[Mailman-Users] smtp-failure.log / diagnosing delivery to only some subscribers

Mark Sapiro mark at msapiro.net
Fri Dec 13 02:52:25 CET 2013

On 12/12/2013 03:58 PM, Christopher Adams wrote:
> Based on the logs that I have seen, this log  records messages sent to
> addresses with bad syntax. Is that all it does. I don't see many items in
> these, and with the volume of mail going through our system, I would expect
> to see more.
> "failed with code 501: 5.1.3 Bad recipient address syntax"
> A post to a list shows 1) it was posted to the list (post.log) 2) Mailman
> sent it to x number of recipients (smtp.log). When I look at the actual MTA
> log, I only see that message, based on the message ID, going to a portion
> of the x number of recipients.
> So, I assumed that smtp-failure.log would show which addresses were not
> sent to. I don't think that is what it is for.

The smtp-failure log logs any addresses that were rejected by the
outgoing MTA with a 5xx status during the SMTP session with Mailman.

For performance reasons, we recommend not doing things like domain
verification during SMTP with Mailman, so the only addresses likely to
be rejected at this point are those which are syntactically invalid and
possibly undeliverable local addresses.

> Any suggestions on how to troubleshoot why the message seems to be only
> sent to a portion of the subscribers, though Mailman tells me it was sent
> to all the subscribers?

Mailman tells you that all the recipients were accepted by the MTA.
Addresses which cannot be delivered by the MTA to the next hop because
they are rejected by that MTA will be logged in your MTA's logs and
should result in bounces back to Mailman.

Even if the message is successfully sent from your outgoing MTA to the
next hop, it may be subsequently bounced or it may be silently discarded
by the receiving MTA. See the FAQ at <http://wiki.list.org/x/4oA9>.

Mark Sapiro <mark at msapiro.net>        The highway is for gamblers,
San Francisco Bay Area, California    better use your sense - B. Dylan

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