HostGator and Postini


If you’ve got a Hostgator account and are interested in using Google’s excellent Postini mail filtering service, the following should get you up and running. Please note that I’m not an IT guy, I’m not speaking on Hostgator’s behalf, and I’m not responsible if mobs come after you with pitchforks or you encounter email issues.

  1. Sign up for Postini, and look for a welcome email with MX server settings that you should use.
  2. Use cPanel to make sure your desired mailboxes are set up and working. (Obvious but necessary.)
  3. Find either your website’s IP address or the hostname of the server you’re on. You can use any basic Whois tool, like cqcounter.com’s.
  4. In Postini’s admin tool, tell the delivery manager to send Postini’s messages to your mail server. Click the “Inbound Servers” tab, select an option from the “Choose Org:” dropdown, and click the “Delivery Mgr” nav item.
  5. Find the “Edit” button and click it. You’ll now see “Email Servers and Load Balancing.” Make sure that one of your email servers is the hostname or IP address from step #3, and set “% Conn.” to 100% unless you have another mail server to route to.
  6. Update your Hostgator MX records to automatically send all mail to Postini for processing. If “Edit MX Entry” is an option in cPanel, you can do it yourself. Otherwise you’ll need to chat with a Hostgator support specialist or file a support ticket. You want to change your MX entries (which tells the server where to send email) with those referred to in step #1. Make sure that you select the checkbox that says “Always accept mail locally even if the primary mx does not point to this server.” Otherwise you won’t get your filtered mail from Postini.
  7. Wait a while and see what happens.
  8. If anything seems fishy, or even if everything seems to be working well, use Postini’s “System Tests” (again in the admin panel) to make sure that everything is routed properly.

A final note: I learned the hard way that you need to use valid email addresses everywhere. By default, your Hostgator account will reject any incoming emails that aren’t going to a valid address. My daily Quarantine Summaries weren’t showing up in my inbox even though I was getting filtered mail because I told Postini to send me messages from “do-not-reply@spontaneousnoise.com,” which didn’t exist. SMTP message tests failed because Postini tried to send from “test@spontaneousnoise.com,” which also doesn’t exist. Creating an alias for that address allowed the test to work.

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