Debug your mail server using exigrep for Exim main log

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About Exim mail server

Exim is one of the most used message transfer agent (MTA) on the internet, it is being used by cPanel since as long I can remember and has been giving tremendous support and reliability so far. Exim is actively supported by the University of Cambridge, currently is at version 4.80.1 and provides in detail documentation in a local text after its being installed or directly on github wiki:¬†https://github.com/Exim/exim/wiki. In this article however I’m going to talk about how to debug your mail server using exigrep for Exim main log. A lot of times when clients come to me saying that the email is not working, they can’t send, this is usually logged into the main exim log.

We need a test case!

In most cases clients come in support and say something similar to:

I can receive emails, but I can not send anything to gmail.com live.com or yahoo.com

I understand that for some of you, this would be the actual issue, however to be able to pinpoint the exact issue happening, a test case would be needed. What do I mean for a test case? For instance:

  • FROM email address
  • TO email address

This information is the basic information we, server administrators, would need to locate the issue happening.

The next thing would be to start debugging, first lets say we have an email that is like this:

I picked example.com domain on purpose, this is because it will fail no matter from where you send emails. The first thing I would do first is check if the domain in question to where you are sending the emails has the correct MX records. Basically if this is ok, then can proceed in checking our own server, but if its not (which this is the case), we can reply to our client that the issue lies with their domain mail server, not us.

For instance, a basic check is:

You can use any other DNS queries for this really, so the answer here is that example.com has no MX records, so the emails will not relay to any servers due to this.

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