have. Protect yourself, host your records and website with a big name hosting company.


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