Crappy email filtering on GoDaddy
People are complaining that GoDaddy censored a security site, bid against customers in domain auctions (more), and totally screwed up .me registrations. There’s even an entire site dedicated to exposing GoDaddy’s problems.
We had been lucky enough to never really have any problems with them. Since everything worked for us (even though we hated their UI with a passion) we have stuck around. Moving 20+ domains to another registrar just seems like a hassle. We run most of our services on our own server so we didn’t think we had much of a problem.
One service we didn’t run was our own mail servers. We didn’t want to use GoDaddy’s webmail, but thought just having GoDaddy forward mail would work fine. We forwarded all mail to our Gmail accounts, and after that it was simple to send and receive from Gmail, essentially taking GoDaddy out of the picture. We had run GoDaddy email forwarding for a few sites for over a year with no problems.
In the last couple months we started having problems with our email. We were getting reports from friends having problems emailing us. People were receiving random bounced emails, some emails when retried never would reach us, others would arrive successfully the second try. We were concerned but the issue seemed to occur rarely and usually simply resending would solve the problem.
Then it seems the problem got worse. After sending out an email and not hearing back, we received emails explaining that every time anyone responded to our last email it would bounce back. The bounce message warned that the message was a spam or virus and it would not be delivered. Hmmm… not good. We looked into it and found that we couldn’t send the original email to each other, without getting bounced error responses either. The email include a video link to download our presentation from DropBox, which GoDaddy filtered as spam. We had the same issue receiving responses to emails with RightScale’s developers. After making sure I hadn’t accidentally turned on any spam protection for our forwarded email accounts I called GoDaddy support.
Convincing GoDaddy that emails were being marked as spam by their servers, as opposed to other email servers took awhile. Finally after talking to internal GoDaddy tech support they acknowledged it was their email system. They explained that all emails including forwarding accounts go through a GoDaddy-wide spam and virus scanner which won’t let anything flagged through. I explained I wanted to disable their filtering and trust Google to do my spam filtering for me after my mail is forwarded. This was not an option as the shared filter is in place for all GoDaddy email. I then asked about the criteria of flagging emails, which I know in our case contained no spam links or viruses. I was told that if a single virus or spam message was sent from a domain it would block all emails linking to that domain. This is clearly a bad policy.
Blocking all of DropBox is an example of why this shared filter is bound to block valid emails. DropBox allows any arbitrary files to be uploaded by users, of course some virus-infected file has ended up on their domain. After some virus-infected file hosted on DropBox was emailed to a GoDaddy user, it was added to the blocked domain list for GoDaddy’s email filter. As a result we can never mail a presentation video file hosted on DropBox.
That’s pretty amazing, but the best part is there is simply no way to opt out. There was no way to get domains removed from their blacklist. One of the scariest things about this is that they only filter incoming mail, so we can email out supposedly virus-filled emails, but then if anyone hits reply it will bounce because our link will be a part of the response message. This leaves the sender blind to the problem. Who knows how many people we have emailed in the last 3 months that tried and failed to ever respond to us.
After learning all of this, I did the only reasonable thing. I switched mail providers so our email wouldn’t touch GoDaddy at all. We are now hosting devver.net email accounts with Gmail for your domain. It was easy enough to set up, and we have already seen that we can send supposedly risky emails through our new email servers. I guess I should start listening to everyone’s horror stories about GoDaddy and the next time I purchase a domain, I can slowly start moving away from the terrible beast.