NEW E-MAIL SERVER LIVE 11/28/2013

Excel.Net has been working behind the scenes to make a HUGE upgrade to our mail system and have things ready to go! There are MANY customer enhancements that are sure to make your e-mail experience enjoyable.

Please take the time to read through the items below so that you are ready to use the new system when we have moved over. This is a very long message, but there are a LOT of very exciting new features for YOU to start using!

*****WARNING: If you do not want to learn all about the new system DO NOT SKIP the Security section or you will not be able to send e-mail starting 12/9!

The migration from our current system will begin Thursday, 11/28/2013 starting at about 10:00pm and will take approximately 6-8 hours to get things all moved over to the new system. During that time you might not have all of your messages, but no mail will be missed or lost in the move. New mail will start coming to the new server starting right away.


Security

One of the biggest problems that faces e-mail these days are accounts that have been compromised and spam being sent out with them hitting all of our mailboxes. The new mail server has MANY enhancements in this area but one of them will require a change to your mail programs on your computer, tablet or phones if you are accessing your Excel.Net account with those devices.

   

SMTP Authentication

Starting 12/9 all connections through the Excel.Net mail server for sending messages will require authentication. For most mail clients this is a simple change and only needs to be made a single time to work from that point forward. Please note that this change should be made after Thursday, 11/28/2013 and before Monday, 12/9/2013 so that you do not have issues sending out messages.

We have created a web page showing how to make this change for the most common e-mail software systems at:

          http://www.excel.net/mail/smtpauth.html

If your system is not listed and you need help making this change please feel free to contact our support staff and we would be happy to help you get this change made. Your other option is to stop using your current e-mail client software and start using our VASTLY improved web client for all of your e-mail needs (see below for details). If you're not using Excel.Net's outgoing mail servers (mail.excel.net or outgoing.excel.net) then you will not need to make these changes.

Failed Logins

While we had security measures for this in place on our old system these security measures would sometimes block access for longer than needed or for all of the accounts at a single location (IP address). The NEW system will only lock out your account for one hour after it sees five failed login attempts in a row.

Maximum Recipients

Another feature of the new system is to limit the number of recipients that messages are sent to on an account by account basis. This is so that in the event a mailbox is compromised the account cannot be used to spam large volumes of messages out that might cause our server to be blacklisted affecting all customers. The system currently has a limit of 100 recipients per hour from each mailbox. This is high enough that typical users will never need to be concerned with this, but low enough that spammers will not see the account as being useful. If you have a legitimate need to exceed this limit please let us know what that is and we will be happy to increase this for your mailbox.

Password Requirements

So how does all that spam get sent out in the first place? Typically spammers will use compromised accounts spread across many servers to each send out the messages. One of the most common ways for gaining access to these accounts are through weak passwords. Our new system going forward will require better passwords going forward, though all current passwords were moved over to start. If you are changing your password you will need to use a password with the following requirements:

  • Password length must be between 8 and 32 characters
  • At least one UPPER case (A-Z) letter
  • At least one lower case (a-z) letter
  • At least one number (0-9)
  • Cannot be found in our dictionary of common passwords

Spam Filtering

While the above items addressed some concerns for the server being used to send spam out to other accounts and prevent your account from sending out spam, we still need to take measures to stop it from making it into our mailboxes.

The new system is significantly different in the way the filtering system works, so your current spam filtering settings have NOT been moved over and you will need to setup spam filtering again with the new server. We expect that the new rules will catch more messages and keep them from making it into your mailbox. You will still be able to access the old spam filter settings from your my.excel.net login for a while for reference. This will allow you to easily copy them over if needed.

   

Personal Spam Settings

To setup and configure spam filtering on our new mail server for your mailbox simply access the new web interface (see below) and go into the options tab at the top. This will bring up a tree of options on the left.

The first section is under the Advanced section, called Spam Rules. To activate the spam filter for your mailbox check the box which says Enable Mailbox Spam Filtering. This will turn on the spam filter for you. Then you need to setup an action for each of the various levels of spam. This provides greater flexibility over the current system in that you can perform different actions based on how sure it is that the message is spam. We would suggest that you setup the following options, although you are of course free to customize this in any way that you would like:

  • Low Risk Spam Messages
    • Action to Perform: Add Prefix to Subject...
    • Prefix: [SPAM]
  • Moderate Risk Spam Messages
    • Action to Perform: Move message to Junk Mail folder
  • High Risk Spam Messages
    • Action to Perform: Move message to Junk Mail folder

Click the Save button at the bottom of the window to save your changes.

Under the Mail section you will be able to setup both your Whitelist & Blacklist settings for addresses that you either never want blocked (Whitelist) or ALWAYS want blocked (Blacklist). However, you might just want to start with the settings added above and see if the new system with its more effective filters eliminates the need for you to put people in either of these lists. Make sure after adding or removing items from these lists that you click the Save button or they will not be saved.

Greylisting

Most spammers fill our inboxes by just blasting out as many messages as possible from potentially infected machines or mass e-mail servers that are under their control. One thing these systems will typically NOT do is retry sending a message. This is where greylisting comes in. When an unrecognized mail server sends a message we send back a message that the server is “temporarily unavailable”. Legitimate mail servers understand this and resend, spam servers probably will not understand and move onto another server. Once a legitimate mail server does this properly it is then able to send messages going forward with no delay. We have this enabled as another method to help reduce spam hitting our server. There is no configuration necessary for you, it will just help reduce spam!


Updated Web / Mobile Interface

While our current web based e-mail system was meant for checking your messages when you were away from your main system, this is no longer the case. The NEW updated interface will feature a full e-mail system right from your web browser! So for those of you wanting to skip the rest of the message and get right onto the new interface it is at:

          https://webmail.excel.net/

Bookmark that for a great new e-mail experience! This system also has a web based e-mail system optimized for mobile phones that you can select from the login screen if that works better for your device. So what are some of the new features that we can look forward to:

   

Automated cleanup

When using the web based e-mail system as your mail client we will help you keep your mailbox cleaned up for you automatically. We will not of course remove anything from your Inbox or folders that you create, just some of the "junk" folders. If for some reason you want to keep one of the messages in these folders simply move it out and then it will not be purged. The folders that will be cleaned up are:

   Deleted Item retention   30 days
   Sent Item retention   90 days
   Junk Item retention   15 days

Other E-Mail Changes

There are a couple of remaining items that were not addressed in the sections above concerning the new mail server.

   

Maximum Attachment Size

The new server has a limit of 10MB for an attachment that is being sent through it. Attachments larger than that are probably better passed using many of the file sharing web sites that are out on the system. In the past large attachments have put a very large strain on the system during spam and virus scanning.

Mailbox Size

The current e-mail system had a VERY low limit before it would start to generate "large" mailbox messages, though it was not limiting the size of the mailbox. Going forward we have raised the limit for mailbox size to 500MB per mailbox which provides for a very large amount of storage on our server. This is however now a hard limit and if the total size of your mailbox exceeds that amount messages will be rejected until the mailbox is under the limit. If you would like to increase the size of your mailbox we do offer plans for that. Simply e-mail sales@excel.net and we will provide you with additional options for storing your e-mail.


Thank you for taking the time to read through and review this message. Please feel free to e-mail us or call support with any questions that you might have regarding these changes. We believe that you will really enjoy the new mail system, including the modern and complete web interface that it provides!

* Technical Support (support@excel.net)
* Excel.Net,Inc. - http://www.excel.net/
* (920) 452-0455 - Sheboygan/Plymouth area
* (888) 489-9995 - Other areas, toll-free